A Moment in Time

I’m sitting outside. It’s about 9:00 pm on Saturday night. A plastic cup of cheap wine by my side. The old boom box radio sings to me from just outside the barn. “Grassroots”, a bluegrass and roots music program is playing on NPR. We listen to it almost every Saturday night and again on Sunday mornings. A warm fire is burning in the firepit.

Nothing out of the ordinary except the usual heat of your average summer night has been pushed out by a cold spell. The temperature is in the 50’s and I sit here in long pants, a sweatshirt and stare beyond the fire to our apple tree, full of small yellow apples. I imagine the tree is wondering if it has somehow fallen behind and missed its growth season. I’m happy to see apples though, as the last two years have been very sparse.

Three of my four goats are grazing away, happy to have some human companionship outside but on this occasion not hovering around looking for their heads to be  scratched. Goats are extraordinarily affectionate creatures and it occurred to me today that I could never have imagined “farm animals” bringing me so much joy. Goat number four, Heath, is inside their barn. He is getting old and doesn’t get out as much as he used to. Like any animal, none of them will live forever and that thought saddens me, yet I am grounded knowing that we are providing them a comfortable lifestyle.

The corn field across Brown Road is being irrigated. I was annoyed this morning when the farm equipment woke me up, but now I’m soothed hearing the sound of water soaking the stalks. I hear the fsh, fsh, fsh, fsh, as the gigantic, prehistoric looking irrgation sprinkler fires out spray after spray of water, as if it is trying to keep beat with the upright bass that anchors the latest bluegrass tune on the radio.

Jonathan is inside. The girls tonight, out of town at a softball tournament. It seems like that’s the stage of life we are in, with something going on every weekend. “Divide and conquer” we like to say. You go here, I’ll go there and both kids will be happy having a parent around. He’ll come out  soon enough though and we’ll cook hobo pies on the fire before calling it quits for the night.

Though the girls are away, I’m happy to be home.  It’s peaceful tonight, a little rare, quiet, alone time. I worked around the yard a lot today, until my 45 year old back told me enough was enough. There’s something about physical work though that is rewarding. Sometimes I think it’s what we were supposed to do, before technology took it all away.

In contrast, I sit here and type on an iPad and wonder what I would do without it. The bright screen, the fire and the two security lights the only thing interrupting the total blackness of the night. Soon the bats will be out, circling the lights and getting their fill of insects.  Later tonight the coyotes will stand around in a circle, far away, but close enough that we’ll hear them howl and laugh as if celebrating a reunion of old friends. It’s dark now and everything around me has become a scene of outlines and shadows. The radio seems louder as if somehow it is disturbing the night solitude. But there’s nothing to disturb here, no one around, just me and the goats and the bats and lots of crickets and likely lots of other wildlife that I can’t see or hear.

The fire is dying now, so I will go put more wood on. Because this may be just a moment in time. But if I have any say in the matter, I’d like it to last just a little bit longer.

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24 Comments

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24 responses to “A Moment in Time

  1. javaj240

    Those moments are so rare here in the hectic 21st Century, though,in their own ways, past centuries were, no doubt, just as hectic, I’m sure. I’m glad you were able to savor the quietude and appreciate it for what it was. I’m gladder still that you shared it with us.

  2. It’s almost 3 am and I’ve been awake for a few hours, having crashed early tonight after yet another long, hard week of ten and twelve-hour days sitting in a harshly fluorescent-lit office, eating vending machine garbage unfit for goat consumption.

    I decided to stop lying in bed recounting all the stress of the past week and anticipating the stress of the week to come and just log on to see what’s happening in the blog world I don’t get to visit much these days.

    And this post was first in my reader. Perfect.

    Now I’m off to find out what a hobo pie is and whether or not they can be sold in office vending machines.

    • Glad I could help, although sleeping is certainly important too. 🙂 Sounds like you need to find some simple ways to recharge?!? Hobo pies, if you haven’t figured it out yet, is one of those terms that applies to many different campfire foods. In this case it was the buttered bread filled with cherry pie filling, roasted over the fire in a pie iron. Yum!!

  3. Loved this. Enjoying the solitude, taking time to slow down. I spent the better part of yesterday painting our deck. There was something so soothing about being outside, listening to the birds and the wind in the trees and painting for hours. I agree, I think we’re meant to do physical labor–it calms the restless mind. Also staring into a fire. It’s the simple basic things in life.

  4. Very lyrical prose. Nothing beats the outdoors, solitude and physical labor for clearing away the cob webs and getting in touch with offline reality.

    • Thanks. Offline reality huh? Makes me wonder if I could ever really be offline for a LONG period of time. Let alone not being able to blog, it would be a significant life change these days. Not sure it wouldn’t drive me mad!

  5. Captivating descriptions. I can smell the wood smoke and picture Heath dozing just inside the barn door, reliving youthful days spent kidding around with pals now long gone. Old goat dreams! HA!

    Family time, softball games and hobo pies make us who we are. They ground us and also give us the ability to go out into the world with confidence, knowing from where we can draw strength when we need it most. Exceptional story telling.
    Also, you may enjoy this: http://on.ted.com/BanjoBoys

    • Thank you for that nice comment! That video was incredible. When I see kids that young with that much talent, it always makes me wonder how they got there that quickly. Parents must have put instruments in their hands the day they were born. Definitely a musical family though. Wish my kids would learn to play music with me!

  6. I closed my eyes and could imagine everything you wrote about. You provided me with a small escape from the organized chaos happening around me. Thanks for the lovely post.

  7. Such a great piece, Steve. I could smell the air. In a beautiful way. Now, I want to visit the goats…and you and your family 🙂

  8. Thanks for taking us with you 🙂 summer is good…

  9. Very nice. I imagined myself in this place and was refreshed. I am really enjoying your blog!

  10. Excellent! Many bits of what you say reminded me of why I loved being at my cabin so much! Makes me miss the little place even more…

  11. Sounds lovely ( and cool unlike here) Those irrigation pieces do look a little prehistoric – and that sound at night was described so well.

  12. Pingback: An Ode from Naughty to Heath | The Brown Road Chronicles

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