Oh the joyful wonder of porch pause on Hickory Lane. I sit without afghan, without sweatshirt, with a growing appreciation for those early settlers and their unbending determination to build all the valley houses facing east. In a few hours it will be too cool to sit here just this way. But at nine in the morning, perfect.
I hear cardinal song and robin fuss; doves coo their mournful notes. A pair of flirty flickers visits the maple next to the porch; I don't think they even notice me. Troublesome sparrows create the usual low level white noise, and nearby, a woodpecker tap-taps his business code. A wildly honking pair of Canada geese fly right to left across my view, then veer in a wide circle, and fly straight toward my porch perch before redirecting themselves and heading back up the creek, still honking. Are they in search of the perfect nest site, or are they just about half spring-morning-crazy like the rest of us grateful souls, smelling green grass for the first day in forever? The sun warms my face, my hair, my winter weary soul, and I sigh deeply. And cough. A lot. Still, I am so very very grateful just to sit here, now.
I watch Farmer Neighbor across the meadow, across the creek, across the road, plowing on the hill. He's been at it since first light, turning sod into rich brown furrows in what used to be a pasture. His four horses, okay, two horses and two mules, work hard, pulling against resistant roots and clods, and I wonder what he will plant when all the green is turned down into humus for the coming seeds.
It takes about five minutes for his "team" to transverse the field one way, and always an interlude of pause precedes the return trip. Pulling, steadily, right to left across my view, pause at field's edge....five minutes, ten minutes, then turning, pulling steadily left to right, they make the return trip, followed by another round of pause, five minutes, ten minutes.
I hear Farmer Neighbor singing as they plod along, pulling unwaveringly forward. The melody rises and falls like good breathing.
How it is that we have wandered so far from this simple rhythm of life in our hurry up, git-er-done world? How quick I am to lose the joy of singing in hard places, and whatever happened to the steady rest of pause.
thank you, thank you...
But a nasty cough has limited my speech to a rasp, and even if I had my voice, I'm not sure I could find the words I would need to carry my gratitude across the cultural gap between us.
my own place of pause
between bouts of hard pulling which many may never see.
But Jesus, you see,
and you sit quietly with me,
here at my end-of-row resting place.
And some days,
when I'm pulling hard,
and it seems like all roots and clods,
and uphill both ways,
I hear you singing.