Monday, June 06, 2011

Younger faces, distant places

Beaver pond (view from my office)

I’m sitting at my desk, writing by hand in a notebook, as I did on my boat. It feels a bit like a boat here, a single-wide trailer on the edge of the wilderness, looking out on a beaver pond. Two moose sightings last week, plus two in one day when we went fishing with a friend from Caribou. My brother-in-law asked if I was watching ABC tonight.

I said, “No, I don’t get ABC. I’m watching Boston beat the Canucks in hockey, because I get Canadian TV.”

He said, “Don’t worry, just go to and watch…”

“I don’t get internet,” I said.

“What are you, in 1910?” he asked.

Not really, but it feels like it some days. I get dial-up, which means no video and that I write things offline and then upload them by super-slow copper phone line. Probably from 1910. As I did on the boat, with my G3 iBook and the little solar panel that kept it charged.

I keep thinking about when I assisted in the recoring of Secret’s deck. When we bought her, the balsa core between her plywood decks was soggy with water, and I played first mate as we stripped it down, bought marine-grade plywood, cut plywood, relaid chopped glass and epoxy resin, sanded everything down… It felt like the process took an absolute eternity, but recoring the deck was a fundamental, part of the structural core of the boat, one of the things that had to be taken care of first.

I’m in that stage with my soil right now, wrestling with it, trying to give it the structural strength it needs. Each endless truckload of horse crap loaded into the garden feel like it just dissolves into clay-ey rocky dirt nothingness. A whole truckload, and it’s gone. I know it takes years. Years. I’m hoping the process only feels eternal, like the deck recore of yore.

Part of it is accepting that the garden is playing second fiddle to my writing, and it’s never going to get my full attention. I had that problem on the boat, too. In order to stay sane, I have priorities, and the things that are the most important come first. New in the garden as of today are: turnips, turnip greens. Popping their heads up are radish seedlings, that came from a three-year-old Family Dollar seed packet. Twenty cents!

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