Mostly I do not envy Colinakanim. He lives in a big city; I live in a big country. We both have spectacular toddling daughters, and wives that mostly put up with us.
Ok, I don't really envy him at all. But. One thing he does have, in his urban life, is a little more time to write. And I do wish I had it. The rural reality here is- my harvest has started. And my life depends on it, pretty much literally.
Our entire year's income is tied up in the harvest. We haven't gotten into WHAT we grow; and I'm not going to, here. The entire rest of my life is spent explaining that, and I'd like one place where it's not a topic. But our income is based on plants we sell- that we grow from seed we select here. No seed harvested= no income. And the critters like to eat it too- so harvest is genuinely URGENT. As in; we've got to work all day, and all night if necessary, to get things done, because it cannot be done tomorrow. Only right this second.
That's where we are right now; up over our ears in harvest alligators, and it's exhausting. Which is why I'm short on posts. I'll continue to squeeze some in, and there will be more time later, after harvest; so please stick with me.
Urbanites just don't have this kind of urgent need. Well, unless you count tornadoes, and floods; but they're rare and unpredictable. :-) Harvest is predictable; we know it's coming, barring - uh, toradoes and floods... and drought.
It occurs to me.. (ok, that's a hint; gonna wax philosphical here...) that our pre-modern ancestors lived in worlds that mostly had regular periods of urgency and ease. Times when abilities were consistently pushed to their limits; times of testing.
The modern world has worked hard to remove such things as hunger, cold. And here we are, perhaps; with bodies and minds that have evolved to run like race-cars; some of the time. But no races to run.
I truly think this could be the basis of some of our ills. Too little to do; of course; but also too much energy; too much drive; and nothing to focus it on. So it winds up focused on anything handy - too often dangerous, stupid, enticing pathways like drugs, jumping out of airplanes... - etc.
I have a favorite book to recommend - "The Land Remembers", by Ben Logan. It's "the story of a farm and its people"; the brilliant images from the mind of a boy growing up on an isolated farm in Wisconsin. Not at all far from me, in the same kind of landscape.
Logan is stunning in the clarity of his recollections, and the pure humanity of them. I re-read it often.
If you want to really know what it's like to be part of a harvest crew; working after dark or before a storm- here's your best chance. Be prepared to sweat.
What comes to you is that yes, here's a small boy being asked to give everything he's got; for his family- stretch his muscles and stomach and head to the breaking point- and he does it. Grumping, as we all do. And very very proud of it.
Harvest IS that way. Cruelly demanding. It hurts. When you're in the middle of it, you wonder how you ever were so stupid as to get into this, and you want OUT. But it's satisfying in a way that's nearly impossible to convey. We can cut it. We're going to make. And- it's the family.
But it does leave you exhausted; spent - wiped out; at the end of the day. Tricky to write.
Read the book, please- I'll be astonished if you don't like it. Let me know. Hang in here.