“Fierce eagles do not produce timorous doves.” Horace
45c and the road, straighter than straight, rolling beyond what the rusted sign advised. Blues, liquid, twelve bar, driving through this dry land. Paddocks hollow and stricken, rain forsaken for so long now, nothing holds in this dust. Crows picking the eyes out of everything that ceases to move, that cadaver buffet for pall bearers.
The gates blur in fifth, the barbed wire whispers strained songs of lament and I weep as I pass the delusion of hope trying to bale non-existent hay, the sadness of twenty bales to a hundred acres. And I weep for this place where endings complete and there are no obvious beginnings.
I slow as I see the spectre eyeing emaciated sheep. The angel of death eyes me and I nod in deference, better an ending than tortured horizons. I wave my blessing, thankful that the feathered euthanasia will ease the shepherds pain. In this moment the eagle is surgeon, priest and mourner, holding a ritual, taking death for life.
Photo: from hyperactivz.com and the story “Forty Years Ago This Man Planted A
Tree That Created Amazing Opportunities For His Island” by Lauren Fazackarly – The Story of Jadav Payeng who began planting trees at sixteen and is still going.
Please note: this is only one story, there are several stories from all over the world of people doing similar feats to greater or lesser extent.
“Society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they will never sit in.” Greek Proverb
He settled in the dust of his soul,
the sun beating down and
mocking his every effort
drawing his moisture to his brow,
and yet every day he rose and
without fail, made his way
to his field of dreams
that barren canvas of life’s struggles,
of course, without knowing,
passers-by smiled their condescension,
to them he was an eccentric farmer,
while in his own mind he was an
investment banker, and adventurer, a rebel,
and every time he planted a tree he knew
he was painting a masterpiece
whose abstract nature only he could explain.
Linda at dVerse has invited us to take a line from the work of Jim Harrison – “A cow is screaming across the arroyo.” taken from his poem ‘Cow.’
“Moo may represent and idea, but only the cow knows.” Mason Cooley
A cow is screaming across the arroyo as the weaners are drawn aside. The cattle-hands working the herd, the weaners easily pushed across the arroyo to the feeders like children to a lolly counter. I listened to her screaming, a gut-grief heartfelt, and though I cannot speak it, a warning was implied. Burgers or breeders, the children are consumed. And as I walked reflecting, I wondered about all the herding of life, this arroyo is not the Rubicon, but a die was no less cast.
I came to the creek-line with an angel or devil, I’m not sure, but I left the gate open and the screaming cow dove through. She spoke so clearly as we passed, “Those who lie or sup from the manger will be crucified one day.” Startled, I ran through, I’ve been wandering un-herded ever since, across that arroyo.
“Men are not so much the keepers of herds as herds are the keepers of men.” Henry David Thoreau
The old Farm Gate
I leaned on the old gate as I was wont to do,
and it seemed a good thing,
the gate offered no objection
rather, a welcome to reflect as I
leaned and looked out at all that was before me,
in the dry of the day the rust
like barnacles clung to the wizened steel,
but some flaked and powdered
and I felt its roughness
a reminder of the many winters it has endured
since it was hung in less complicated times
when boundaries were respected and a
gate was merely a choice of
coming or going, to be in or out,
this gate might not make another hundred
but for now it has more stories to tell.
“The statesman shears the sheep, the politician skins them.” Austin O’Malley
She was more verbivore than herbivore
a cuckoo-flower who habited a simple meliorism
that the pasture was always better down the road
paradise in four-leafed clover she’s heard,
just awaiting the jumbuck special, ticket cloven.
“He was a giver of life an alchemist that worked in dirt, seed, and manure.”
Tracy Winegar ‘Good Ground’
Mick kicked the dust with his boots
as a light breeze eddied through,
blue was panting at his side
it had been a long day in the paddock and
his thoughts turned again to home,
another hour and he’d be there
the house all go with kids and dinner,
Deb would have most of it sorted
she was a great sheila,
a dab hand on the farm,
the windmill groaned a rusty groan
finishing his reverie for now,
time was grinding on,
the light was fading,
night’s chill descending,
contented, he climbed into the ute
and with blue took the firebreak
home to his fair dinkum love.
We were drafting cows one afternoon
treading in a pat
And laconically I agreed
noting his tautological tendencies
without so much as a smile.
I said “We’re covered in it mate.”
“What?” He was so utterly confused.
“Well, between the stock agents,
the tax office and the pollies,
We’re up to our necks in bovine effluent.”
I’m not sure why I stopped
in the sharp heat of the day
I walked the firebreak for a while
and though I didn’t stir the soil so much,
my shoes were coated in a pale dust
as if the old days wanted to come with me,
those accretions of experience
which stick to the back of the mind
and come in dust.
when I’d arrived home, I
determined that I would not
clean my shoes.