Sunday, May 22, 2011

country days

You could spend days, weeks even, at the farmette and not see or talk to anyone at all. We don’t do that. The daughters visit, I check in with my office and we have a rather steady habit of going to the cafĂ© up the road, just before it closes at 3. And, of course, there are the deliberate visits with friends in town.

And still, each day begins with a sense of removal and distance. As if I put myself in exile, broken only if the will is there to do it.

Again I am up at dawn. You’d think I’ve seen all there is to be seen at sunrise, but that’s not so. Today, for instance, there are wisps of cloud that filter light in new ways. When the sun does break through, the early morning rays, paired with the lightly green of the now fully clothed tree limbs push aside the tedious stuff of the past month – the move, the mice, the twisting roots of weeds in the flowerbeds – all made small, because in the morning, I can take a solitary walk along the road and admire this:


I walk through the fields that are now farmed by the truck farmers -- all Laotian, bringing to Madison's farmers markets, as the the famously wonderful R.W. Apple of the NY Times once said -- a suggestion of bigger and better flavors than those we're so used to.




I nudge my girl to go walking with me. Her heart says yes, but her tired urban soul keeps her in the farmhouse room, the lemon room, where lilacs bend toward her window and the smell of May and the smell of pine doors and floorboards makes her sigh and drift further into sleep, unbothered by the sound of birds and sparrows, robins and somewhere, not too far, mating cranes. Apple blossoms pave the path outside, bumble bees hover around the blossoms that remain, and if this all doesn’t feel remote and far from downtown Chicago, or downtown Madison then I don’t know what does.


She is to return to the city this evening, but for now we do country things – she wants the rhubarb compote my reader noted in one of the Ocean comments and so we pick many many stalks of this pleasantly tart vegetable, chop them up and set it all on the stove to simmer.


We’re to eat a meal in town later in the morning, with others joining us, but still, this is the kind of warm day where a bowl of fruit with honey and kefir, a chunk of a doughnut, a cup of coffee, are a good excuse to stay on the porch for a while and talk about cats, old barns and jobs, and all things in between.