As I look outside, the thermometer is hanging a little below freezing, the wind is whipping through a sky of steely gray, a typical dreary midwinter’s day. Not too much to get excited about, it is kind of hard to think about much except staying inside and keeping warm. A good day for a nice pot of stew, some home-baked bread, a cup of cocoa and curling up by the fire with your sweetheart, or at least a good book. Then my eye is drawn to what is left of the garden, most of it turned under waiting for a spring planting that seems light years away, but that turned soil, with it’s current coat of frost calls to me with the promise of good things to come. Of course, this leads my random mind down the path to that first meal of the season made entirely of ingredients from our garden, that day is a big deal for a fellow like me who gave up the farm for more cosmopolitan delights, before discovering I had been living in paradise all along.
Last week, I learned how to do something I had always wanted to do, I learned to shuck oysters, but let’s not get too far ahead of the story…
Each year after Christmas we try to slip away for a caching road trip with friends, it is a nice way to end the year and it helps to start off the new year rested and ready for big things. We try to not plan things too much and often we are not even sure where we are headed when we pull out of the driveway. The only rule is that we head generally south and find warmer weather. This year our wanderings ended up in Southeast Louisiana and son of a gun we had big fun.
Totally random shot out my sunroof at a stoplight
So here is how this works, sometimes I am inspired to write about things and share them with you, sometimes I am just not feeling it, so I don’t write anything and other times I am terribly inspired about all kinds of things, but there are just not enough hours in the day to do my real work, my play work, my play play and take the time to write about all the things I have been doing or thinking about. This is one of those times. So, being extra clever I try to write some extra stuff to have “in the bank” for when life gets too hectic and I can assure you that the bank is full of half-fleshed out ideas, but there is nothing that feels right this week. I really want to tell you about the things I learned down on the bayou last week, the politics of auto repair and what I learned when I went to the mountaintop, but that will have to wait for a little while. So what do you get, besides random iPhone pictures and rambling?
I often get up while the sun is still low in the sky and go for walks around our farm, enjoying the peacefulness of early morning and that beautiful low angle light. Sometimes my wife and I walk with the dog in the afternoon, there is just something about those long shadows we love, the golden hour of the day. Our farm is dotted with equipment left over from my grandfather’s past, old tractors, trucks from his shipping company and all kinds of farming equipment. It always brings a smile to my face to look at these testimonies to a life well-lived, they are reminders of my childhood riding in these trucks with him or helping to work on these tractors. From fully-restored showpieces to little more than junk, Pa collects it all, and he taught me to look beyond the surface rust to see the potential sitting there waiting for a caring hand to bring it back to life. So these walks are a good time for me. Lately, I have taken to snapping photos with the camera in my iPhone and then using the CameraBag app to process them in the phone, to try and capture a little of the beauty I see and the pieces of Pa’s soul sitting in our fields.