(from Thurs night)
This night stretches long as I sit in the train station with my trusty bags and listen to the hum of those around me (are you sure you have our tickets, the Canadian woman asks her man) and music over the radio I'd prefer off. Waiting for the midnight train--my first train again since taking the night train to Bangkok in July.
What a day this has been, though! After weeks of too much work, I am taking a respite. This morning I enjoyed the great pleasure of sleeping in til mid-morning and then drove about 45 minutes through crisp air and rolling hills speckled with turning leaves to a farm where one of my friends has been working the last several months.
Seeing her was lovely in itself; working alongside her the whole day long was wonderful. What is richer than the immediate satisfaction of manual labour and the joy of deep conversation with a good friend?
We picked corn, then moved on to watermelons and from there to yellow squash, zucchini and eternal rows of more kinds of peppers than I knew existed. Then eggplant and lettuce, stepping through weeds and overgrowth; over the rotting remains of produce that will be reborn next year. The farm is organic (not yet certified in ints general operations, and set in a beautiful landscape. Gorgeous old but renovated farmhouse overlooking so much land; fields of vegetables growing their last days, hours. Barns with calves, horses, goats, chickens and lots of cats. A huge blue pond. Dogs in a pen begging you to play, showing off their antics. Wild kittens growing tame, cows grazing in the distance.
We transplanted in the greenhouse tender little sprouts wanting more space, basketted cilantro and tomatos, and spent nearly the whole of a beautiful afternoon picking beans and pulling up the bean plans after: their season, too, at an end. And we lunched on sweet water, creamed coffee, dark chocolate, and toast topped with fresh eggs over easy. Delicious!
i try to think--how does one describe this sort of experience/ Could I be happier? Such a natural place for mankind, working hard with the earth, the animals, even (eventually?) with critters and creepy crawlers? I remember growing up, my favourite day Saturdays--not because of no school, but rather, that my older sister and I spent nearly those whole days outside with our father, hauling branches--working in the yard--even when merely hauling branches from his dump pile to aid our our fortress building in the briars he had yet to trim. Riding in the truck to the dump with him at day's end--unloading the (massive) haul and riding victoriously (with deep satisfaction) home again as he regaled us with either stories of his own days growing up in America and shoveling horse manure, or else talkes of Frankie the Talking Horse or The Flying Belly-Button Monster. Little was happier than those days, those moments.
So many times in my little rented flat, even with my paltry flower/herb garden attempts, I find myself missing the maintenance of upkeep--hammer, nails, paintbrush, wood varnishing--and I wish I had a yard to work on or a house to continually fix. I suppose only the idle can dream of work.
This evening in the city--a man nearby speaking Russian on the phone to what seemed a buddy of his. In the store picking up food for this trip and supper for myself--the cashier from Poland; we spoke together, in English, of our distant homes, our other foods, our lost words from school days back there. And I don't know how people content themselves never to meet new people, to capture a fragment of another's story, or to pass through another's life like ships in the night. Even our worlds--his Russian, her accented English--can move us. Give me a whisper of hope, a shadow of a smile.
We are not alone.
Adam and Eve in the garden.
The world before the brokenness of the land, the fracturing of people into echoless babel.