But we could

The first time I really felt it was when I stepped out the door for the full moon field walk, scurrying, just a little, so I could lie in the grass before anyone came. The air is different now, and stepping out I knew it. cold enough to almost smell of woodsmoke. at night and in the mornings.

Up top, above the sweet corn, as our walk wound down, the Baileys mentioned the potholes beyond the bridge; offered, even, to shovel any gravel we might have. I know it is not my farm. I know the calculus of expectation. I know maybe just a bit about crowds and power. But the moon was out, I offered:

In China, a monastery beyond a river. To cross, a row of stepping stones. The monks placed them far apart, a little loose, a little small. and they were slippery. The only way to go to the monastery was slowly, with focus and attention.  / As though to arrive was to have already been.

The potholes didn't leave me. I felt them in the moonlight those next few days. Then, researching the Amish, I came upon their first tenet, an injunction from Romans: "Be ye not conformed to this world." But how many stories can we read about ourselves dying in Alaska, or shooting out the stars in Africa decades ago? 'Be ye not conformed.' But why the admonition? As though one required words for what is already marrow in the bone. as though it were not ages ago that we first wondered how many blessings are their own curse.

I know we cannot leave the potholes -- Caesar's roads ought run all the way to Rome. I know we cannot leave the potholes, but we could.

Out looking for a post puller after work. at Home Depot. Hamshaw's. Agway. Walmart. Aubuchon's Hardware. Finding it nowhere. Walking out of Home Depot, the night coming on, warmth in the pavement, and expansiveness a long word not long enough for what it's meant to mean. Then, walking out of Walmart, the boys in the back of their jacked truck, just sitting there, as everyone and the clouds move by. A thing they do.

I wanted to tell them how the air is different now, how corn in the wind always sounds like rain, but now it sounds like a cold rain. I  wanted to call out to them Mark Doty's lines of 'Migratory,' and despite the bumper stickers and the muscle shirts, and the way they hold their jaws, they would have heard it. / "Near evening, in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, / seventeen wild geese arrowed the ashen blue / over the Wal-mart and the Blockbuster Video." The geese in the air. and the very air itself. They would get it. Would quote back if they could, Picasso, "Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life, " sitting in the back of their truck as the college girls walk by. / Aesthetes all.

Boys in the back of your truck, what world is this that we do or do not conform to?

I know we cannot leave the potholes, but someone might understand, and maybe it is these boys who would.

So, I have been thinking again about the way we do things, the kind of farm we make of a field, what we feel for it all as time passes.

"I wrote ten thousand words today. I wrote ten thousand words today." Where did I read this? Thomas Wolfe,Maxwell Perkins' lost son -- "Of Time and the River," "Look Homeward Angel" -- 6'6", all the way back then. Thomas Wolfe, after a day of creation, walking the streets of New York City, proclaiming to himself, but aloud, "I wrote ten thousand words today. I wrote ten thousand words."

I was telling this story to Mali as we walked down from 'Sunrise' at sunset. Preamble to calling out, "We planted three thousand strawberries today. We planted three thousand strawberries."

It was her last full day on the farm.

Alone in the fields, now, I hear myself singing, and my perspective widens just enough to feel in my heart something move in; I  think: it takes all of ourselves to feel this.

We have been busy, but maybe just still enough to have not lost the thread that ties these all together. The potholes, the long day of berries, the corn being for us a thing we had not expected. ... even the boys in the back of their truck catcalling the last nights of summer. / Some things are so big it takes all of ourselves to feel it -- a night sky. a love. a farm as it rounds the seasons.