Tuesday, April 02, 2002
A lingering, varicolored sunset this evening. There is still a scattering of light and it is almost 7:00 p.m. The longer days of spring are just as welcome as the new grass or warm weather. It is hard to express the pleasure of having chores finished before dark. The curse of the part-time farmer is that every job gets crammed into time around paying employment. By late December that means feeding by lantern or flashlight while the temperature drops around you. It means cracking ice on water troughs in the morning while the sun is still trying to haul itself up over Skyline Drive. With the non-negotiable demands of court dockets on my time, the bulk of the daily work falls on my wife, who has her own off-farm responsibilities as a part-time teacher. She embraces the return of warm weather and longer days with a passion that starving men reserve for food or castaways for rescue. Our life is "pastoral" in the most literal sense, but that does not mean that it is easy or gentle. If I had to pick fitting soundtrack music, it would be one of those pieces by Charles Ives where bands are playing in different keys in each corner of the hall. The academic year, the calender of the criminal courts, the needs of two growing children and the biological cycles of livestock all make seemingly irreconcilable demands. Nonetheless it is a life with beauty and its own sometimes inexplicable satisfactions.