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Again and again and again

Fellow Vermonter James Crews recently shared this poem by Kim Stafford. I like it.

I ride in the morning, half-light, warm, remnants of the weekend’s rain in the air as I pass the same hill farm I’ve passed dozens of times already this summer. Now the lights are on in the milking parlor and I hear the metronomic chugging of the vacuum pump, smell the sweet-warm smell of manure and baleage and watch the dry cows and heifers graze the very last of the season’s grass. Fallen leaves thick on the road’s shoulders and I purposely steer through the thickest layers of them because I like the sound they make beneath my tires. A mile or so later I pass a man standing in his driveway, next to the open door of his car. He’s peeing and not even trying to hide it, an impressive stream collecting into a puddle at his feet, and part of me wants to wave and say good morning, and part of me wants to let him pretend that I never saw a thing, though it occurs to me that maybe he could care less. He’s just taking a piss. We’ve all done it.

The days tick past with the same metronomic chug of that vacuum pump. I haven’t written here lately because it feels like nothing much changes, like maybe I’m just writing the same thing again and again and again. Though of course everything changes always, there’s proof of it everywhere – the falling leaves, the diminishing daylight, the pasture grass gone dormant, even lights on in a milking parlor where last week there were none. At the selectboard meeting Jan arrives with a fat wad of cash, $1250 in 100s and 50s that someone gave him to procure five burial plots in our little town cemetery, and as he counts it onto the desk I look toward the window, where I can see both my reflection and beyond it, to the shadowy outlines of the trees in the gathering dark.

James McMurtry has a new album. Lots of goodies, including this one. Also, here’s a great conversation with the author Richard Powers. Finally, I’m almost finished with this book and am really liking it.

18 thoughts on “Again and again and again”

  1. sunrise sunset sunrise sunset. We need them, and we do not tire of them, lest we are tiring of something above and beyond them. I am guessing that there was dirt, not pavement, under the thick layer of leaves that you put under your tires?

  2. Ben….As long as I’ve been following your blog it has been shown to me that you don’t write the same thing again and again and again. Always fresh and enlightening, always highly pleasurable.

    The guy pissing by his car brought to mind what my old, long gone Irish uncle said many, many a time throughout his most amusing life, “Nothing like a good outdoor leak.” Guess he’s not the only one to have thought that.

    The shadows sure are long at 5 pm these days!

    Thank you for this post and the “advice” along with it.

  3. $250 a plot! That some cheap real estate….especially considering ownership is, uh….permanent.

    Powerful last sentence! Seeing both the present and beyond the veil into the future. Good work.

    1. I had the same thought. The way real estate prices are trending, might be the cheapest parcels in VT right now

  4. Even if it seems the same to you again and again, it’s new to us….even when it’s not. Please keep writing the same again and again.

  5. Ben, thanks for sharing Advice from a Raindrop. That poem puts things into perspective. I hope you, Finn, Rye, and Penny are doing well! -Scott

    On Thu, Oct 7, 2021 at 1:45 PM Lazy Mill Hill Farm wrote:

    > Ben Hewitt posted: ” Fellow Vermonter James Crews recently shared this > poem by Kim Stafford. I like it. I ride in the morning, half-light, warm, > remnants of the weekend’s rain in the air as I pass the same hill farm I’ve > passed dozens of times already this summer. Now th” >

  6. I’ve been reading for ages, but never commented before. I love the poem. And I love that you write about the ordinary things that happen around you, because they are so very different from the ordinary things that happen around me. Please don’t stop.

  7. Dairy farming must have a draw that is lost on me. Hard work and long hours spent around large incalcitrant anmials that eat a lot, shit a lot, and demand attention twice a day, every day that they are producing a commodity that the farmer has almost no control over the price that he/she is paid. Small grain farming ebbs and flows and has enough slow periods that many farmers have a side gig that they do to make a little money and keep themselves out of bars and out of their wive’s dog house.

    As always, ‘hope that you, your family, and your friends are all well in body, in mind, and filled with GOD’s Holy Spirit!

  8. One thing that will never change is how much I enjoy your writing. I reread your books every year and find something new or rediscover why I liked them in the first place. Thanks for that! You don’t write about your boys as much as you once did which is completely understandable now that they have lives of their own, so to speak. I hope they are well and know how fortunate they are to have had the childhood you and Penny provided. I still look to your writing for encouragement in that area of life, as well. Be well and enjoy the Autumn!

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