Fifty pounds of marbles in a five pound bag

My father's meadow


They came from Sugarland in Texas; hadn't been there very long, and before that Ohio and before that Connecticut. In Sugarland, he pronounced himself done. He was sixty, or almost, and he was done. My dad, he tells a pretty good story; like a skydiver about to tell a tall-ish one, he leans forward, hands on knees, and says, all Jack Nicholson like, and I thought I was gonna die

That's not how my dad tells it, but you can hear the subtext every time. He says, of his corporate battles, they were epic adventures and the sort of near death experience you get when it's all gone sideways. Do you work in Corporate America? Well, then you know.  I understand what it is to be done and I don't want to be done just yet but I've got to come at it another way

To be clear, my dad's battles were epic. I don't think he ever said the words, 'go big, or go home', I think that's just the way he's wired and if that's just the way you're wired, that sort of sentiment falls flat.  You're so busy looking at the next big thing that just happened to fall in your lap because of some other big thing, and you've no idea how to do this thing, you're too busy looking at it to think there might be an option. 

I'll tell you, that shit WEARS on a body. It'll use you up and drop kick your ass off the nearest cliff. You get up and do it again and there's only so many ups any of us got. That's the dog's honest truth. You can brute force it for a little while, but that really is a short term solution and you'd best clean it up quick. That shit wears on a body.

They came here in 1999 and he said he wanted to watch a tree grow. Never in his life; moved around like he worked for IBM. So here's this tree today, about ten yards from the edge of the frame. That eighteen inch sapling stands right off the deck, all thirty-something feet of it. That's the one thing; the other is the meadow which was forest when they came. It's more than 210 x 210 which means a bit more than an acre but less than an acre and a half. That's all he cleared of the twenty-three acres. Just enough to see the mountains, but I know the act of doing it healed a lot of wounds. Don't know he'd see it that way, but I do.

Yesterday I walked into that meadow for the first time. I've never been here this time of year, it's either covered in snow or grass and blackberry brambles high as your neck and then  way over your head. I meant to walk the perimeter but got distracted by the lupine. It begins on the other side of the hedge and spirals outward as Mr. Fibonacci tells us it will. Sarah took handfuls of seeds at the end of a year and spread them randomly and over the course of ten years or so, they're serious competition to just about anything else out there, even the brambles. 

Yesterday I spent an hour in my father's meadow and the margins of his forest, eyes mostly on the ground because I want to know what's going on out there. That's how it goes, I guess, when you turn yourself 180 degrees and walk yourself back home.