This was the longest week EVER. Of course, if one really took the time to make a thorough count, I’m sure he’d find that there are numerous such weeks so labeled throughout history (I, myself, have recorded at least one every two months or so). The city was oppressively hot and sticky, and, perhaps exhausted by having to cut their way through the haze in order to get to work, everyone seemed to be moving in slow motion.
As the train pulled away from the station in NYC and the stale, cool, conditioned air swirled around my head, I could imagine that I was leaving all of the heat and heaviness behind: taking a load off of my feet, shrugging the weight of the urban world off my shoulders, and breathing a sigh of contentment.
But the first breath of fresh country air I took at the farm brought me back to reality. It, too, was heavy. The frogs, crickets, and swallows that usually greet us with their slightly out-of-sync but purposeful symphony, were silent.
On the horizon, I could see flashes of lightening, and when the sky was illuminated, I could detect towering black clouds. Before going in the house (closed up for the week, I knew it would be hot), I stood on the porch in the darkness. I watched as the leaves on the trees slowly came to life then began to rustle and jitter as a summer storm made it’s way over the foothills that surround the farm.
Anyone one who knows me will readily agree that I’m a fairly buttoned-up kind of guy. Never given to obvious displays of narcissism, I was the slightly overweight child who had to be coaxed to take his shirt off even at the beach. But the heat must have gotten the best of me, because I hesitated only a minute before leaving my clothes in a pile on the porch and making my way down the steps and into the yard.
I stood there as the first infrequent and chilly drops sent steam off of my skin and then as the heavier and heavier rain washed away every last remnant of summer in the city. (There are benefits to having a farm cloaked by darkness and with no neighbors nearby.)
As my body cooled down, my senses returned, and I ran back onto the porch. (Standing in an open field during a thunderstorm!!)
But I have never felt cleaner.
The next time you happen to be in the presence of a baby or a toddler, just watch their face when they are running around naked, rain or not. They are giddy with glee. It’s as if they know that the time in their life during which such freedom is socially acceptable, is fleetingly short. Carpe diem, their squeals of laughter are saying. Carpe diem.
THE TRAIN REPORT (each week I’ll also give you a glimpse on what our train ride was like):
The train was 40 minutes late, but we had the fortunate pleasure of finding ourselves sitting just a row behind our dear friend Carla. We have not seen her in months, and she was on her way up to Rhinecliff to rendezvous for the weekend with her husband, Phil. Carla is beautiful and witty, and it almost made it ok for the train to be delayed. Almost.
We were joined at the farm this weekend by our friends, the spirited and funny Kaminsky family. They have 3 children all on the verge of teenagerdom. I was very surprised by their eagerness to help with chores on the farm. Two of the children have been going to summer day camp at Stone Barns, and their enthusiasm was authentic, even if their ultimate focus was not. It seems that the goats and the farm’s new kitten, Jolene, are more interesting than weeding the garden or, as was my big chore of the weekend, cleaning out the hayloft. And who could blame them?
They were a big help (and free labor). Together we filled an entire dumpster and managed to laugh while doing it.
While many things were disposed of, I decided to keep these old windows. This fall I’ll use them to build a handy cold-frame for the seedlings.
The hay wagons sitting at the base of Clover Hill were evidence that Famer John had been hard at work this week insuring that the goats would not go hungry next winter.
THE TRAIN REPORT:
The train was hot, but it was on time. This was so shocking. I almost did not have time to complete the blog before pulling into the train station. Not a bad ending to a lovely weekend.