finding the moon
by tobias crabtree
i’m typing from the desk i built from fence slats. the kingbirds are nesting on top the pole by the house where nick and elizabeth sleep (when they’re not sleeping up under the cedar). the chickens are put away. there’s a jay making a ruckus in the oaks behind my shack, something’s got him worked up, maybe danger, maybe love…i don’t know the difference. the sun is gone and i can see the clouds that are probably pounding rain on the other side of the mountains. the moon is waxing gibbous and showing, just barely, through the clouds. lucky me.
i was given permission to move into a shack at the top edge of the farm. i moved in, built a desk and put up two shelves and a food box. my bed is on the floor, where i prefer it. i have three books on my shelf, all gifts from thoughtful people. the windows are without glass and covered with wire mesh. insects come and go as they please through the gaps and holes…and that’s all fine by me, i’m not so different from them. i think it’s funny that i like the shelter that keeps me closest to the stars; i sure as hell have that here. let me put it this way, i won’t be flaunting my digs on the newest, hottest dating site…whatever that is.
tomorrow i’ll start on the shelter for the goats. elizabeth wants a milking station and so do i; i like milk. there are so many things to learn. i stood and learned one thing after another today as i listened to nick in his garden…in his domaine; cycles and phases and observation and intuition, it’s all a part of the magic of husbandry. it’s different if you want to control it all, then you get into playing god, and it finds a way to crush you. nick likes to investigate the path that nature is carving and then follow it. he is the barefoot discoverer. he is the student in the woods at the foot of the elders. i left his talk and followed my own line of thinking/dreaming.
every tiny creature has secrets. the voles are moving in the grass even while i write. the gophers are finding the sweetest roots. the calendula is storing up it’s medicine in the orangest of petals. the fawn is nuzzling under his mothers flank and closing his lacy eyelashes against the night. the wasps are still as stones in their waxy nests. the worms look for matter and matter awaits. i read somewhere that every time a hummingbird sleeps, he comes perilously close to death; their impossible metabolism can barely wait out the night. and then comes morning and they are at the flowers with brilliance that astounds, having just come from the brink of death. what heroes they are! what wonders!
i realize that, to some, this writing has little relevance. i understand, i feel that way when i read the wall street journal. it’s not that i don’t think it’s smart or well written, i just can’t find it’s application to my life. i’m stumbling through these words, trying to find something in my vocabulary to express the genius of the living world. it’s like trying to explain how incredible michael jackson was at dancing by trying to dance like michael jackson…there’s no way it can come across without seeming silly. so i’ll just be the fool, dancing his ass off and yelling at the top of his lungs, “it’s amazing! it’s amazing!” .
i’ll end by saying some things about these people with whom i am staying. they understand the look in my eyes. they know that i like to live in the shack at the edge of the fence line. they look at the moon and dance when the coffee’s ready in the morning. i don’t really know where i’m going or what i’m doing besides finding new air to breathe and cold swimmin’ holes and paths that are little and steep. this place, these people, this life…it’s all a marvel. there are a million thoughts to be thunk every day and i find the dearest form of freedom in knowing that i can think them whenever the hell i please, and i don’t need anyone to tell me i can or can’t. here, on the farm, where i’m allowed to build a desk and sip a little rye and find the moon and sleep in nothin’ but my socks on the floor in the shack, i can see to the center of the universe. you probably don’t believe me, and that’s ok. i ain’t no genius, but i’m rubbin’ up against it.