Today Is Now
August 28, 2013 § 12 Comments
In full candor, I spent much of yesterday in a sour mood. I had my reasons: The boys were being as the boys can occasionally be, which is to say, insufferable ingrates devoid of one iota of appreciation for the freedom and blessings that define their lives. There is nothing that irks me more than a couple of self-pitying farm kids on a gripe kick: We never get to hunt alone (well, duh: You’re 8 and 11). You don’t let us shoot the 12 gauge alone (well, duh: You’re 8 and 11). You’re always telling us to pick stuff up (well, duh: You leave your shit – most of which is sharp and metal, smelly and dead, or otherwise disgusting – EVERYWHERE). I don’t really think it’s a child’s obligation to inhabit of state of conscious gratitude. At 41, I ain’t even close to that place, myself, and maybe I don’t even want to get there, if only because it occurs to me that it might actually be sort of exhausting to be grateful all the time. That said, I have little patience for the grousing of two boys who enjoy the tremendous degree of autonomy and parental trust Fin and Rye do.
And then there was my back, which decided to go on strike just when I was beginning to think I might be indomitable. It’s been a summer full of good, honest, physical labor – lifting and pulling and digging and whatnot – and my body has always responded well to this regimen. But at some point over the past week or so, I must have crossed some invisible line in the sand of my physical capacities, and I became domitable again. It’s much better today, but yesterday, as I shuffled my way to and fro, the echoes of my sons’ perceived injustices ringing in my ears, it felt as if the world were a heavy place that had decided, for the time being at least, to rest its weary bones across the fragile bed of my shoulders.
It is fortunate indeed that I awakened this morning with a sense of renewal, both physical and emotional, for the next few weeks are crunch time on our small holding. There is much to be done, more than I wish to take the time to write about now, and the days are ever-shorter: Each evening, dark chases me indoors a few minutes earlier than it did the evening before. Which helps explain why last night I was in bed by 8:30, preparing to sleep a sleep of such depth and duration that coming back into consciousness felt like digging my way out of a dark hole. I awoke feeling refreshed and limber, and when the boys trudged their tousled way downstairs and out the front door to release their bladders at the base of the fruit trees as instructed, I could tell they were in a better place. Not exactly grateful, but no longer bitter. No longer persecuted and bereft. “Can we shoot the .22 today, Papa,” Fin asked, and I although I was tempted to withhold the privilege after the previous day’s impudence, I said yes, and it was the right thing to say.
Because yesterday was yesterday. And today is now.