Nothing is More Important


This morning the air feels thick and settled, and when I walked down the field to feed and water the meat birds, I could barely discern the cows through the haze. They rose clumsily upon my arrival, lumbering forms in the half-light, heading for the well-trod path that connects field and barn. They know the routine.

It has been more than five years since I started writing in this space. For at least the last two of those years, I have understood that someday the nature of my work here would change. That day has arrived.

There are many reasons I have decided to stop posting regularly, but chief among them is the sense that, in ways I have yet to fully understand but nonetheless know to be true, it is undermining my sense of personal integrity.

I have long believed that this medium cultivates and even encourages two-dimensional relationships; indeed, I have written of this often. Perhaps it is the very nature of these relationships that foments another of my primary concerns: That my continued presence here is slowly transforming my family’s life and experiences into a product. Our lives and experiences are too sacred to us to risk having them become a lifestyle fit for consumption.

Finally, my relative absence from this space over the past few months has enlightened me to how much healthier it is for me – in mind, body, and spirit – to focus my energy on direct experiences shared with family, friends, community, and the non-human world.

I will continue to publish my work here on occasion. After all, I am a writer (among other things), and one of the things I do appreciate about this medium is its lack of an editorial filter. Here, for better or worse, I can publish writing that would not otherwise find a home. But while this writing will inevitably draw on my real-world experiences (indeed, it can be no other way), it will no longer include the minutia of my family’s lives in either words or images.

This has not been an easy decision, in no small part because I have been the beneficiary of amazing support from so many of you. Thank you for that. For those of you whose support is expressed financially on a monthly basis, please know that I will not be offended in the least if you suspend this support.

Finally, I leave you with one small request. I ask that for every minute you would otherwise pass reading this blog, you spend at least one minute engaging in the real world with your family, friends, and non-human community. For these are the basis of a real and meaningful existence, one that is rooted in genuine shared experiences and the commonality of a particular place.

And in a society that is rapidly succumbing to the false promises of technology, nothing is more important.


Short One

Good chanterelle year
Good chanterelle year

Saturday I worked on the barn until later than usual, and on my drive home I felt worn out and undone. I drove home the back way, slowly, one hand on the wheel, the other hanging out the window. Every so often, I’d raise my hand to catch the breeze, float it on the push of air, a small airplane of flesh, blood, and bone. But soon even this required more effort than I wanted to expend, and I let it rest heavy against the truck door.

Then, a raven, flying just ahead of and above the truck, tracing the road’s path. Thirty miles an hour he flew, or nearly so, and he stayed with me for almost a mile. Leading me. Being pushed by me. No, that’s ridiculous: Just flying. I watched, an eye on the bird and one on the road, until we came to a field and the trees opened and he cut a hard right over the long expanse of grass, and for the briefest of moments, one of those fleeting fantasies in which the laws of both physics and man can be unwritten, I thought about turning with him.