Every morning around 8 or 8:30 you drive past the old farmhouse that sits tight to the road. Sagging porch along the front, cushioned chair, an old chest freezer with two old chainsaws sitting atop it. Old, old, old. Across the road, to your left, a small herd of cows, Jerseys mostly, heads bent to the ground in search of food. It is late in the grazing season, the grass shorn low by all those big cow teeth. On a few of the recent unseasonably warm mornings, you’ve spotted the wife sitting in the cushioned chair, reading. What she’s reading, you’d like to know and you think of stopping to ask, but of course do not.
A few miles down the road, you pass another farm. Again, not prosperous. At this one, the front door is always open. Not usually, not often, not frequently, but always, and you wonder at what point the change of season will compel the closure of the door. There is no screen and you think of the flies. Must be something to behold. Sometimes, you can see a man sitting in a chair just inside the opening. Watching the world go by, you guess. He doesn’t return your wave.
You get an email from a friend, says all the prime farms in his area are being bought up by “the rich kids.” They’re buying into the good life and instagram’ing the shit out of it is how he puts it (he’s always had a way with words. He’s always exaggerated, too). He sends you a link to an account, and you hover over it for just a second, but you don’t take the bait. What’s the point? If you had the money, you would do nothing different. With what money you do have, you’re doing nothing different. Your friend is as jealous as he is disparaging. Maybe he is disparaging because he is jealous.
Besides, you’ve got the image of those chainsaws on that chest freezer. It’s almost too much common sense to reckon with. It’s like an antidote to everything absurd. You’ve got the image of that man in the unscreened opening of his front door, resting after morning chores. You’ve got the narrow ribbon of gravel road before you, the ping of small rocks against the underside of your truck. The smell of the late summer air.