Something Else I Don’t Have a Word For

Camping on Lake Superior
Camping on Lake Superior

On the final evening of August I drive home from Jimmy and Sara’s with buckets full of milk for the pigs. Already the light is waning, and I pass a field of head-high corn, the leaves so deeply green I wonder if green is still the right word, but no other comes to mind. I pass grazing cows, just off evening milking, udders loose, heads bent to the shorn pasture. I see row after row of firewood under old roofing tin, the tin weighed down by rocks and old tires. A poor man’s woodshed. I have one, too.

Those who took first cut in early June are onto third cutting; everyone else is into second and that’s all they’ll get; the grass is almost finished growing. But it was a good year for making hay, at least this far north. It was hot and we got just enough rain just when we needed it.

Once home I carry a bucket up the hill to the pigs. They crowd the trough in anticipation. I pour the soured milk over their heads and they shake it onto me and so I curse them, an order of business as predictable as a stopped clock. The pigs do not have long to live, but lacking this foreknowledge they are free to enjoy the moment for what it is: A bellyful of milk. The sun slinking lower in the sky. A breeze so soft it might not even be a breeze at all, and I realize there’s something else I don’t have a word for, like the nameless feeling I have right now, milk-splattered and a little shivery in the cooling air, watching the pigs drink, considering the deaths they don’t know are soon to come.



13 thoughts on “Something Else I Don’t Have a Word For”

  1. Living on our farm has prolonged my life…I know that but cannot name what it is specifically. As soon as I read your post I understood it more clearly as I often do but specific words are elusive and, well, over-rated perhaps. Probably why I love poetry so much…

    1. Farm life, especially small-farm life, is the one elixir that works. All others are false prophets and small change. Better a small farm than the White House. Better one well managed small farm than all of Wall Street. Put Trump on a small farm and in two weeks he’ll have real hair and human-like ideas.

  2. That is a wonderful photo of your fellas around the campfire. I am happy to see they were able to make that travel dream come true.

  3. Maybe the word is…..’the sixth extinction’? My neighbor is blaring some Spanish rap music very loudly right now, he likes to dance shirtless on the front porch…he yells Spanish words to someone out there, some short friend I can’t see on the other side of the fence? Dude has no shame. Like my old boss used to say, ‘you gotta do what you gotta do’. He was also a raging pervert, but that is irrelevant.
    Lake Superior woooooohooooooo! Dive in!

  4. Maybe the best things defy description? You certainly convey the feeling, though. Thank you for your words – always!

  5. Yah, I watched that rain radar by us all summer as you all were getting it time and again. Second cut was 50% of last year down this way and I’ll be out baling weeds and gone-by June grass this afternoon. Tougher where there’s none…

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