Twenty Years Later


Early this morning I drove the boys to hunt with friends. It was dark, and snowing steadily, and the gravel road that would take us most of the way was unplowed and barely traveled since the storm had begun. I love driving in snow, it’s an art more than a science, requiring intermingled knowledge of car and terrain and the snow itself. And I’ve learned to love driving with my sons, the car a vessel for movement, sure, but also for a certain type of introspection and openness. A container just large and secure enough to hold certain words and thoughts that might otherwise go unshared for fear they’ll escape into the wider world.

I returned home in time for morning chores, the snow still falling but softer now, the sky a long sweep of grey and blue, with just a hint of pink to the east. I fed and watered the pigs, the cows, the chickens, then haltered Pip for milking. My bare hands were cold, but the good kind of cold, the kind that reminds one that comfort only exists in contrast to discomfort, and thus that discomfort is comfort, and vice versa.

Besides, I’d thrown a fat stick of beech on the fire right before chores. I’d put on another coffee after milking. I’d stand by the stove and warm my hands, palms down first, then turn them over to heat the knucklebones, study the lines, the calluses, the small, healing cuts, the one raised scar on the inside of my right thumb. I remember when I got that scar. Twenty years later, it’s still sensitive to the touch.

15 thoughts on “Twenty Years Later”

      1. That right there is plain ole sauerkraut – nothing but cabbage, salt, water. We also made three different varieties of kimchi. Or maybe it was four…


  1. Feeling acutely the time passing with kids, huh? I hear you and am listening, even though my oldest is six, my youngest still in utero. I try very hard to be aware and present with my family, both through the trying times and joy. Thanks for your artfully given perspective.
    Seeing the action shot of work going on in your house makes me wonder. How are you guys settling into the house? How is your house “working” for you? I spent a few minutes while we were painting this weekend imagining my house furnished and lived in, how we would use it. I’ve been building for so long it’s hard for me to imagine it as a home, not a construction site.

    1. It’s working well. Definitely should’ve put in more outlets, and I swapped out one window for french doors, but otherwise super happy. Especially with the basement;)


  2. Hold that close, enjoy every second…won’t be long before they’re driving their own vehicles and you’ll be watching them disappear down the road.(wiping tears)

  3. Ha ha ha, or staring after them lost in memories of trips had.

    Love your words and perspectives and the way you leave gaps for me to drift a little from time to time.

    1. This is what Mirosan writes in her profile:

      ” I’ve got this thing about the wondering native dog to Australia. It’s friendly enough but it has freedom in it’s bones. Apparently, if it likes you it will hang around and keep you in good company but there is a fine line between that and when it hits the road. Never running away as such but a case of ceaseless love of freedom and exploration. If you lock it up, it’s as good as gone. Dingo is kind of in my blood. Maybe it’s my totem.”

    1. They saw two does. Rye’s had two deer in his scope at other times, but wasn’t confident they were legal, so let them go. He also called in a buck, but not quite close enough. It’s gonna happen, tho!


      1. I didn’t see any bucks that were worthy of a trip to the taxidermist, so I shot a few does and gave them to a charity that feed folks who are living in local shelters.

        Vermont is a tough place to be a deer hunter, but Rye appears to have the “want to” part of it going in the right direction, as witnessed by his turkey harvest. If we keeps at it, he’ll get the art and science parts figured out in time.

  4. What is it with driving in a car and having conversations with teenagers? I’ve had more intimate, deep, potentially embarrassing talks about all kinds of stuff with my boys in the car than we ever would otherwise. That, or when we go on a kick-ass overnight backpacking trip. The monotony of hiking endless hours with your mother and a heavy pack on their back (not the mother on their back, though) eventually wears them down, and they’ll talk with me about anything I ask them. Ahem. You can imagine the kind of stuff I ask them.

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