Keep Carrying On

In the evening, I walk up the mountain road to check on the pumpkin. It’s warm – maybe 45 degrees – and the sun is still just high enough to feel warm on my face. The road is muddy and rutted, soft beneath my boots. The mountain stream runs fast with snowmelt. I pass the town hall, then the church, then Bob’s hayfield, where at least a dozen deer graze at nubs of overwintered grass. I don’t bother stopping to watch them; they’re out there every day now. I saw them yesterday; I’ll see them again tomorrow.

It takes me nearly an hour to climb the hill. Three cars pass. Well: One car and two trucks. It’s no one I know, but I wave anyway. On the shoulder of the road, I spot a five dollar bill, and stoop to pick it up, then pause: the virus. But upon closer inspection, I can see that the bill has been there for a very long time, only just revealed by the receding snowbank. So I pocket it and carry on, already forming a story of how it came to land there, and feeling unaccountably lucky. I mean, it’s only five bucks. But still.

At the crest of the hill, I find the pumpkin. It’s moved a bit as the snow has melted out from underneath it, and something has been eating at it. It’s no longer orange. More of a deep beige. Not much to look at, really.

Back down the hill, sun low and barely visible through the trees, dark coming on fast. Much colder. I stick my ungloved hands in my pockets for warmth, wishing I hadn’t come quite so far, wishing I’d been smarter about when to turn back. But I wasn’t, and now there’s really nothing to do but keep carrying on.


21 thoughts on “Keep Carrying On”

  1. Hi Ben….Not sure why but your description of the pumpkin’s color cracked me up. And with the current situation this is good medicine. So nice to read your words, they are a wonderful respite
    from what we all are dealing with. Thanks for this! Stay safe.

  2. Clever, clever on that last paragraph. 😉 Cheers to you, cheers to pumpkins in March, and cheers to carrying on.

  3. If I may.. In my interpretation of your story there is great purpose in the conflict of wishing you hadn’t gone quite so far.. Perhaps there is greatness in what compelled you to keep going. Perhaps some part of you compelled you forward seeing an opportunity to take you deeper into your truth. Perhaps the 5 dollars presented itself as a sacred symbol of your journey to bring the spiritual aspect into being as the true ruler of the material, the 5 dollars a material nudge into the fifth element, who is you; as who and what you truly are. There is so much beauty in the nature you describe. However by its nature it can never fully satisfy our search for what is real. The real was always there hidden by our own perceptions . The 5 was not something we can buy, or suffer to attain . It was always ours ,just waiting infinitely patient for us to claim and embody it .Maybe there is something in us that says forget about all that, I’m the one who is real , don’t listen to that, lets go home… I’m hungry. And that’s OK too. Thanks for the inspiration! And the fun too… Love your writing. All the best,

  4. Beautiful! That pumpkin! What was it doing there? Knowing what I do from your writing, I wondered if you were harvesting seeds for your garden? So many questions and just delight.

      1. What is it with Willey’s anyway? Do they sell gas at a loss so that people from all over the county will drive there to get cheap gas?

  5. “Keep carrying on” is a great mantra for these times (or any, I suppose.) Just finished my yearly re-read of Homegrown. I just have to tell you how much reassurance it brings to my soul. I noticed a strong resemblance in the characters and personalities of your boys and mine but, now that mine are roughly the ages of most of the stories in that book, it is uncanny (UNCANNNY, I tell you!) how much alike they are. What you wrote about Fin and Rye could be written (almost word for word) for my boys. And the conversations you and Penny had are ones my husband and I have had numerous times. I hope your boys continue to be well and wild and have firm opinions about how they spend their time (I know a lot about that!) Peace and health to you and yours, always!

  6. With only 1 case of you know what reported in Caledonia County so far, I’d say that you’re safer than most folks in NYC.

    ‘Hope that you, Penny, and your two boys are all well.

    I’m bored, so I’d going to grab a .22 rifle and go pinking at targets of opportunity out at the farm.

  7. The pumpkin makes another appearance! I ‘went too far’ once on my bike in Tawas, MI. Except I wasn’t so casual about it…someone came looking for me and I could barely walk the next day, I’m kind of stupid though.

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