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At Least

The shortest day comes and goes. There is scant snow; I’ve plowed the drive only twice. The temp rises and falls and rises again. The New Year is barely a week away and it feels as if winter has yet to begin. In the mornings I draw water for the cows and then ski through Bob’s hayfield, climbing to the height of the land where the sugar maples begin. Along the way I pass the bench that Bob has situated at the top of the field. I sat on it once. It’s a real nice view. This morning, though I didn’t sit, I pause and glance back down the long slope of the field and across the road to the church and beyond that to our barn on the hill which from this vantage point looks small and quaint and not nearly as messy as I know it to be.

Every year I await the passage of the Solstice with a certain anticipation, but this year everything seems so frayed and tenuous that I can’t quite muster my usual enthusiasm for the transition. At least there is snow, I think. At least there is the familiar routine of my morning ski. At least there is this view stretched out before me: A church, a barn, and, if I looked carefully enough, the distant specks of the cows gathered at their morning hay.

19 thoughts on “At Least”

  1. Merry Christmas, Ben!
    And it will be nice to see the sun slowly get higher in the sky in more of an arc, a promise of things to come, albeit slowly. Surely this is one thing in all of our lives that is positive.
    Thanks for the photograph!

    1. Thanks, Tom. I appreciate the encouragement on the pics. Penny is the photographer in the family, and I don’t often remember to carry my phone on my outings.

  2. I totally understand your lack of enthusiasm this year for the solstice. It’s usually my favorite day of the day knowing the daylight will increase each day, albeit by minuscule amounts. The political antagonism and the impositions caused by Covid can be very discouraging and depressing. But like you, we take refuge in our NH property and our daily connections to the land and wildlife that ground us and give us hope as the sun rises in the sky. All best wishes to you and your family for 2022.

  3. Uh yeah…..hard to muster enthusiasm during this apocalyptic, tyrannical, fucking nightmare. At least they haven’t taken the sun away…..or have they??? :}

  4. Not very Christmassy out here on the prairie, and no chance of a White Christmas! We’ve had two days over 70 in December – both record highs for the date, and it will be in the 60s today and tomorrow. But we are deep into a drought that ten inches of wet snow would certainly help alleviate.

    Thanks for the little essay!

  5. Thank goodness the cows don’t care about pandemics or global politics. I have probably told you this before. Years ago, I had a close family member take me to the mat about how I lived with my head “in the sand” and asked when my kids were going to learn about “the real world.” I turned him around to look at our fields, the mountains, the pond, the creeks, the animals and said, “This IS the real world. Nothing you are looking at wants to take advantage of others, to lie or cheat or to even deceive or manipulate. What you are looking at is honesty itself.” He didn’t say anything after that. I imagine your enthusiasm may be subdued a bit but it’s still there. It is always present in your writing and what a gift that is to your readers. Happy Solstice, Happy Everything to all the Hewitt clan. 🙂

  6. It always amazes me how much you can say wuth so few words. Your writing always has a certain refreshing potency. Thanks Ben. Happy holidays to you and your beautiful family!

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