What Comes Out
With apologies…Morning-pages stream-of-semiconsciousness from 2010-05-30
Surely there are some standards somewhere on what exact number of: mouse-chewed cardboard boxes full of dun-colored Mason Jars (assorted sizes jelly to half-gallon): feet of galvanized wire–used-kinked, wavy-tangled or fresh-coiled un-used loops; and half bags of concrete fully solidified, lumpish and heavy with powder like compressed gray dehydrated pachyderms.
How many old handles saved standing in a corner missing their metal heads–former hoes, mattocks, picks or sledge hammers. How many old feed sacks that might be good for something some day but probably not. The new woven unraveling plastic sacks don’t even age nice. How many old tables and chairs, tires and wheels, garden hoses, fishing poles, hay bales, chicken feed and how much dust.
There must be some standards out there somewhere that say just what should be left inside make an old barn “authentic” in an unsissyfied and true-country (city-boy hobby-farm relative) sort of way.
And I just have to brag: the chickens have outdone themselves in the dust department. We gave them access to one section that they enter through a missing exterior board and blocked off by two staggered cattle panels from the rest of the barn interior–except for their dust.
It must be an uncommonly good medium for bathing in as chickens and other birds are wont to do, as a way of reducing their ectoparasite load, I think, or maybe just because they can. Out of the weather under the barn’s metal roof for a century or more, full of pulverized and dehydrated animal waste going back to the time of the first automobile, and launched into the still dark air of the closed barn, the dust of the decades now covers everything with a matte-tan powder-cosmetic.
And it is this exotic mix of spores and minerals, microbes, feathers and the shed stuff of chestnut timbers that I have inhaled deeply into my lungs this morning in my attempt to put into less disorder a few years of general neglect, the big barn doors closed covering a multitude of sins inside. Don’t ask, don’t tell.
After an hour inside the barn this morning, it is this ancient broncheolar mud that my body rejects but can’t quite expectorate. I am moving back away from my monitor now lest it be bejeweled by speckles of lung. This may be the way I go from this world.
Thereafter, hang the tools of my time here–my camera and tripod, modem and router, laptop, smartphone and office chair from hooks, like our old farm tools and their tool-less handles, dangled from the loft where the canning jars live. Hang my implements to catch the dust of ages. There, they will weather like old cardboard, solidify like cement remainders, in tangles of salvaged garden wire, molder into fine fragments from floyd, into bits, bytes and pixels, lofted into the air of an imagined generation.
And then will come yet another Strange Farmer of Erewhon to suffer a like destiny two hundred years beyond, to inhale the ashes of my fleeting enterprise in this valley, and on and on, into an infinity of dust and duty, litter and literature, prose poems and pulmonary emboli, forever and ever amen.