The old farmhouse where I grew up

The old farmhouse where I grew up

“I live here in the realm of predictability.  Each day goes by, a mirror of the one before, a rough draft of the one to come.  The passing hours bring variations in the sky’s coloration, the comings and goings of the birds, and a thousand almost imperceptible things.”
— Sylvain Tesson, The Consolations of the Forest:  Alone in a Cabin on the Siberian Taiga, translated from the French by Linda Coverdale

My father is rooted to the land where he has lived for over 90 years.  The Minnesota farm was his childhood home, and he has observed the seasons passing predictably year after year.  And now in old age, the call of travel and adventure no longer appeals.  From my perspective, life on the farm seems slow and unchanging, each day a “rough draft of the one to come.”

Still, there is a lot of richness in being so rooted.  As Natalie Goldberg says in The True Secret of Writing:  Connecting Life with Language, “Much can be done by doing little — with regard.”

Sylvain Tesson, quoted in the opening to this post, deliberately experimented with finding his inner life by removing himself to a remote, rustic cabin in Siberia.  He found that “Staying put brought me what I could no longer find on any journey.”  Writer Jim Harrison, writes about these same feelings in Brown Dog:  “Come to think of it, the main good thing out here snowbound in this cabin is that nothing is happening . . . I’ve got this personal feeling things are not supposed to be happening to people all of the time.  At least I’m not designed for it.”

If we live to extreme old age, our bodies will inevitably wear out, slowing us down and making us stay put.  I got a taste of this during the two weeks I stayed with my Dad.  The challenge for all of us, regardless of age, is to stay observant to the things that come across our range of view, and to find the beauty in these still images.

Here is a window to my Dad’s world:
















“All these little, unlooked-at details create the fabric of memory.  By writing them down, we are refusing to let the experiences of our lives get subsumed in the tsunami of time, the onrush of the next, and the next, and the next.”
— Andy Couturier, A Different Kind of Luxury:  Japanese Lessons in Simple Living and Inner Abundance

Tree rings — one of Nature’s ways of recording the passage of time

Tree rings from an Atlas Cedar

This blog has become my way of recording the ordinary and special occasions in my life — my attempt at creating an online tapestry of memories.  The practice of writing and posting has become my meditative moment in a sometimes busy and largely routine life.  Blogging helps me integrate things that I observe around me, things I read, things I photograph, things I eat, things that happen to me, and “forces” me to create something meaningful from these seemingly unrelated parts.  Finding that nugget of meaning and then making a post about it feels like a creative act.

So I’m still finding this blog worthwhile.  And yet, after more than 3-1/2 years of blogging almost every day, I think I need a bit more time off to devote to other projects and other aspects of my life.  So I plan to cut back to posting just five days a week, Mondays through Fridays, and take the weekends off.  Let’s see if it makes a difference!