Quietude

Good morning everyone. This blog is way too long so you unless you have 2 minutes you may as well just skip to the last paragraph. It took three days but we are finally all dug out. We plowed and shoveled for several hours on Monday and then plowed and shoveled out the neighbors. The weight of the snow snapped limbs off trees everywhere and branches that are normally out of reach arched into the roadways making a snowy slalom course for cars and trucks. Wednesday after an early morning trip helping a neighbor take her pigs to market I borrowed her bucket loader and spent the rest of the day moving snow banks. One resultant bank is about 7 feet tall and 10 feet thick. For those of you sailing with us this summer our kids will have genuine organic homemade Maine snowballs for sale. Please don’t be confused by cheap imitations you might see on TV.

One frequent flyer here on the blog recently wrote a moving comment about caring for our one and only planet. Now I am not here to talk politics or religion but comments like his do give me pause to consider our impact on the world. Moving piles of snow with a bucket loader seems like a luxury when I view old timey photos of snow banks so deep that our monster bank was once the norm.
Around here we burn a lot of wood in the course of a year. Between the house the barn and the schooner we burn 12-14 cords‚Ķ depending. Most of that wood is processed quickly using some very loud but powerful machinery, not exactly Thoreau’s vision of natural splendor but time has value too. Just moving logs out of the woods can take several forms. My dear friend Bruce and I loaded a trailer of spruce sawlogs the other day using nothing more than a line, a snatch block slung high in the air between two tall trees and a pickup truck as the mule. A long line, a little ingenuity, a cant hook and a few well-placed fairleads and, viola, look Ma, no hernia. In another patch of woods our neighbor is currently logging with draft horses. I have very fond memories of a short stint logging with a draft horse in the woods of Vermont when I was in college. It can appear agonizingly slow but in today‚Äôs economic terms Thoreau would be pleased. Compare that technology to the skidder just down the road that has been used to drag a healthy pile of large pine and oak logs from the woods in very short order. So there you have it. Three ways of doing the exact same thing. I pass no judgment but do cherish the relationship I have with my dear friend and take a deep breath of the memories stirred by the smell of horses working in the woods. Don‚Äôt get me wrong. I get as excited by the smell of diesel as the next guy but I am not sure the skidder admires its work the same these horses appear to. I am thankful to be able to move snow banks with bucket loaders but at the end of the day shutting down the engine and hearing nothing but what nature has to say is precious. You know what I mean?
So this is supposed to be a blog about windjammers and old timey schooners. Well if time has the value I believe it does then time in the slow lane gets the same weight as time in the fast lane. Aboard a windjammer we may not sail fast every day but we usually get there, wherever there might be. And at the end of the day the trip to “there” is very good when surrounded by friends and family and the magnificent quietude of nature.

Have a great day. Be well Do good.

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4 comments

  1. Thanks for the lovely blog. I also enjoyed the previous blog and Ed’s comment about caring for nature. Regarding moving slowly, I’ll take a windjammer any day over a machine-driven vehicle. I work for a software company where everything has to be done yesterday, and multitasking is the only way to get the job done. After being surrounded by high-speed technology 24/7, it is a such a wonderful relief to board the Mary Day and, for one blissful week, just sail away, in no big hurry. My yearly trip is what keeps me (relatively) sane. Thoreau would have loved the Mary Day. 🙂 Hugs to all.

  2. I don’t think I have ever had an outdoor experience to compare with the peace and tranquility after a deep snowfall. The birds have stopped singing, the insects are silent, eveything that moves is muffled by the snow.

    After enjoying that peace for a few minutes my Dad would open the front door and yell, “Hey Fritz, when are you gonna get the driveway shovelled?” Then I would begin to hear the grind of the shovel against the driveway pavement.

  3. Hee hee. Ed, you just brought back memories from my childhood! LOL The sound of shovels scraping on the sidewalk has been replaced by the roar of the snowblower, and kids no longer earn money by shovelling your walk.

    If you are feeling nostalgic, come on up! Right now, we are in the middle of a Nor’easter which has already dumped over a foot of snow in NH, and it’s still coming down at the rate of 1-2 inches per hr. Our office is closed today, so we are all working from home. Thank God for modern technology! I don’t have to take time off without pay, or kill myself trying to get to work. I can work from the comfort of my home, wearing sweats and bunny slippers, while my pooch lies next to my desk, curled up in his bed. To all you readers weathering this nasty storm, please stay safe and warm. Abrazos. 3/2/09 – 8 AM

  4. Here in the “Heart of Dixie” we had a snowstorm Sunday. Up to 5″ fell overnight and into the late morning. About 1:00 pm the sun came out and melted it all away. So a great snow. Kids throughout the area got to throw some snowballs and build snowmen. The snow never accumulated on roads so their Moms and Dads had no problems. Then Monday came and everybody went to work and school.

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