This summer was particularly fruitful and joyful in terms of contemplation, reflection, and thinking. Oddly enough, I could not transfer the bulk of these contemplations into my blogging, which left me dissatisfied and disappointed before I realized that the deeply personal nature of my thinking over the summer would not have translated into engaging posts, regardless of how hard I tried.
With that in mind, I’ll share some of the not-so-deeply- personal thoughts I had this summer and some of the activities and projects took on.
Retardo No More; Meet Richie Ricardo
The oddball rooster my neighbor gave me has not only settled in – he now rules the roost. Not only that, but he offers a surefire cure for ennui, apathy, listlessness, or epic Weltschmerz. All you have to do is watch him emerge from the henhouse at dawn.
The enthusiasm, zeal, zest, energy, and – ahem – lust for life with which this feathered being greets the day is truly something to behold.
He swaggers out of the coop like a matador but quickly transforms into the bull. He crows, dances, shuffles, ruffles, struts, poses, coos, and then – to the general chagrin and dismay of the hens, determinedly concentrates his whole life force on doing what he was hatched to do.
Unlike us humans, this rooster has no problems when it comes to discovering his true self, let me tell you.
A few of the fifteen pullets I purchased in the early summer have begun laying. I merged the two flocks a few days ago. Although the mature hens have been quick to establish dominance, they have accepted the younger ones without excessive fuss or the gallinaceous battle royal I feared. The cooler temperatures have allowed them to spend more time free-ranging in the rear portion of the yard that I fenced off specifically for them.
Chickenkeeping remains an immensely positive experience because it allows me to connect to and partake in another aspect of reality with a rhythm that reaches deeply into the movements of the day and the underlying force of life. I suppose I could say the same about the garden.
Except for the tomatoes, plagued by some kind of blight early on, all the vegetables I planted this year have been successful. My learn-as-you-go approach to gardening is beginning to pay dividends, in terms of yields and other less-tangible benefits. As with the chickens, I relish the simplicity and honesty inherent in growing your own food. It’s still a challenge and a great deal of work, but it ranks among the best of challenges and the highest work.
On the topic of gardening, we haven’t utilized the greenhouse I built in the late spring/early summer nearly as much as we had planned to, but I imagine this will change as the temperatures decrease and the sun spends less time in the sky. I have no doubt the greenhouse will rise to the occasion when we use it to raise seedlings for the garden in spring.
A big selling point of this sort of fencing is the supposed precision of the blocks. The manufacturer markets this product by assuring potential buyers that assembling the fence is no more difficult than putting together Lego bricks. True, if the blocks were the same size and shape.
Sadly, they weren’t. Some were nearly a centimeter longer, shorter, or taller, which caused significant complications and frustration when it came to fitting the blocks together and coming out evenly at the end. Luckily, I had my father helping me, and the two of us somehow worked it out. The fence is far from flawless, and I still need to finish filling out the bottom with concrete, but it is level and improves the property aesthetics from the street.
The faux wrought iron gate my wife and I purchased is another matter. I thought I had run the gamut of cheap Chinese-produced crap in my life, but this gate – which takes the definition of flimsy to a whole new level – proved me wrong. In retrospect, we should have returned it immediately, but for reasons unknown, we decided to stick with it. Though it generally serves its purpose and looks okay-ish, I have decided it will only be a temporary fixture. I will relocate to the backyard and replace with a genuine wrought iron gate when I find reasonably-priced one.
Age, Old Age, Entropy
The time I spent with my parents - both in their seventies - triggered much thinking about old age and, more specifically, the purpose of old age. Dr. Charlton wrote an excellent post about this a few years ago. I don’t have much to add other than to say that at fifty-two, I am beginning to feel the effects of age, especially in the joints. Unlike most people, I consider fifty-two to be early old age rather than middle age, and I am adjusting my physical and spiritual orientation accordingly.
I Am Where I Wanted to Be and Want to Be
A big breakthrough for me this summer was the realization that I am exactly where I want to be; that the overarching movement of my life in the past decade has placed me in an optimal and positive spiritual situation despite or – more correctly – because of the thoroughly negative and evil developments currently gripping the world.