Farming, to me, has always sounded like a series of back-breaking chores: you have to get up early every morning; you have to milk the sacreds; you have to plow, or yoke the help, or finish maintenance on the tractor; then shear the sheep with an electric fleece-trimmer. And finally, with a sickle, angels reap what you sowed.
I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of Days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.
I want to define a couple of words that I wrote before I quoted that passage from Daniel (7:9) (which I only did, by the way, in order to remind myself that the prophet actually likens god-hair to wool). “Yoke” means oppression, burden, encumbrance… “Fleece” enjoys alternate meanings:
- the covering of a sheep or goat;
- to obtain money from someone by swindling them.
One of my favorite artists, Joan Miró, remarked as follows about one of his famous paintings (the quote is from Selected Writings and Interviews, edited by Margit Rowell):
During the nine months I worked on The Farm I was working seven or eight hours a day. I suffered terribly, horribly, like a condemned man.
Also, in a volume named after a painting by another of my favorite artists, “The Double Dream of Spring” by Giorgio de Chirico, one of my favorite writers John Ashbery composed a sestina called “Farm Implements and Rutabagas in a Landscape,” which contains the following prophecy:
…No more shall pleasant
Rays of the sun refresh your sense of growing old…
The reason I shared the above quotes is not to sadden myself; they just came to mind because I mentioned the notion of farming. I try, when writing, to surf between chance and volition. Undoubtedly I got created with too much will. (Proof of which is that it pains me to say “I got created” – I’d much prefer to admit “I fashioned myself.”) Which brings to mind this:
After all of her children were born into this world (there were three total), my mom bought a plaque on which was engraved each being’s name as well as its meaning – mine says, “BRYAN: Strong in spirit.” (In other words: Control freak.)
I used to stay up past midnight, on the regular. I used to stay up till sunrise. Now I can barely make it through the evening—not because of any real misfortune, like disease or unexpected childbirth; it’s just my carnal riposte to the surrounding dreariness.
But I’m thankful for my sweetheart. I write these words while she’s driving home from work; that’s why she’s on my mind. Every time I see the numbers on a digital clock repeated perfectly—like 11:11 or 4:44, etc.—I make this wish: Please let my sweetheart live forever.