The old red barn seen from the top of Bradbury Mountain in Pownal is one of my recurrent themes in this journal. It’s one of the places I like to go when I need to think and remember. I don’t always even know what I’m trying to recall, only that there’s something I need to reach inside and find amid the encroaching confusion. And the only way to do that is to go and look at the red barn.
At this time of year, there are no leaves blocking the view, and the barn itself appears to be in a large brown field. The only green is from the pine trees. But I rather like it this way. Sure, seeing all the growth of summer and knowing the food stand is down there is reassuring and comforting, but so is the starkness of this season. It’s a reminder of the strength of the human spirit despite all odds.
|A little carving.|
From this vantage point, I can see what people have “carved out” for themselves. There is mainly only the forest to look at, but here and there is a “carving,” and they’re not unpleasant carvings as you might see with a large and sprawling city. These are tiny carvings, and each carving has its own unique character. Each carving shows the personality of the man or woman who carved it. Each carving shows the manifestation of prior intention.
Further off in the background of the photo and somewhat to the left, you can see another carving. Another person has staked their claim. As long as you work with your surroundings and not against them, it’s okay to stake a claim. There’s a difference between ownership and stewardship. It’s only when we completely displace the natural world and insert a sterile manmade world that we create an eyesore.
Those who work with the fields and their shapes--their dips and hills--know how to take advantage of naturally wet or dry land. Those who understand the trees can use them for windbreaks or allow more aeration, as the case may be. Those who know how to work with the water table and not against it will always have plenty of water for their crops.
It comes down to respect and a willingness to listen. That’s what the owners of these gentle little carvings have mastered. So when I come up here and look out at my surroundings, that is what I am looking for--respect and a willingness to listen. I always find it here and I leave with a clearer head, knowing how to deal with whatever my current situation might be. I remember again what I was looking for, and I clear out the sterile manmade world.