The Supreme Beauty of the Perfect Day
There is a question which came to me years ago and still lives in the abyss of my subconscious, surfacing occasionally. If you were living in the perfect day, would you have the presence to recognize it as such?
Saturday was a day of transformation at Rising Sand Organics. A day, at the very least, of recognition of the transformation which continues to take shape as a result of, and in spite of, our presence on the land.
The quiet Rising Sand morning found two young ladies harvesting pounds and pounds of crisp, dewey cucumbers from a long bed of sprawling vines on the hillside; a bed which, months ago, was a barren blanket of snow, and years ago, a blank slate of overgrown and undernurtured hay.
Meanwhile, behind the decrepit barn, a fence continued its evergoing transformation, as two men circled the premise, installing a new grounding wire amidst the tangled mass of ancient, rusty barbed wire, and two new live strands. The fence — long neglected, but resurrected to contain the four steers which now roam the pasture — has been destroyed as often as constructed, and the evolution continued as the men worked slowly down the line beneath the flawless blue sky. The green and lively grasses soaked in the sun and danced with the breeze, in place of the hard yellow stalks, deadening trees, and twisted wire of just a year before.
In the hours between fence completion and fence destruction, the four convened around a folding table in a tiny patch of shade on a lone concrete pad, while as many steers gathered around their water trough. Surrounded by buckets, thorny vines and scrubby trees, they enjoyed delightfully simple sandwiches of cream cheese, freshly harvested tomatoes and crunchy green onions over artisan sourdough bread. They crunched fresh peas they’d picked the night before, juicy strawberries, and a crisp salad from the gardens just down the hill.
While they ate, a vehicle arrived, followed by a bicycle, and still more vehicles. A deer hide stretched over a rack in the back parking area, where chainsaws were serviced, hand-rolled cigarettes smoked, and laughter laughed. The old and tired packshed received the beginnings of its transformation into a Love Shack, as strangers and friends convened. Saws sawed, hammers hammered and drills drilled, bolstering the rafters of a roof which will soon be raised and fully supported, housing harvests of the future. Outside the shed, the tangled mess of barbly vines, shattered tree limbs, rocks, and cables cleared as the chainsaw roared and leather-gloved men sweated. Motorhead blasted raspily through the solar speaker, providing the continued inspiration for the grueling job.
The flat-rack wagon arrived and filled as the area cleared, making way for the large cooler which will house the future’s harvested vegetables in their transformation from life to livelihood. Two large dogs arrived as the work completed, and casual walks around the beautiful land and old structures were taken. The land rested as the evening set in, and a convoy of vans loaded and exited; young adults with laps full of toys and snacks and swim suits, heading to the lake for a mid-summer evening swim.
All along the vast hillside, the broad-shouldered kale, skinny-fingered onions, bushy tomatoes and veiny chard plants took in the last drips of sunlight, while down the road the adults played like children in the water: flipping, laughing, and exchanging throws of frisbees and footballs. By this time, fence destruction had again taken place, and the troublesome steer stood defiantly on the wrong side of the fence, waiting patiently for someone to return and notice.
And return they did. Tents were assembled, clothes changed, snacks and drinks amassed, and dogs fed, in the slow scramble towards the fire pit. As the constellations took their places in the sky, the grasses, vegetables and steers listened peacefully to guitar picking, fumbled verses, jokes and laughter, as the transformation progressed from physical to electric beneath the blanket of a clear, moonless night.
At the end of it all, a man unbuttoned his shirt of chainsaw gas and campfire smoke and laid down to rest, relishing in the supreme beauty and rarity of a perfect day, and the ever-present transformation continuing all around.