Surviving On God Given Wits

Upper Peninsula Farm
July 30, `80

Hi journal. Lots to talk about.

Back at that wayside, before I was able to head out, the lady greeter
came over to me and asked if I ever worked odd jobs. She wasn’t really
offering me a job, but she was offering me food and a place to sleep
if I would help her son put up bails of hay. It was bailing time back
on her farm, and the job, apparently, was strenuous and a bit
dangerous. “Normally I help him,” she said, “but I can’t get away
today.” If I ever had a romantic daydream, it was putting up bails of
hay in a barn’s loft. The closest I had ever got to living that dream
was when I fed bails of hay into a mulcher. I worked for a sodding
company and the hay kept the sod from drying out. Under those
conditions, I found out what straw sticking to sweat felt like, but it
still wasn’t the “real thing.” This time around, however, I wasn’t
just going to throw bails of hay, I was going to see how people
survive using only their God given wits and resources! After I told
the lady I would help (and that was the easy part), I headed off to
find the farm.

The farm was twelve miles northeast of the wayside. To get there I
had to backtrack four miles, and then go north on a county road. After
another four or five miles of pitted pavement, I found myself in “no
man’s land,” and that’s when I made another turn and headed down a
bumpy, gravel road, my eyes clued to the bulge in my front tire. After
a mile or so, I began to regret my decision, but I gave my word, and
besides, I was repulsed by the thought of wasted effort. Before I
reached the farm, the road went from gravel to a dirt trail. After two
and half miles of bicycling through the backcountry of northern
Michigan, I came to the meadow where the farm was located. I was not
happy. Scratching through my sweaty t-shirt the five or six insect
bits that I accumulated along the way, I road up to the house and
found nobody home. I sat on the steps of the back porch contemplating
what to do next.

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About bwinwnbwi

About me: Marvin Gaye’s song, "What’s Going On" was playing on the jukebox when I went up to the counter and bought another cup of coffee. When I got back, the painting on the wall next to where I was sitting jumped out at me, the same way it had done many times before. On it was written a diatribe on creativity. It was the quote at the bottom, though, that brought me back to this seat time after time. The quote had to do with infinity; it went something like this: Think of yourself as being in that place where infinity comes together in a point; where the infinite past and the infinite future meet, where you are at right now. The quote was attributed to Hermann Hesse, but I didn’t remember reading it in any of the books that I had read by him, so I went out and bought Hesse’s last novel, Magister Ludi. I haven’t found the quote yet, but I haven't tired of looking for it either.
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