Saturday, April 21, 2012

Moving Brush Piles in the Rain


Before turning in last night, I stepped outside to listen to the river churning as it made its way around the bend and under the bridge. It's running high and fast this spring and I love the sound it makes in the dark. However. As I looked down in the hollow I could make out the silhouette of a brush pile I had spontaneously created when I first moved in here two summers ago and to which I have recently been adding. I could see, even in the dark, that the pile will be hiding the many irises that are getting ready to bloom. A couple of days ago I cleaned out a tire full of them that Otis had created nearby. Yes, a tire full of irises. There was a time when I might have blushed at that revelation, but now I view it as a fine form of recycling.

I actually have a few old tires in the back part of the yard that have been used for flowers in the past, before I arrived, that I'm cleaning out and planning to care for, as well as ten very large tractor tires that were used in creating another vegetable garden out near the road. I went by it two evenings ago on a walk with Buddy and thought again of reworking it, cleaning out the tires and planting potatoes in them. I've read where big tires are good for planting several things, potatoes first and foremost. Talk about a nice raised bed. Plus, when spring is in full bloom I will be working next to the lilac bushes which form that corner of my property, another nice bonus. We shall see....

Back to the brush pile.

When I woke early this morning to the sound of rain and leftover feelings from some unsettling dreams, I thought again of that poorly placed brush pile and decided I should move it as soon as possible. I didn't want anything obstructing my view of the flowers. And as much as I actually like brush piles and the notion that they can be habitat for a variety of creatures, I knew this one needed moving.

So, while Buddy was still sleeping I quietly left the house, went into the rain and did just that. I can't remember feeling this happy about outside work. It was so peaceful and satisfying. As I worked, I thought about a Robert Morgan poem I had read many months ago. It's been waiting in the wings for the perfect morning to be shared. And this is the perfect morning.

"Working in the Rain"

My father loved more than anything to
work outside in wet weather. Beginning
at daylight he'd go out in dripping brush
to mow or pull weeds for hogs and chickens.
First his shoulders got damp and the drops from
his hat ran down his back. When even his
armpits were soaked he came in to dry out
by the fire, make coffee, read a little.
But if the rain continued he'd soon be
restless, and go out to sharpen tools in
the shed or carry wood in from the pile,
then open up a puddle to the drain,
working by steps back into the downpour.
I thought he sought the privacy of rain,
the one time no one was likely to be
out and he was left to the intimacy
of drops touching every leaf and tree in
the woods and the easy muttering of
drip and runoff, the shine of pools behind
grass dams. He could not resist the long
ritual, the companionship and freedom
of falling weather, or even the cold
drenching, the heavy soak and chill of clothes
and sobbing of fingers and sacrifice
of shoes that earned a baking by the fire
and washed fatigue after the wandering
and loneliness in the country of rain.

~Robert Morgan




While I worked, a few thoughts came to mind that brought with them rather sound advice, both actual and metaphorical:

1. Don't start a brush pile without giving a bit of thought to it.
2. Don't add to a brush pile you started some time ago unless you're sure it's a good idea.
3. Never ever be afraid to work in the rain.
4. Always listen to the river.








P.S. Robert Morgan is the same poet who wrote "White Autumn." Remember the woman in the rocking chair with clay pipe hidden in the cabinet?  Same poet.  Here it is if you'd like a reminder: teresaevangeline.blogspot.com/2012/01/everything-is-ok-just-way-it-is.html



The images were taken last year, later in the spring, when the irises were blooming and things had greened up considerably.

36 comments:

  1. I want a place like this. Got to be somewhere I can afford... beautiful...

    sniff... just got to find a place... this motel where I am right now would work! wish I'd planned better for m'old age... ;)

    what a wonderland you have, Teresa

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    1. Carolyn, We were leaving comments on each others blogs at the same time! Love it! And you were also talking about the sound of a river. You are in a beautiful place - elk right outside your window?!? You have scored, lady.

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  2. Sound Advise.
    You know Teresa, I think both You & 'Dad would be proud of me!?You know I like Turkish Baths/Saunas etc.In them I wear wooden recycled flip-flops with soles made out of Old Tyres!!!!

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    1. Tony, Those flip-flops sound great. So does the Turkish bath, especially after working in the rain.

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  3. Oh that little spot down by the river is so wonderful. Folks used to comment to me when I worked in the rain when we lived in the mountains wondering why, telling me it was raining, all I could say was, it's just water. There is something so cleansing and purifying and refreshing about working or walking in the rain. I never would have guessed the same poet wrote both, each one I enjoyed thoroughly.

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    1. "Cleansing and purifying and refreshing." Yes, it is. I'm glad you understand. And I'm happy to hear that you liked both poems. They show the simplicity of life, well-lived.

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  4. I stop and smell each clump of iris, they have a magic scent that I always enjoy.There is a purple that smells like grape soda.

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    1. What a good idea, to smell each and appreciate their individual scents. Thank you for telling me about that. I was unaware. Grape soda brings up some childhood memories, too.

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  5. That beautiful spot by the river... Robert Morgan sounds like a Pacific Northwesterner. And I too think that there are purple iris that smell like grapes! :-)

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    1. It is a nice spot. I have plans for creating a larger area with a screened room when it comes up on my to-do list along with the necessary funds. I'm going to be looking for those irises, perhaps smelling for them would be more to the point.

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    2. I thought I should mention that Robert Morgan is from Hendersonville, NC, but isn't it nice when a poet sounds and feels as though they could be from anywhere?

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  6. I know you probably enjoyed the solitude but I'd have loved to help you move that pile. There's nothing better than work outdoors, within range of the sound of a river and with birdsong overhead.

    As you said, some poet!

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    1. The solitude is nice, but shared work is, too. I have come to appreciate outside work - piling brush among my favorites - much more than I did when I was young. Maturity has some great rewards.

      He is good, isn't he?

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  7. Hello Teresa:
    It is such a wonderful thing to have running water through the garden or nearby as its sound is so endlessly calming and beautiful. The clearing by the river would certainly be a favourite spot with us. We are certain that we could sit and stare for hours on end just listening to the river running by.

    This all served to remind us of the stream we used to have running through our garden in Herefordshire which we loved. It was, however, extremely tidal and at times of heavy rain would become more of a raging torrent than a steadily trickling stream.

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    1. Besides the river, I have a rock garden with two small "ponds" that with the help of an electric pump, will move the water down the garden rocks and recycle it up through the pump and back down again. I haven't been using it, as the river provides a more satisfying running water for me, and the rock garden is nice without it, too.

      Rivers do provide a nice place of quiet. I'm grateful it is down a bank and has not overflowed to flooding, not in my memory. But it is moving fast and I'm oh so careful not to let Buddy get too near it.

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  8. Teresa, this post really hit home as far as Earth day goes. You are living it, and it sounds like enjoying every little detail of the day.

    Good for you! One of these days, I will get to that point.
    Damn, I wish I had some of those tires!

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    1. Sandy, That's a great idea - to live Earth Day every day! What a world that would be! And I am enjoying it, very much.

      Perhaps there's a salvage yard nearby that would be very happy to get rid of some tires, especially tractor tires which are large enough for root vegetables.

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  9. I'm not one to work in the rain but planting a garden by star and moonlight is a spiritual occasion for me. Perhaps they are similar in some way? -- barbara

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    1. Barbara, Planting by star and moonlight sounds Wonderful! I can easily see why it would feel like a spiritual occasion. I think they are Very similar, absolutely.

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  10. As long as it is just light rain and not a downpour, I always loved being outside in the rain. My mother said I never did have enough sense to come in out of the rain. But my senses had everything to do with me staying outside--LOL!!

    I am glad you moved your brush pile. Potatoes sounds like a grand idea for the tractor tires. And then sit down by the river on that pretty spot and wash the dirt from your hands and arms in the running water. ;)

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    1. It was somewhere in between this morning, way past a drizzle but not cat and dogs. I Love your comment about your mother. Our senses should be listened to.

      I love the idea of ashing in the river. I've done more than hands and arms before, but not this river and not this year. :)

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    2. Ashing in the river? Washing, of course.

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  11. You've got such a beautiful place. I love the area by the river...oooh rivers...!!!

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    1. Hey TM, Glad to see you're back. I read where you've been to cattle auctions, having all kinds of fun, and now you're off to Santa Fe. I'm happy for you, green, but happy. Very happy. :)

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  12. Beautiful post and lovely poem.
    I'm a person who loves the rain and I will walk, hike and go out in it. I have always... "sought the privacy of rain," as Robert Morgan's father did. It surrounds me like a cloak and I feel protected and safe.
    Tires are great raised planters. Good idea.
    Can you see the iris yet?...
    .

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    1. Thanks, Connie. The line about privacy is a good one. The iris aren't blooming yet, but they have a lot of greenery getting ready. It's been awfully cool lately. I am prepared, though, and have a good line of vision now. :)

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  13. How very wonderful this all is, Teresa. WE have a rather large brush pile that will be burned soon. I have a bad habit of weeding and then leaving my piles all about. Must work on that.

    Here's to the emerging irises and the flow of the river.

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    1. I have four brush piles in different areas on the property. I keep hoping little fawns will be born under their protection. I "build" them a bit with that in mind, as we did when my family had Deer Valley all those years ago. I have a tendency to leave piles here and there, too, then go around and collect them after a couple of days.

      Thanks, Penny.

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  14. Replies
    1. Thanks, Ken. Your photo today, of the artist's community in the West Village, is a beautiful counterpoint.

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  15. Somehow it just doesn't seem right to be indoors on a rainy day. Moving/creating a brush pile is a good excuse: there are many others.

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  16. I was wondering about the lush vegetation so early in the year. What brilliant, sumptuous greens! What an amazing time of the year.

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    1. Yea, there's a way to go before it will be that lush, but it does illustrate what I wanted to see without the hindrance of a brush pile. :) Thanks, Janice.

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  17. Tires make a great place to plant potatoes. I hear you put in soil and plant the eyes. When the green comes up, you put in more soil to just about cover it again. And so on. Then, when you dig up the potatoes, you have them in multiple layers.

    I love working outdoors in a light rain, as long as it's not cold.

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    1. I'm getting quite excited (it doesn't take much, apparently) about trying this method.

      It was a bit chilly, but the work itself warmed me up quickly. I hope the snow you're getting in VA. leaves the wisteria intact and blooming.

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