> jumping into life.


The upper field really isn't more than half civilized. Each piece of plowed and cultivated land elbows meadow that grows up past my waist. The potato patch backs almost directly into the woods. In this field, we most strongly feel how tenuous and perhaps illusory is our grasp on control. As we dig potatoes, a constant stream of wildlife issues from the hills: newts and efts, crickets and beetles, toads and snakes, snakes eating toads, toads eating crickets, once even a nest of tiny mice tucked in amist the German butterballs, and their parents bounding away into the grass. The weeds are weediest here, the view breathtaking. We do our best to stay focused on the task at hand: dig potatoes. But I find myself communing with the newts, staring out into the woods, whistling back at the birds. (Also slapping mosquitoes and cursing deerflies.) On the way back down the hill, there are blackberries to gather and chickens to feed, and frogs splishing into the pond when we finally get there, dirty and tired. And happy. Still happy.


My laptop almost died, but was saved. The rain has stopped, for now. We went to a wedding celebration, and it was beautiful and I drank too much. We're buying a car. I'm exhausted. That's the news.


We're living in a little camper on the edge of a big wood. This farm is nestled against the wild heart of Vermont; from the potato field you can follow a dirt double-track into the forest, and not come back out for a week if you so choose. Follow the road the other way, and you pass our camper perched on the edge of a hill just before you come to the greenhouses, the barn, and the rural road we set on.

The wild is pressed upon us. In the morning we hear a hundred birds, at night the chorus of a thousand frogs. Chipmunks scatter across the roof, vines curl against the windows. And always, there are the bugs.

Spiders fling their webs across the doorway, set up shop in most every corner. Their shops run a profit: our screens are shot through with holes, one wall soft with rain, and creepy-crawlies creep and crawl all through our little house. The spiderwebs are mostly full. At night, moths and mosquitoes buzz around the lights, and in the morning I wake with new bites itching. A family of ants live in the walls somewhere and march their solemn lines across most every surface. Every so often a group of them go winged and flutter madly against the windows with the ladybugs, gnats, horseflies, and swallowtails.

The lines between civilization and - what else is there? the rest of the world? - are blurred. I bring piles of dirt and straw in with me. I jump in the pond more often than the shower. I have a mammal's body and an animal's dreams, full of sweat and blood. It is a good life.