He stood, a point on a sheet of green paper proclaiming himself the centre

Progressive insanities of a pioneer, by Margaret Atwood.  I get that feeling.  My sheet of green paper is the center of our fields.  Yesterday i was out staking an area for the cows to be.  I imagine they would have their own version of this poem, from their perspective, but right now it would be from the inside of the barn!  However, today was the day!  After a full farm meeting, where we talked about collectives, barn chores, dump runs, fences, baby lambs (did i mention our first one was born?  Yep!), we convened down in the barn, where we have a full afternoon of manure shoveling on the agenda.  Alas, the power outage put a damper on letting the cows out.  Finally the power was on, the cows were on their way out!  I was waiting in the field to show them the edge of the small section we had given them for the afternoon.  I’m waiting.  Still waiting.  I can hear Liz’s cow call ‘Let’s go!  Let’s go” from where i stood.  Then i see the cows surface, only to turn around and run back the other way.  I waited for a bit longer, and now i can tell they are running up the back road, towards the parking lot.  I start running up the hill, then i hear Liz yell ‘Tamara!’.  Just as i get to the top of the hill, the cows round the bend.  Running down the road like they belong there.  A part of me wonders why i think it’s okay to step out and try to get them moving in the opposite direction.  But i do so without any fear, i know their language, they know me, they know my language.  Today they listened.  They turned around, and we got them back to where they were meant to be.  Whew.  So there they were.  Out on the grass.  It feels good.  It feels good after having them inside all year, to let them out.  And i know they love it.  It makes me so aware of the grass.  How all we do on this farms centers around the growth of grass, how we have to fence animals in and out, how many hours we spend out there moving fence lines, cutting grass.  This is just the beginning of that journey again.  And it feels good.  I’m including Margaret Atwood’s Poem, it’s one of my favorites, and yes, in the dead of winter, i can relate.IMG_3714 IMG_3686

Progressive Insanities of a Pioneer by Margaret Atwood
He stood, a point
on a sheet of green paper
proclaiming himself the centre,

with no walls, no borders
anywhere; the sky no height
above him, totally un-
enclosed
and shouted:

Let me out!

ii
He dug the soil in rows,
imposed himself with shovels
He asserted
into the furrows, I
am not random.

The ground
replied with aphorisms:

a tree-sprout, a nameless
weed, words
he couldn’t understand.

iii
The house pitched
the plot staked
in the middle of nowhere.

At night the mind
inside, in the middle
of nowhere.

The idea of an animal
patters across the roof.

In the darkness the fields
defend themselves with fences
in vain:
everything
is getting in.

iv
By daylight he resisted.
He said, disgusted
with the swamp’s clamourings and the outbursts
of rocks,
This is not order
but the absence
of order.

He was wrong, the unanswering
forest implied:

It was
an ordered absence

v
For many years
he fished for a great vision,
dangling the hooks of sown
roots under the surface
of the shallow earth.

It was like
enticing whales with a bent
pin. Besides he thought

in that country
only the worms were biting.

vi
If he had known unstructured
space is a deluge
and stocked his log house-
boat with all the animals

even the wolves,

he might have floated.

But obstinate he
stated, The land is solid
and stamped,

watching his foot sink
down through stone
up to the knee.

vii
Things
refused to name themselves; refused
to let him name them.

The wolves hunted
outside.

On his beaches, his clearings,
by the surf of under-
growth breaking
at his feet, he foresaw
disintegration
and in the end
through eyes
made ragged by his
effort, the tension
between subject and object,

the green
vision, the unnamed
whale invaded

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