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The Farm on the Hill

The time has come where Chris and I are moving forward on finding our new farm.  We aren’t sure how that’s going to end up, but it means that we are now actively looking.  The first one, naturally, was the farm  that initiated this major change in our lives starting two years ago.  It’s finally for sale (well, actually it’s not again, but that’s a different story) which meant that we had a chance to visit with the current owner, look through the house and walk the perimeter.

Hill farm
A little snapshot of a view similar to my great-grandparents’ hillside farm.

It got me thinking about the many hill farms in Central Vermont and what they’ve seen over seasons and years. Coincidentally, April is Poetry Month nationally, and statewide, and our little town does a whole month of poetry-related activities.  Last week was a Farmer Poetry Reading hosted by the Black Krim Tavern, a local restaurant run by farmers.  If you make it to Randolph, you must eat there.  I’m serious.  Last night, we ended with a public poetry reading at the Chandler Center for the Arts. I love my town.  At this time when we have the ability to resettle anywhere…I just want to stay here.

That said, here is one of my offerings, inspired by the wisdom and patience of farm(s) on the hill(s).


The Farm on the Hill

Patiently it waits
Apple trees dying one by one
Dropping limbs to weather and neglect.
Stone monuments to the old timers
Persist through the bare Spring forest, their
Verdant green stones running in crooked vessels
Over the top to the Old Stage Road.
Just wakening, the hay fields are tired of brief visits to cut and bale and
Take away, leaving lichen and wild strawberry and smooth bedstraw.
Stripped to bare beam bones, its heart stands proud
Nestled down behind Mom-and-Pop maples
Letting the wind howl and sweep and
Sing to its lonely ache.
Enduringly it waits.

Vibrantly the farm dances
Celebrating the cycles of life and season
Watching the tottering steps of new lambs
Feeling the warm gush of biology as each pass of cattle over the pasture brings
Clover and trefoil and dandelion and spiders and earthworms and
Dung beetles and rabbits and foxes and coyotes and boblinks.
Laughter rings along the jeep trail
Carrying vitality on four-footed backs, in the glint of a grey-blue eye,
A tiny hand, and size two Bogs.
Sparks start meals of meat and cheese and home-grown harvests.
Four generations stretch and grow a
Labyrinth garden in the old cellar hole,
Pear trees,
Raised beds,
A hammock hung between Mom and Pop,
Thanksgiving at the trestle table,
Cows and calves,
Goats and chickens,
Organic matter holding water for the
Fifth generation.
Purposefully it dances.
Vigilantly the farm watches
Fall seep over the familiar comfort of its curves.
With cold comes expiration like the
Quietus after sheep came and trees left, then
Sheep left and cows came.
Anxiously it watches.

Sagely, the farmer watches
Cold retreat like an exhausted soldier
Revealing green life and heat from bunched crowns.
Emerging re-costumed to take up this dance, a slow waltz
Not a fast jig to be danced and done.
A partnered pair unfolding together
Devoted to the promenade.
Gratified, the farm puffs out a dewy breath
capers on.

JJC 4/20/15

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