Saturday, October 04, 2014

Back at the Farm

Anyone who has ever tried to photograph horses can sympathize with my failed efforts.  They either ignore you, walk into your face, or turn their rumps to you.  These horses were the only ones not on pasture yesterday, but it was such a beautiful day I wanted to get some pictures of the ones in the paddocks........Fern on the bottom, then Twilight, then Twilight and Fern together arguing, then Twilight walking out of the picture with Zippy and Fern in the background.  Notice how clean the paddocks handiwork.

I am so happy to be working at the shelter again that my outlook about everything has improved considerably.  What there is about shoveling horse poop that is so therapeutic for me I certainly don't know.  My practical problems are only marginally better, but my outlook has improved a lot.  The world here in Maine is so beautiful as the leaves turn.........I think they are at their peak this week in this area.  The foliage report in the newspaper shows what parts of the state are most colorful, tracking the blaze of color as it moves from North to South.  We are last to get it even though parts of the state are more southerly than we are.    Being an island, the ocean keeps us relatively warmer (or relatively colder depending how close the temperature is to 34 degrees).

I am doing my pre-winter thing.........the lower animal in me that prepares for winter.  I am too far away genetically to have to think of storing food, and I don't can and freeze food like many around here do.  But I do start finding my hats and mittens, digging out my winter coats.  I re-arrange furniture, which must be a vestige of preparing my den, put up curtains, move plants a little way back from the windows.  I drag out my sweaters from the drawers in the guest room, check that I remember where I put my long underwear.  I find my boots.  My fake woodstove, which has served as an end table since last spring, has to be moved to an as yet undetermined place where I can plug it in and sit in front of it in the evenings.  Amazingly this activity is comforting, seeing the evidence of the predictable movement of the earth.  No matter how our little individual lives go, nature goes on without the slightest notice.  The death of that fly I just found on my window sill as I dusted it impacted nothing that I can perceive.  Its life and death was just a clue.

When I read what I have written, I now inspect it with an editor's eye, thanks to my new distant  friend Pamela. She has taught me a lot about writing, inadvertently (is that word necessary?). I now know that you can write beautifully and make your point clearly without overdoing it. I don't change anything that I write, but adverbs and adjectives leap to grab my attention in a sometimes menacing way.  Did I really need that word "predictable"?  What about "marginally"?  Once when I had written a long essay for a course in school, the professor said the content was great, but I needed to "unpack" it.  I love that way of expressing what I had done.  I am doubt about it. I notice it. But as my own editor I choose to let the chips fall where they may.


P. J. Grath said...

I love the horses and envy you that part-time job. I think I would be happy shoveling either horse or cow manure: as long as barns and stables are kept clean, the manure smells good, without a strong ammonia odor. (Does that word really have two m's?)

As for writing and editing, some good advice I've read is to keep the functions separate. If your inner editor gets in the way of your inner writer, the writer can be paralyzed. But I was writing something this morning in a very self-conscious way, deleting passive voice and dull verbs in every other sentence. As for 'unpacking,' that's a familiar term to me from academic philosophy. It's like getting deeper into something and exploring hidden corners and implications.

I like your description of winter preparation.

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