Man Having Just Painted A Fence. By Jean-Francois Raefëlli
The wisdom of the cows finally came to me: it’s all about fences. I’m feeling pretty warmly towards fences at the moment. Emergency fencing is keeping the cows home until we can finish adding more durable electric fencing to the wooden fences that border our property. Fences are protecting a pretty big investment, not to mention the local motorists.
Enter Stephen King, whose book on writing I have almost finished reading. There’s lots of advice, specific and general, but Mr. King’s work space admonition caught my attention. Consider this, consider that, he says, but the one thing you have to have if you’re going to write is a door. I’m guessing there are a lot of things besides writing that work best with doors that shut, protecting from distraction.
God interrupts me incessantly with sick kids and wandering cows, but otherwise I have a door. When the kids are at school, the house is empty. I am hard pressed to find enough time to work on my novel right now. Hard pressed enough to feel the nagging of other little doors. (Technically they’re “windows.”) Like any bad habit, it’s crept up on me, but it’s a door alright. A door I’ve started leaving open to the detriment of quiet spaces.
I like the internet. What’s not to like about a free post office? But I long for a world where connectivity is limited to an hour a day. It’s an interruption I ought to be able to control for. But somehow the cows made me realize how much it needs a door. Better yet an electric fence.
Don’t get me wrong, I see the beauty, not just of the post office, but the library. Available whenever needed with some seriously extensive resources. But I wonder if in the internet, humans have invented something which we lack the discipline to access without excess. I don’t know. What I do know, is that plugged into everything I am connected to nothing, most especially my own thoughts or the people around me. Plugged into nothing, everything and everyone remain a possibility.
Ergo, I am currently figuring out the dimensions of a better fence for my library/post office.
Recently, Buster wins top spot on this list. He has rapidly developed a taste for whatever’s on the other side of the fence. We don’t have enough money to fix all the fences to perfection. When the pigs started doing this we ended up fixing the fence problem by fixing the pigs. Is there a way to explain to Buster, that that’s why we’re pigless despite our deep and abiding appreciation for pork?
After escaping to the skeet shooting neighbor, Buster kept making his way to our front lawn. Sometimes in the day, sometimes at 10:00 at night. With that escape route was found and fixed, Buster found another. Thursday last week we were just finishing dinner (hoping to leave en masse for choir practice in a few minutes) when a man in a pick-up truck came up the driveway. Turns out Buster, with mother dearest in tow, had gotten out past the skeet shooter and onto the road. Everybody but us seemed to have known about it. The O.P.P. (for the non-Canadians, that would be the Ontario Provincial Police) came. Apparently, our bovines made it a good chase until finally, they were corralled into a nearby pasture with some other cows.
We made minimal attempts to talk Anabelle into coming back that evening, but she was pretty riled up by then. The idea of kids, cars, roads, and half crazed cows against the setting sun seemed more crazy than romantic.
The girls and I took off for choir. My husband made friends with the man who owned the pasture. The boys made friends with his one eyed, three legged dog.
Two days later, new friend (and trailer owner) delivered Anabelle and Buster to the barn, where we left them for a few days to mull over their bad behaviour. After that it was a collar for Buster and we chained him to a tree. Many hours of work on the fence later, they’re both wandering free in the fields again. The only one not wandering free is me, who startles and goes to set eyes on them so I know they haven’t gotten out yet.
I’m working on a letter to Buster.
Pick-up truck man offered to buy you straight up for $1500. Feeding you over the winter is worth it as long as we don’t have to sink money into fences. It was before your time, but ask the sheep – we used to have pigs.
Just a little something to think about.