I built it, tore it down. Gathered more material … branches, dead logs, newer branches, leaves, compost… then rebuilt it.. and then noticed it was pointing in the wrong direct. So I tore it down and rebuilt it. Then realized I should have kept it in the first position. So I left it… and decided to build another one East/West. Because I’ve learned from struggling with the first one.
Fall has finally arrived in North Carolina. Growing here has different challenges than in California where it was easier. My 10 acres used to be a 22 acre working farm. (I’ve even found a hidden room in the front barn that was no doubt used to hide illegal moonshine during the 1930s.) The land was not worked for over 7 years prior to my buying the property. The soil is hard and sometimes a bit rocky. White granite is everywhere. Less than two inches beneath the topsoil is hardpan red clay. But… it’s my land. It produced before… and it will again.
In the meantime, I’ve built raised beds. That too was a learning experience. I’d ordered four yards of compost/topsoil mix. Toting it from the pile into the raised beds was tougher than I thought … because I did it this summer and summer here in North Carolina is hot. Hot is bad enough, but the humidity! Oh man… I would work for 2-4 hours and then stagger into the house and lay drenched on the kitchen floor… eventually forcing myself to get up and drink some water, for as Les Brown says, “if you fall down, pray that you land on your back, because if you can look up, you can get back up.”
It’s not the biggest accomplishment in the world… but it’s one I’ve dreamt of doing for years. I’m 61 years old, tired, and bruised. Recently I’ve discovered that my central nervous system was all but shot. I’m going to have to commit to three years of yoga and exercise. I’m going to have to change the way I think about desire… for desire is a hell realm, different from passion. I suppose that it’s also a lot about WHAT you desire. As a black man, I learned a lot of whack ideas about sex and desire. What I learned, can shorten a man’s life, erode his mental health, and leave him open for sickness. (NOT the ideas an 18 year old… nor even a 25 year old is ready to accept.) But just as age is a gift, it’s also a season to reap the karma of all the choices, thoughts, and actions of a lifetime… and I feel them lodging in my body.
“Every problem is an opportunity in work clothes.” (~Henry J. Kaiser) So I could run to the VA and ask for some pills that will do nothing but mess me up more and hook me into Big Pharm, or I can reevaluate my diet. Give up the coffee and the sugary cakes and pies I love so much. By deciding to follow my passions … writing, gardening, and travel… I will have to get back into physical shape to do so… and gracefully, in doing so, extend both the longevity and the quality of my life.