My father’s poetry was reviewed this week in The Hardwick Gazette. Ms. Cook does a great job of capturing what he’s about.
His current book is still available on Amazon (http://amzn.com/1257919350), and we’re working on finding a publisher for his latest group of poems.
When my son was younger, I had to work very hard to not swear around him. I would usually start with some sort of SON OF A … and then quickly insert CHRISTMAS PEACH or something similar. It felt good. That kind of good, old-fashioned VICERAL swear beginning, with a nice soft ending that was non-offensive.
Now that my daughter is a certain age, it’s time to relay on old favorites again like “son of a christmas peach” and “rasenfratenblattersplats” (a phrase my cousins and I used when we were younger to represent the incomprehensible cussing of Yosemite Sam).
Another bonus with swearing like this is the universal acceptance of them in a work environment.
Today I was awoken from a deep slumber by the older female. She had spent the night working on getting the perfect album ready for a series of photos of her children and husband. She hadn’t slept at all, and as of this writing is still awake. Her work on selecting, cropping, editing, and captioning the 14 photos had taken her most of four hours.
The last photo of a crow purchased from the local pharmacy apparently gave her a hard time, because she wanted me to help her with a caption. After loudly debating the subject for a few minutes, she finally typed in a phrase that she came up with on her own, pressed enter and slumped forward on her desk.
My time with these autistics in the mist may need to be much longer than my university’s initial understanding, but I will not leave while I can still try and understand their ways and my ever-evolving involvement with them. I find myself irrevocably drawn to them, and I fear that my closeness may endanger my ability to remain objective in my studies.
Here at Achenmead West, spring is starting to finally show itself in recognizable ways: the grass is showing brown and damp from beneath the heavy snow, small birds are flitting about and ravens are hovering above, the driveway is a nearly impassable run of foot-deep mud. Early spring in Vermont: two parts delight, one part slimy brown mud.
Before I get into that, though, I feel I should explain “Achenmead West”. It’s my dad’s name for the 10 acres we live on here in Mackville — an old village within the town of Hardwick. He takes the name from the mythical location of the Densmore family back in Scotland circa 1630 or so. The story goes that a Laird Dinsmoor lived in Achenmead and had two sons. The younger ran off to Northern Ireland and eventually had children who made it to New England. While the hunt for the factual Achenmead — Auchenmade is perhaps a candidate — continues, my dad felt that the legend was enough to lend name to the land here.
While I think that the naming of the land was partially a joke or at least tongue-in-cheek on my dad’s part, it still gives a great deal of credence to this house and the land around it. Here is where my dad grew up with his mother and father and grandfather; here is where I grew up with my mother and father; here is where my son and daughter are growing up with their mother, father, and grandfather. There’s a cycle of history within the last few generations around this place and to give it a name that hearkens back to pre-family times that cycle is strengthened and made clearer. This is my father’s land as it was his father’s land. I continue the cycle as its current steward — I’m in no hurry to own it, just in case any wights are reading this — and the name gives all of that a reason to tell the story.
A farm of your own is better, even if small,
everyone’s someone at home;
though he has two goats and a coarsely roofed house,
that is better than begging.
Cattle die, kinsmen die,
the self must also die;
I know one thing which never dies:
the reputation of each dead man.
The power of the place and of having a place of our own. Stories of family, of names of land, of histories of homes all lend to building the reputation of all of us. Here in Mackville in Hardwick is Achenmead West staking a humble claim to these 10 acres. What stories might be told about it and its residents in the future? What stories do we want told about it? Those future stories are our current lives. We make them as we live.
We’ve been back for about three weeks now, and the list of stuff to do just keeps getting longer. Here’s a sample in no particular order:
- Help Gabe organize his new bedroom
- Finalize the layout of the office
- Unpack all of our stuff
- Get in wood for the winter
- Finalize the process of revisiting old haunts
- Get a bigger propane tank
- Build the bee hive
- Finish the pasture road/path
- Build the sugar shack
- Finish the trail up to the sugar bush
- Layout the woods road
Of course, each task above involves minute sub-tasks which also could involve additional, laterally-related tasks. I figure I’d better get organized, though, because each thing I try to do seems to take longer. For example, it took me a week just to get downtown to pick up the boards for the hive.
In addition to the above, there is the constant challenge of maintaining a remote presence in Boston. I’m being given a phenomenal chance, and every day I work hard to make sure it’s worth it for everyone involved.
I wouldn’t trade this for anything, though. We’re all living together in good humor and I think it’s working out well. I like it here and sincerely hope this is the last time we move, because I’ve got plans to be settled for a long, long time.