Its 2:00 in the afternoon and the sun and the fog are battling over supremacy above our farm; at this point, my money’s on the fog. It’s not a wet, drippy, cold fog, just sort of up there between us and the sun sheltering us. I have a cup of hot chocolate, and the heater under my desk is on. Some might call it gloomy, but I think cozy’s a better description.
I like all the seasons; each has its own rhythm and tasks and purpose on the farm, but fall is the most relaxed. Probably the slang terms of ‘cool’ and ‘no sweat’ were created in fall or at least make you wish it was fall when it isn’t. The work right now is pruning which will last at least through January – so another 12 weeks or so. We’ll talk about that in another note.
My friend Paul and I matched endurance with some Sierra trails one last time last week. Since its November, we opted for lower elevation, but regardless, the experience of solitude is—remarkably—still quite available in this most populous state if you’re willing to hike for it. Vast stretches of pristine forest—and I’m sure desert—are out there waiting for some adventurous souls in decent shape.
I like it when the deer to people tracks on the trail are at a ratio of 4 to 1, but I’m not so keen on the increasing cougar tracks. Bears I’m okay with because so far they always take off when we meet but mountain lions might have a different agenda.
Have you ever had an electronic gizmo that just got really confused about what it was supposed to be doing? No matter what you did or typed you just got error messages?
We all know what the solution is: shut it down and let it reboot. If you don’t know anything about these things, you know that one from long experience: shut it down and restart, let it reboot and most of the time you’re problem goes away.
I think that’s what’s important about the concepts of back country, camp fires, backpacks, tents, and sleeping bags; fish and solitude; it gives us a chance to shut down and reboot mentally while testing us physically. These might not be as necessary if I worked harder physically in my day to day, but alas, as I rise to my own level of incompetence, I get more blisters on my brain and less on my hands.
In my experience, daily unplugged islands of peace in a sea of chaos are also vital to a life well lived. It’s a rare day in the last 40+ years I leave home with less than a half hour getting things in order. If it’s really busy, I might need 45 minutes to an hour. It’s an inverse counter-intuitive ratio, but you better not try to organize your public life until your private world is in order.
Abraham Lincoln famously said: “If I had 6 hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend 4 sharpening my axe.”
All of our lives are jam packed to the max. Our brains get discombobulated and confused about what we’re supposed to be doing, what and who are important and what isn’t? Make sure to shut down, unplug, and reboot regularly, and eat healthy!