Monday, June 28, 2010

Reversing the Psychological Lense

Meg and I attended the Unitarian service on Sunday.  The preacher spoke about the contemporary psychological model and how it shapes our culture. She spoke about how normally something happening in your childhood explains your adulthood. And how quickly we jump and blame our parents for any problems that we have as adults must be a direct result of some short coming we had in our childhood.
She asked us to reverse the paradigm.  Have adulthood explain childhood.
Interesting for me. I remember walking up to some barking dogs in my childhood and using sign language to say f#%k you. They were obviously too loud and need to be told to shut up. Or as a child while we were on vacation in Tortola, I chose to play with the donkey and the mule, rather than being at the beach. I was certain we needed one in our back yard when we got home. I think the convincing arguments were quite humorous but I cannot remember what they were. The first cows I saw were at Sunny Field farm on the way to Kinder garden. I also remember running out of gas.
I know that often times the animal population in our house growing up was comparable to the human population. ( blueberry the parakeet, two gerbils, a guinea pig, a dog and a cat.) Not to mention Newton the floppy eared rabbit that roamed freely in our house and the attempt to have rabbits live outside in a fenced in area.
     Getting bit in the face by a golden retriever wasn't enough to force any animal love out of me. Ducking Aunt judys fence to go pet Beth's horse, which resulted in a swift nip or knock in the face, did not result in a terror of horses but rather a drive to understand how it is that people work with horses and keep their faces intact.
One of the most distinct memories is bacon at Judy's house. I knew that bacon came from the pigs out back. And it was different. It smelled whole, round, complete and delicious. Explaining my current mantra that everything is better with bacon.
     I know I rode a horse at happy valley, and sang to it, and I can remember the smell of every barn I played in as a kid visiting Aunts and Uncles in Vermont.
     We attended many animal funerals as kids, and even went to our close family friends dogs funerals. The fish went down the toilet bowl, and I am not sure where the gerbils went.  Thats the way it is. And of course it is all normal for some one who is going to grow up, and get bit by the farm bug along the way, and then life a life dependent on cows, veggies, birds, and the occasional black bear the lives on the back forty. Happy be lated fathers day, and happy mothers day.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Wheels turning

My entire body was sore the other day. For one, it was raining so for after school programs I thought it would be a good idea to play the Pine Island favorite sport. Dustball. That deteriorated and a game of basketball was launched. I ran up and down that court without out a care in the world.
For two, my neighbors wife was headed into surgery and they needed a bunch of farm work done before they left. It was the schleping, and piling variety of work that requires your brain to shut off. Two hours of moving pallets, fence posts, picking things up, putting them down, digging garden beds. 
My entire body hurt! For three, I am not 23 years old any more.
Given that I had a free day on the farm I decided to make the most of it. Did I mention my entire body hurt.
I ended up seated at the potters wheel. I turned it on and the wheel started turning. Like a belt drive connect to my memory bank,  the fly wheel in my brain kicked on. The wheel was purchased when I was working at the Meeting School. I had used it in the unearthed pottery studio that I found there. Kick wheels under piles of stuff. More stuff. The staples that the wheel was shipped in where stout. I could picture the copper. It sat in the corner of that room. 9/11/2001 happened in that room over a small studio radio.
The wheel traveled to the upstairs of the Putney Summer programs pottery studio. There was a view out over the green grass court yard of the campus. I dangled my legs out there and sat for what seemed like hours watching life take shape. 5:45am farm chores started at the farm. I usually went. Attending breakfast in my sweet smelling barn clothes and rubber boots made me feel like I was part of the rat pack or in with the wise guys.
The wheel parked in my parents basement during my total immersion of cow farming and grazing. It sat patiently like old furniture with no new apartment to move into.
 I can picture the wheel sitting in the downstairs of Sylvia Jensens barn. How it got there I am not sure. It never occupied space at Spranos.
It was loaded and un loaded so many times in and out of the back of the various pick up trucks I have owned. Some times I loaded it by myself, sometimes I uttered the words, " you have the heavy end, its all there."
Weather pelted the wheel while exerting my soul to the breaking point at Covi's. Waiting patiently for me to return, as faithful as a dog.
I sat at the potters wheel with 25lbs of clay to throw. And I did. It is a hell of a wheel. Nothing turns like a Brent, much like nothing runs like  a Deere. Throwing pots is a skill once you master it, it never goes away. The voice of you teaches come back to you. The faces of your friends, that spent as much time with you in the studio as you yourself dedicated, pass in front of your imaginations movie screen. The breath comes, the touch softens, and the pots emerge. One after the next.