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Friday, May 31, 2013

The Labyrinth

A halt in the journey, here at The Poor Farm. In the last two days I helped bale over a hundred big rounds of "Cow stuffing" as Bob Hardy calls it. He told me "not bein prejudiced, but you do better at this raking than a lot of guys I've set in the tractor seat! Me and Jim came to two conclusions watching you out there. First, you've fallen in love with that little red tractor. Second, ain't nothin sexier than a woman rakin hay!" 
Bob gives out all day "life is great, if you just let it be" and "gettin old ain't fun, but the alternative ain't worth a shit" and a rehearsal of other little one liners that make me slap my knees and grin. :) He keeps the tractors runnin on red fuel that makes me think of koolaid, and himself runnin on beer and "stogies". Yvonne just laughs "he does all these other things to be organic and healthy and then he runs on beer!" I'm learning a good deal here already, and tomorrow we're going to Tennessee for a "gathering if old hippies". I'm lovin it!

I took this journey in the spirit of Kerouac, of Louis l'amour, of the depression day hobo... It's not just about walking for me, it's about getting my feet in all these places, about learning to do things I never knew about with people all over the country, about letting the journey take over. Here's what pisses me off: I talked to someone recently who was trying to box the walk. "So... I thought you were all stoked about walking the whole way and instead I hear you're taking all these rides and now you're stopping for a whole month?!" 
I didn't say a word back. I don't need to explain actions to people who didn't hear me in the first place. Because the ones who get it will know these things meet the driving goal of this trip - experience!

*The turn inward of a tractor tire...
How strange that a thing like baling hay would be an allegory for the turning inward of the soul!
At the center of the field, a huge tree. Slowly we turn round and mow the grass down til we reach its base. Slowly again we center in, stirring it up. 
Again, we come through and pile it. Last, we turn it to great mounds of field stuff, hay, drying grass. 
So in my soul, in my field of heart stands a great centerpiece, and gently I turn inward in the labyrinth, seeking the middle. Again and again, in new ways, coming to a center.
And at last from all that I harvest great heaps to send out, food for other souls, the gleanings of the inward field.*

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