The day started all right, I suppose, although I really do think there must be a better way to start than by getting up. But that is no doubt one of those numerous signs that this is indeed a fallen universe, so I put a good face on it. Not too good a face, mind you, lest I be caught out in my own overcompensation and stand accused of being one of those scribes and/or Pharisees who apparently were given to fasting on street corners and looking weak but saintly, which got them lots of credit in the eyes of the passers-by who were no doubt themselves rushing to the nearest kosher fast-food outlet in downtown Jerusalem. Frankly, I’ve never seen that there was all that much to fasting on street corners. If you think about it carefully and run down the list of street corners you have known, I’ll bet that fasting is about all you can do on most of them, and if you stand about fasting on street corners these days, you are more than likely going to get run in for loitering, which is not exactly what the Pharisees were doing, as I understand it. But times change.
When I appeared in my famed impersonation of Merry Sunshine, the day had been going on for some little while and the birds had taken up where the frogs left off. The fact that there had been a bulldozer in here for most of yesterday, seemed much less of an Event. The bulldozer was still sitting in the yard, twenty feet or so down from the building which it had been in the process of moving when the five o’clock whistle had blown. Looking out the dining room window was a little like looking at a slide show when the last slide has jammed part way out of the projector. All you have to look at is a lot of light and the southerly portions of Aunt Minnie in the parking lot at the Banff Springs Hotel, only in this case it was the northwest portion of a building travelling downhill in a generally southeasterly direction.
Shortly after my cheerful appearance, the building was still where it had been, but the bulldozer had gone off in search of an unidentified “shaft,” which, being missing, was causing the poor machine to consume case lots of oil. Now we have had rain and it will be necessary to enter into negotiations of the most ‘scrutiating sort to entice the bulldozer back again before the mud – which was going to be a wider driveway – has all washed out and down the Saint John River; along with the more extensive pile of mud – which is where the building is supposed to go – has also washed out and filled up the pond that the ducks are so fond of; and the building – which already sits at an angle reminiscent of the last moments of the Titanic – goes down with all hands.)
Yes, mega-Spring-cleaning is upon us, coinciding nicely this year with the arrival of the black flies, who are particularly virulent, it seems, because last year they couldn’t hatch out owing to the lengthy affliction of inclement weather in May and June. I really don’t know what a fasting Pharisee looked like, but I can tell you, the black flies this year look hungry. What’s furthermore, zoning regulations and anti-loitering by-laws are of no effect when it comes to black flies. I’m wondering, though, where I can get a gross of Purple Martins.
The building which is wandering around our yard used to be a garage. After many years of being a garage and betraying no signs of wanderlust, it suddenly was plucked up from its foundations two years ago, and deposited in the yard by the Department of Transportation who felt it was too close to the newly paved road.
This building, though sturdy, is no Taj Mahal to look at, and matters were not improved by its being made, rather haphazardly, into a sheep shed. There it sat, glooming at us from across the yard, and once the sheep left, only the ducks and the paper wasps showed any interest in it. Now it will be a chicken house, when it finally comes to rest, and at least it will be out of sight. Meanwhile, it reminds me of one of those Pharisees, and I think maybe I should slack off somewhat on the morning Merry Sunshine routine.
Words & Images
We moved to our farm in Sussex, New Brunswick from Toronto in 1977, only moving away in 2014.