My husband Rich first turned me on to the writing of New York Times columnist Verlyn Klinkenborg. I think if I could suddenly write like someone else I’d wish to be him. These essays are short, but so lucid. If Basho were writing newspaper essays today, they’d be like Klinkenborg.
But what really captured our interest in this one is the idea of hesitating to call a day perfect. What do you think? What is your perfect day?
In any case, have a nice weekend! I’m off with Tres Chicas–we’ll be on the women’s show on KUNM on Saturday at noon and at Acequia Booksellers in Albuquerque at 3 pm on Sunday. Hope to see you!
Editorial | The Rural Life
One Fine Day
By VERLYN KLINKENBORG
Last week, there was a day I hesitate to call perfect only because I would hate it if the perfect day had already come and gone in my life. But when that perfect day comes at last it will probably resemble the one last week. The western breeze had cleaned the sun and purified the light, which fell moteless on the farm.
I recognized the day. It’s the one that’s inconceivable in mid-winter. It’s also the one in which mid-winter itself is inconceivable — an antipodal day. The entrances to the hives were yellow with pollen rubbed off as the bees came and went, jodphured with the stuff. It was a woodchuck day, too, with all of them out, heads high, looking like grass-otters. As I walked up from the barn, a pair of blond kit foxes — raised on my April chickens — spilled out of the culvert and scampered up the fence line.
Life seems raw and irrepressible on a day like that. Every niche is fully occupied. At dawn, I walk through one spider trap after another, trailing silk. Any object I move, I discover a colony of creatures behind or under or inside it. This is a farm of overlapping settlements and empires, and I plod through undoing the ant and earwig nations just by moving a five gallon bucket or a fence rail.
I take refuge in the chaos of life here. It is what we have — “we” meaning the kinship of all species. The strange part about being human is that “life” so easily comes to mean a quantity of time, an allotment of experience. We note that we are alive, without recognizing that we are, for a time, indomitable organisms sharing a planet with indomitable organisms of every other kind.
These are pure-sun, western-breeze thoughts, steam rising from compost. But on the day I mean, it seemed like a tossup. Either everything was sentient along with me, or we were all sharing a vital insentience. That was the kind of day it was.