Donald Hall wrote a poem called “Ox Cart Man” about a man who each October counts and packs his dug up potatoes and his spring-sheared wool and walks for ten days into town where he sells his goods. (The poem received the Caldicott Medal as a picture book a few years ago.)
“When the cart is empty he sells the cart,” Hall writes,
When the cart is sold he sells the ox,
harness and yoke, and walks
home, his pockets heavy
with the year’s coin for salt and taxes,
and at home by fire’s light in November cold
stitches new harness
for next year’s ox in the barn,
and carves the yoke, and saws planks
building the cart again.
This season, I’m trying to harvest the year’s rewards and simplify. Still, I find it hard to sell the cart, to let go of old patterns and of comfortable modes of being, of being broken down into the earth and simplified, made simple, made into dirt.
But I’m trying.
Today a client broke free of old syntactical patterns. A new client saw her radiant self. My father-in-law and I cracked black walnuts on the screened porch, and I heard him moan with boyhood memories of black walnut ice cream. My daughter and I greeted the harvest moon as it inched its way up over the willow tree. And then there was story-telling on the front porch while we waited for Mama. And then dancing in the living room and a lulling call-and-response. And dinner. And a wave good night to the moon. And bedtime. And simplicity. Yes, simplicity in greeting these moments and then waving good night.
Good night, day of moments. Good night, each moment. I look forward to building the day again tomorrow.
What about you? Any luck on harvesting or simplifying? Share your day’s three highlights below and let us know where you’re writing from.
See you in the woods,
The Three Highlights Guy