Photo: Ben Sklar
Greetings Friends and Neighbors,
Greening Wind arrives in the night, thundering across the landscape, a great giant running over the high ridge and descending with incredible momentum toward the Valley floor, carrying warm, moist air from the South, the air spilling from the enormous satchel slung over one shoulder. I am shaken from sleep. The house firewood is newly stacked in a borrowed trailer in front of the house for the coming move, covered with old metal roofing for the coming rain. It was late by the time I got the wood finished and I didn’t get straps on the roofing. As I lay awake, listening, I imagine the sheets of metal blowing off the trailer and into the side of the house, breaking a window. I convince myself to climb from the bed, get dressed and walk out to the barn for the straps. The house is dark and warm. Womb-like. Deep sleep pulls me back. This happens again and again as South Wind howls through the long night, dreams of windblown calamity mixing with lucid moments of concern. Dawn comes. The roofing is in place, the house windows unbroken. I haven’t slept this much in weeks. Under the influence of South Wind. The day warms steadily to over fifty. Snow flees the fields and woods. Cows and Sheep put their heads down to graze, gleefully. Greening Wind at work. Gloves and hat come off for the first time in weeks, exposing Skin that remembers the touch of moving Air.
December Budget Request: As if by magic, enough of you voted yes to this uncertain work to cover the November Budget with $130 to spare. It’s amazing, really. Thank you! The remaining budget request of $2500 for December includes the costs of caring for the Sheep and Cows as well as some stipends and rents for the Farm Team. We are working long days preparing to move Adam’s house, readying the bakery to be offline for the winter, and planning for a second round of slaughtering and butchering. The short stories and essays contained in this newsletter are made possible by these stipends. Thank you very much for your consideration. If you are willing to make a financial gift, you can do so HERE. You can find the detailed budget at the bottom of this Letter.
Have you grown tired of my relentless descriptions of South and North Winds—Greening Wind and Winter’s Tooth? Or tired of their relentless whistling and howling? Perhaps you remain unconvinced that they are two of the most powerful deities in this corner of the Valley? What is the job description of a deity, anyway? Maybe this: At the end of a day spent wishing things were otherwise—more sunny, more money, more honey, or just plain old easier—remain certain conditions, or forces, against whom we push and pull. Under whose influence we do our wishing and our striving and our struggling. The ‘weather’ might be the one we acknowledge in passing conversation more than any other. Followed by politics, the economy, Covid—all also deities? But the word ‘weather’ is mighty abstract for the myriad moments of wind chill, humidity, rainfall, and cloud cover that create the specific skin-tone and texture of the local landscape and its inhabitants by determining who lives and who doesn’t. But nowadays we’ve got houses and cars and long underwear and gloves and vaccines to protect us from these influences, no? We’ve got insulation. And winter tires. But that insulation had to come from somewhere. Somewhere with specific Winds that maintain the fertile conditions for life—including the life of Old Rubber Tree. And beneath all of our layers of insulation, we still have soft, warm, bare skin. Skin that knows how to be kissed—by Cotton, by Wool, even by Wind. By a lover’s lips. Skin that knows how to be nipped, or pricked, or cut, or worse. Skin that knows how to scab and to heal—how to be in relationship with a world more dependably alive than amenable. More generative than gentle. It’s quite a bargain, isn’t it?
If you were intrigued by last week’s quote from David Abram’s 1996 book The Spell of the Sensuous, I will offer one more here that has inspired my affinity for the Winds. I can’t recommend this book enough for anyone completely stymied by the intractable nature of our compounding ecological and social dilemmas. His investigation of the relationship between the advent of written language and the loss of animistic awareness is downright stunning. It is helpful in a time with so little to hold onto. The second-to-last chapter is called The Forgetting and Remembering of the Air. Here’s a bit from the section called Remembering:
In the world of modernity the air has indeed become the most taken-for-granted of phenomena. Although we imbibe it continually, we commonly fail to notice that there is anything there….. As a child, growing up on the outskirts of New York City, I often gazed at great smokestacks billowing dark clouds into the sky. Yet I soon stopped wondering where all that sooty stuff went: since the adults who decided such things saw fit to dispose of wastes in this manner, it must, I concluded, be all right. Later, while learning to drive, I would watch with some alarm as the trucks roaring past me on the highway spewed black smoke from their gleaming exhaust pipes, but I quickly forgave them, remembering that my car, too, offered its hot fumes to the air. Everybody did it. As the vapor trails from the jets soaring overhead seemed to disperse, perfectly, into the limitless blue, so we assumed that these wastes, these multicolored smokes and chemical fumes, would all cancel themselves, somehow, in the invisible emptiness.
It was as though after the demise of the ancestral, pagan gods, Western civilization’s burn offerings had become ever more constant, more extravagant, more acrid—as though we were petitioning some unknown and slumbering power, trying to stir some vast dragon, striving to invoke some unknown or long-forgotten power that, awakening, might call us back into relation with something other than ourselves and our own designs.
Here is what you will find in this Letter:
- FINANCIAL GIFT REQUEST – Detailed November 2021 Budget
With Great Care,
Adam and the Brush Brook Community Farm Team
BUDGET UPDATE: Thank you for considering the November Budget
Many heartfelt thanks to all who have responded to these invitations by sending in Financial Gifts. If you would like to support our work, you can mail checks made out to Brush Brook Community Farm to PO Box 202, Huntington, VT, 05462, bring gifts to the Gift Stand, or donate through the website. We are 100% financially supported by these personal financial gifts.
|BBCF - December 2021 Budget|
|As of December 8|
|Gifts Received in December – Thank you!||$276.21|
|Overage from November||$131.22|
|Electric for Slaughter and Tractor||$120.00|
|Vehicles (gas, maintn., insur. etc)||$50.00|
|Predicted Human Expenses|
|Adam Wilson Rent||$200.00|
|Adam Wilson personal stipend||$448.08|
|Collin McCarthy Rent||$580.00|
|Collin McCarthy personal stipend||$100.00|
|Total Estimated Expenses||$2,748.08|
|Total Remaining for December||$2,340.65|
Support the Farm & Bakery
The operations of Brush Brook Community Farm & Bakery are maintained by neighborly working hands and financial gifts. Your generous monetary support propels the gift of food forward to those open to receiving it.