Friday, November 18, 2011


My shoes are packed, I'm ready to go. From 90th and Broadway, where to run first? Maybe down to Wall Street, to see if any demonstrators remain after the cleanup. Maybe north to a cross-country 5K. Or over to Central Park. And then walking. When we visit cities we walk like crazy. It's in the genes, I suppose. My octogenarian mother visited Chicago a few years ago and walked five miles, ending up in a hospital.

Taxis, buses and subways have their place, but nothing beats feet on the ground, body controlling movement, stopping on a dime to check something out, eyes watching people, places and potholes.

It'll be a little bit different from this afternoon's chore of planting wheat in the dirt piled above the new water pipes in our field. We're hoping the wheat takes, despite being planted so late. It will hold the soil in place, as well as offer a treat for grazing goats and donkeys.

I broadcasted the wheat first with my right hand, then with my left. My right hand continued to shake as the left did its job. I had to concentrate to shut it off.

"Why didn't you use a spreader?" Virginia asks.

A spreader, right, like I'm going to rush out to buy a spreader for a rare occurrence. This reminds me, someone said not to buy a tractor unless we planned to use it at least 2,000 hours per year. We already have more than one vehicle per person in this household, ten pairs of shoes, twenty towels and six pairs of sheets. Maybe we should get rid of a hundred items by Christmas, or two hundred.

Side-tracked again. I was going to write about the importance of uselessness. Some people I know would say planting wheat by hand indicates I have time to waste, like moving mulch without a front-end loader, shelling peas, canning pickles. (I could be writing a book, an article, a newsletter.) Yes, it'd be a lot easier to hire people to do these things, as we do, in effect, when we pluck stuff off the Kroger shelf (or pay Ms. Handywipe to do the shopping).

That wouldn't feel right, too much distance between the soil and table. I like doing useless things, including running on cobblestones in a city I barely know.

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