In flights of parallelism, I read Annie Proulx’s Bird Cloud. It’s a memoir of place, as so much of Proulx’s writing is but in this case, it’s a memoir of Proulx’s purchase of 640 acres of wind-swept land in Wyoming and her effort at building a house on it.
Since we’ve bought a small amount of land and will be building a house on it soon, I thought I might learn a few things:
First, I’ve griped a bit about the high winds that have plagued us this spring on the farm. A typical day might see gusts of 20 or 30 miles per hour. For Proulx, that would be a still day.
Second, she’s dealing with snows that begin in August and don’t break until June. We will struggle more with heat than cold.
Third, we have some wildlife, but nothing compared with what she views outside her window daily. We have a couple of small ponds. She has the mighty North Platte bisecting her acreage. Live water allows for so much greater diversity.
I’ve been putting a lot of pressure on myself about what to do with this farm of ours. Grow food, yes. Raise animals? Chickens, certainly. A goat or two to milk? Maybe a family cow? But milking requires twice daily milkings for months. Can I commit to that? I love to travel. I don’t want to be tied to that work. But I found in the pages of Bird Cloud an alternative vision for what to do has emerged: just enjoy the nature. The curiosity bred from a specific place: learn it, study it, admire it.