Friday, February 12, 2021

#212. or, Second Hand Farmer

  Wanna know something? 

  Well, probably not but I'm gonna tell you anyway. 

  Remember in movies, in the climactic moment of suspense when the hero has to save the world from imminent destruction? The bomb timer counts down, then with no time left, the wire is cut and the camera pans to the timer and we see we were one second from the end of the world. 

  One second!

  One whole second. I scoff at your second. 

  I live in a world between seconds.

  Similar to a sniper. With focus so intense that the world disappears till there's only the bullet and the target. Between heartbeats, and the stoppage of time after the trigger is pulled and everything ceases to exist until the target is reached. 

  That's where I make my home. 

  Alongside the formula one drivers. With blinding speed and the life or death decisions made between the ticks of the second hand as he plots his course, reacts, moves 1500 pounds of car inches from his rival, between the flaps of a hummingbirds wings, around his opponent and on to victory. 

  Yes. I am comfortable there. With the snipers, the formula one drivers, and apparently Dominic Toretto. I know this place all too well. Because I thaw frozen cattle watering bowls when it's minus forty fricken degrees.

 Let me explain.

  On occasion, the place I live gets cold. The Polar Vortex they call it. Not to be confused with Polar Express which is a much happier thing, but I digress. Anyway, continued temperatures at minus 40 degrees. Which is a convenient but accurate temperature for this story because no Celsius/Fahrenheit conversion is required. Generally though, we are mostly prepared for this to happen. Specifically, in regards to cattle watering bowls, which are heated with an element like an oven and a heat tape running down the pipe that supplies the water underground from the well. Sometimes, that underground pipe will freeze requiring me to remove the valve and fittings from the top of the pipe where it connects to the watering bowl parts. Then, I pump water down the frozen pipe with a smaller pipe and a repurposed yard sprayer at the point where the ice begins, and until I am through the ice. Still with me? Cause the tricky part is next. Once you get through the ice, the water starts to come. And quickly! Before the water gets to the top of the pipe, I need to strip the smaller heating hose out of the now thawed and flowing under pressure waterline, grab the fitting and put it exactly into the waterline. It's a tight fit, so grabbing each part and forcing and twisting will be required, then put the hose clamp back on because sometimes the water will push the fittings back apart. All before the inevitable geyser like eruption. Of cold water. At minus 40 degrees. All while kneeling on ice and halfway upside down in a box half the size of a smartcar trunk.

  Sometimes I make it. When I don't, it's usually because my fingers have stopped working and I've been distracted by thoughts of white sandy beaches and flip flops.

  Ice is a funny thing. It's good for skating on. The combination of its pebbled surface and a forty pound granite rock combine in poetry like fashion. It holds my truck up so I can drive to a fishing spot, drill a hole through it and spend an afternoon wetting a line. More importantly, it's one of the staple ingredients when I make mojitos. It is less desirable when it has frozen my layered outerwear into a statue of a tired farmer that wishes he lived in a climate that didn't require one whole dresser drawer be dedicated to long johns.

  On the plus side, I'm getting pretty good at shimmying out of my frozen winter gear like a boa constrictor shedding it's skin. Particularly, when time is of the essence. Like when I'm doing the pee dance,

  ........and the time between the ticks of the second hand seem like an eternity.    


Monday, February 08, 2021

#211. or, The Axeman (a poem)(mostly)

  Greetings all!

  Yes, I am still here. More or less these days. I wish I was taken with the urge to write more but any ideas that I do have, more often than not, get pushed out of my brain by concerns of life instead of being jotted down in my little black book of fabulous ideas. 

  Little black book of fabulous ideas. That's somewhat grandiose. Leaflet might be more apt. 

  Anyways, encouragement comes in strange ways and recently, more than once I've been asked, what happened? So, dusty corners of my creativity get a little light shone on them, long quiet gears start to rotate and BAM! My brain spews forth a poem. 

  While I'm chopping wood, no less. 

  Attempting to chop wood. Ya. that's better.

  Behold! It is what it is. 

                                                   The Axeman

The wood chops better, when it's Thirty-Five below. 

It creaks and cracks then splits in two,
like I had my strength of old.

I swing my axe with mighty blows
like I still was Twenty-Five.
But they fizzle out with diminished force
cause I'm nearer to dead than to alive.

And I'll pay for this, in days to come,
with my shoulder, knees and back.
If I don't die first, putting on my socks, 
from an untimely heart attack.

Perhaps I'm crazy, still splitting wood,
in fact it really might be dumb.
But it's something I can contemplate
in front of the fire, sipping rum.

  Inspiration is a funny thing. Maybe it's always there but you just need a friend or two to remind you? 

  Also, I pay someone somewhere once a year to keep the name Ken-inatractor so I feel obliged to at least put something here occasionally so it doesn't get stolen and used to sell inferior knockoff aftermarket tractor parts out of a child labour warehouse in a communist Asian country. 

 Actually, now that I think about it, saving the children is somewhat superhero-y? a cerebral kinda way. I'm way too tired and sore for any of that leaping tall buildings shit.