My great grandfather used this mailbox. The same dull metal and red flag greeted him and his setters with letters from family in Cincinnati, New Jersey, Boston, wherever; his old hands reaching to shuffle the stiff envelopes. He walked up this snowy driveway too, lifted his head to see the Limington house, the West side, the side that faces the sunset and Libby Mountain, the long side, red barn to forsythia. I see him through time as he blinks at the sun, I blink at the sun.
The greenhouse is a biodome on Pluto; a solar punk hothouse wreathed in hard winter snow. Plants grow fluorescent green and mists rise up in languid heat, as long as Tony the oil guy keeps on schedule. There is a whole lot of energy in there. Ian on the guitar, Pete on the keys, me banging away on the drums, planting collards with Dylan, Spencer up on the purlins looking down at me, smiling like the Cheshire Cat, our two children eating dirt, making mud pies, Marina planting seeds with her mother, cats coming and going.
The biggest trees in the forest grow along property lines, explains my father in law Rich as he crunches through the snow. Good neighbors, hoping to stay good neighbors, have historically found the property line a little ambiguous so they steer clear of cutting trees too close to where it may or may not be. This results in towering pines, hemlocks, oaks, maples, and ash trees in grid lines, sometimes tracking rockwalls, streams, or fields. Rich points up to a pair of oaks that seem piled with clouds - “just look at those big bastards”.
An owl calls in the woods and one thousand coyotes heckle her from the orchard. High in her tree she shuffles through the newspaper and readjusts her bifocals and mutters to herself “how rude….” I pull a sled beneath the stars.
The new tractor looks like two of the old tractors stacked up on each other and painted green. When I was a boy my father had a green tractor, so this feels like a return to form. Through time the tractors meet each other and pass a torch, have a beer.
Down at the bottom of the woods there is the dinosaur skeleton of my father’s Ford truck. One day it just never made it back up the hill, that’s the way he tells it. Also a tree fell on it. Direct hit. Even when I was a kid it was old and doing the wood with him meant the special pleasure of crashing through the trees in old blue. It was so new to me then but already so old, time wrought in metal, already stuck at the bottom of the hill, already carrying that fallen tree, witness to my father’s thrilling spirit.
A Daikon pulls loose from the earth like a fat tooth. Bright white, a little purple; it is cold to the touch and precious. We stack it up with the others like pirates counting their gems. When it comes time to eat them I feel very lucky, like I am participating in something sacred, but I do not like the taste of daikon so I never eat much. This is something I will work on as I try to grow and become like a real person.
Happy New Year, thank you for being with us. We are all well, languishing in these strange and difficult Covid days, languishing in this non-time between Christmas and the New Year where the food is too rich and the desire to work seems to be lost in the snowy woods. Through time I see myself at this precipice of 36 new years, as a kid watching fireworks, as a college student losing my mind, and now as a farmer happy to flip the calendar and look forward, to look downhill to the coming spring, to be thankful for all that led to this.
-Stowell P Watters
The new share for the New Year looks something like this. Hope you enjoy it all.
Beets, Potatoes, Spinach, Carrots, Kale, Cooking Greens, Turnips, Bok Choi, Daikon, and Garlic.