Hay, ewe. What's your sin?


I grew up in a rural area of south western Wisconsin. My Dad was a carpenter, and we rented an extra farmhouse... Years ago when they farmed with horses, farms were smaller. With the advent of mechanized farming, some farmers lost their land, and now what used to be several farms is one, so they have extra houses they rent out to hired hands and other people. If you know someone, you can get a fair rent.

When I was a boy, my odd jobs consisted of lawn mowing, bailing hay, milking cows, feeding hogs, shoveling stalls, painting and construction cleanup. We always grew a large garden, had fresh milk and meat we grew or hunted ourselves. The environment one grows up in has a great effect on how a person thinks about and sees the world. We lived closer to the land than most of you have. Some people think I'm Amish... that's not really true, though I have probably been influenced some by some of their philosophy of life. I can't be Amish unless they say I am and I agree. I'm probably more Wiccan than Amish.

Years later, I was living on the streets in a large city. I had everything I needed on my back in an REI backpack. The air is fouled with automobile exhaust (car cucka) and after you breath it long enough, you can't smell it anymore, especially if it's all you've ever known. I think that song that goes on about "ooh, ooh, that smell; that smell that surrounds you" is about petrol fumes and car exhaust, not drugs as many people sort of like "think". I think that if I tried to point it out to them, they would think I'm nuts. They don't see it. It's out of the picture in their minds; elided by that process of mind which strives to eliminate cognitive dissonance. They're all like "what for my daddy-owe? There's petrol in the car-owe!"

At one house we lived at, there was a sheep pasture across the fence around the yard behind the house. There was too many sheep on too little land, and they grazed it down to nubble shorter than a golf-course green. The rain began creating runnels in the sheep ruts that turned into washouts high enough to hide a ward. I'm told that one of the ancient greek writers told a similar tale. Part of ancient greece washed off into the sea because of over-cutting of forest and overgrazing by sheep herders. It used to be verdant pasture and lush forest, but is now rocky and sparse, from what I gather. It makes me wonder how much of that has gone on in the long forgotten past. We mostly don't notice it now, since what we see now is all we've ever known; there are no before and after photos to speak of.