Monday, August 07, 2006

the golden touch

I'm not sure when it dawned on me that the Yorktown Motor Lodge -- the only available room within spitting distance of Gloucester, VA where Kathryn's burial took place -- referred to THE historic Yorktown -- of Schoolhouse Rock fame. (Sure the story's been recounted elsewhere -- but anywhere more impactful than Schoolhouse Rock? I think not.)

So we did the circuit -- a walk along the Riverfront, a trek through the battlegrounds, a short stint with revolutionary artillary under the command of a WWII vet. (A story in itself. I got video.)

And then coming back into DC (because I was brilliant enough to think flying into DC was a *good* idea. yikes.) we stopped by Mt Vernon -- mostly because Monticello was out of reach, and because neither one of us (me or my darlin' companion) had ever been.

George Washington has always struck me as an aloof guy -- I don't buy the cherry tree story, and there isn't a lot to go on outside of that and the wooden teeth. There's nothing more in his mythology to build a serious crush on, like there is for Jefferson and Lincoln. (You really don't want to get me started about those two brilliant hunks.) But tooling around his grounds lent a little more insight into the character of the father of our country.

It turns out that Wasington was a bit of a convservationist, which I didn't know, and insisted that when wood was required fallen trees should be harvested first -- because he felt the forests, by and large, had been over harvested. (In the 1700s already he had figured this out.)(Of course it was the slaves who did the harvesting, which introduces some distasteful issues. But this is meant to be a short post so we won't go there. For now.)

He also said something (or rather wrote something, to a friend of his) that was exactly what I needed to hear on what was yet another difficult series of days in which events outside my control were raining chaos and uncertainty all around me:

When I speak of a knowing farmer, I mean one who understands the best course of crops; how to plough, to sow, to mow, to hedge, to Ditch and above all, Midas like, one can convert everything he touches to manure.

There was evidence of that everywhere we looked at Mt Vernon -- even the "Necessary", or three seater outhouse, where human waste was collected in drawers that could be loaded into the compost pile along with all the other goodies from the stableyards.

I decided (because I had very little else to lean on just then) that I would take this message to heart, and consider that maybe the way to cultivate the scary things that visit us, uninvited, in the night (or via email, as the case may be) is to convert them to manure. Midas like.

Because shit makes things grow.

And the whole point of any of this is to grow, baby -- grow. (Because your turn to compost will come soon enough.)


Anali said...

suttonhoo - I just wanted to say that I'm sorry about the passing of your friend.

heather lorin said...

Words to live by my friend - I need to remember that myself. Glad you had a chance to experience some Virginia history while you were at it.

suttonhoo said...

thanks, friends.

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