Wednesday, December 19, 2012

On Baldness

I think I started going bald in High School. I didn't want to admit it then, and my hair had always been light and thin, but by the time I was a junior in college, I couldn't wear it over my ears anymore; an obliging female friend cropped it close. By last year, at age twenty-six, I was bic-ing my head as a reasonable solution, and wearing hats to keep my pate warm and un-sunburnt.

Now, it's not really so bad to be bald. One saves money on haircuts and hair products. Once the mild embarrassment always attendent on admitting the fact is overcome, then baldness is simply, well, a matter of fact. Many men wear it very well, with a sort of intellectual, statesman-like aura. It suggests a certain type of manliness, and unselfconsciousness when handled with aplomb rather than vague shame.

The irksome thing about being bald is the sheer monotony of it. There are essentially two ways of wearing baldness (discounting, of course, the tonsured pony-tail of the comic book connoisseur and geriatric Hell's Angel): the ring about the ears, or the full cue-ball. That's pretty much it. Sure, hats and glasses can dress up a look, but you're pretty much stuck with those two.  And that is why I most envy those full heads of hair.

You might remember the old pen drawings in barbershops, the ones which show the essential types of hair cuts? Well those are all off limits. And bald isn't a choice. So never will I get to suavely comb my hair into a sweeping Draper part, never will I have a chance at a real barber haircut, never will anyone run their fingers through my luxurious hair.

Oh well. At least I save money, and Patrick Stewart and Michael Jordan are with me.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Farm Sitting

This week I am farm sitting for a local CSA family as they deal with a family crisis.  Their newborn daughter (born at home) had to be rushed the hospital due to breathing problems, and then to Seattle where she remains hooked up to a huge machine. It is hard to even think about how difficult that must be for them, so of course I am eager to help any way I can.

It is heartening to see how people pitch in when its really needed.  The neighbors here in Eagle have been great, and all sorts of folks have been helping the Hasselblads deal with this. On the farm, I have been trying to keep the option of running the CSA this year available.

So far that has meant building greenhouse vents, coordinating compost delivery, planting 500+ tomatoes, and tending dogs and goats. I must admit I enjoy the oddly strict freedom of farming: there are so many things to do, but no one telling me what those things are.  I see the appeal. All the work I do feels rewarding, even as I know the pay off is months away, and still subject to failure. There is just something about working with soil, with living plants, and with animals that depend on me. It is responsibility at its most potent--no reprimands to deal with, only the steely and inflexible consequences of work performed well or poorly. These consequences ground everyday ethics in the world; it gives a whole new meaning to right living.  It is easy to imagine how damaging sloth and greed, lust and wrath could be to a society that was built on hand labor planting and bringing in crops. It is clear to see how beautiful and essential human love is. It is easy to imagine how tightly knit farming communities could be when adversity is always just around the corner, and good times depend on good neighbors.  In this way, as Wendell Berry points out, such community is like marriage. We agree to be in it for the long haul--thick and thin. We think it's worth it to love each other because we need each other. Not abstractly--really.

It is good to see this sort of community still exists. The steam of media which inundates our lives and tries so hard to define our reality, or the consumer economy which wants us to assuage isolation with purchases can't really provide space for this sort of community. Churches can, community groups and nonprofits can.  Farms can. We're all in this together--and even though it might be easy to forget in the fat times, it is important to never lose sight of that.

If you are interested in knowing more about Eowyn Hasselblad or EvenStar Farm, please click on the links.