The last windstorm took down a major branch of our big apple tree. It hasn’t been pruned in over a decade, so Mother Nature did the job herself. What’s handy is, the branch snapped only partially through, then draped gently to the ground, meaning the leaves remain green and the entire bough of fruit is in reach. You can just walk up and select an apple in the vertical.
This week I spoke with a man on an island who said the course of history is cyclical, each rotation activated when a confluence of events triggers a cosmic reset button. History does not repeat itself, the man said, nor does it simply rhyme; rather, it rhymes in reverse. I’ll have to chew on that a while before I can digest it. If his theory strikes you as hoo-hah, I should add he has made millions putting his money where his theory is, and while the term “reset button” was his own, I’m the one who stuck “cosmic” in there.
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I have gotten to where I’m at today thanks in part to my sense of cosmic poetics. This has filled my life with richness if not riches. As predilections go, a poetic bent has its pros and cons. Many are the times I wish I could just fix a carburetor, or hang a door straight, or make a million being crass on Instagram. Instead I settle for a sputtering weed-whacker, rhyming things on the page if not in reality, and — when the rhyming pays off —putting a little something into a middle-of-the-road mutual fund. Some of us are market-timers. Some of us are pluggers. Either way we’re gambling on the length of the cycle.
It’s been one of those workaday weeks. Paid the bills but didn’t get the checkbook balanced. Read the news, then decided not to read the news. Got some wood put up toward winter, but not enough for the whole winter. Hit some deadlines, begged off on some others. Doled out advice to my daughters then turned right around and sought advice from my friends. Said the right thing, said the wrong thing, eventually said what needed to be said. Showed up where I needed to show up when I needed to show up, but never with time to spare. Seven days straight just working at it, then broke a little bit to the good side of even. What you got there is a win if not a million.
My buddy Mills has a homemade meat smoker. He says he’ll come cut up that apple branch after the leaves drop. Do me some venison strips in trade. That’s a nice rhyme. Easier to find than the reverse rhyme, at the right time. Maybe the key to cutting through to clarity is kicking loose the soft hobble of poetics. But not today. Rather I’ll plug away, maybe take a break and ease over across the yard, grab an eye-level apple, that first sweet bite a reset button sufficient for the moment.
An original “Roughneck Grace” column exclusive to the Wisconsin State Journal. Audio versions may air on “Tent Show Radio”(tentshowradio.com). Read more from Michael Perry at www.sneezingcow.com.