There is this place up the road a ways, tucked back among the winding rural roads that you find all over this place if you drive even a mere five minutes out of the town proper. I found it quite by accident one day, and may not have even seen it had I not been looking for someplace else so very hard.
It’s a smallish farm seated in the midst of rolly fields; it boasts a nice brick house and a sweet little manicured lawn. There is a sizable garden off to the left of the house and behind that garden there are two silos, an oldish sort of tractor and a big, open red barn. Above the barn’s large doors there are carefully-cut and -hung letters that spell out ‘Someday Farm’.
The first time I saw this vista, I sat and stared across it for a good fifteen minutes, breath coming in slow, peaceful draws: Diaphragm out, beat, diaphragm collapse, beat, inhale carefully once more. It was that moment precisely before twilight on a summer’s eve where everything has a magical clarity, the heat of the day drawing slowly back and the no-see-ums dancing in the space between your eyes and what lies beyond.
Someday Farm, how simple and brilliant and amazing a thing to title such a pristine and wonderful little setup. Someday Farm. It just sounds so full and fetching. The promise of a pretty girl’s kiss. The roll of cash settled neatly in a breast pocket. Home-churned ice cream on a Sunday afternoon. A game of cards with your Very Bests on a Saturday night. Creek-swimming on a long and lazy day.
Every now and again, especially back in those days of Emotionally Tenuous Hanging-On, I’d take a beer or a peach NeHi out there and sit across the way from Someday Farm, staring or scribbling and almost always dreaming want-drenched things. It became one of my favorite places in This Most Hellishly Unholy Of All The Places I Mostly Despise.
My friend Geno drove in from Waseca, Minnesota one whirlwind day in the early fall, late nineties. I’d called him two days previous: “Okay, Geno, it’s time. I need you here. Will you come stay a while?” No sooner than I had pushed out the words he was packing his bags and filling out leave papers. Before I knew it, he was squeezing the life out of me with his machinist’s arms and digging a pit in the sand at the beach for a cookout. He’d been patient, waiting for that call he knew in his innermost being I would one day certainly make. Smart man, my dear friend Geno. He knew my insides when even I had no idea what had become of them.
We laughed and played and sat silently together for days upon days until one morning he woke, wandered into my room rubbing his bare belly, and said, “Today I’d like you to show me some Sacred Places.” I knew just what he meant. I took him up to the old Red Mill atop Short Creek, I took him to the broad plank covered bridge outside of Oneonta and to Someday Farm. Someday Farm was last, and before I could even open my mouth to share my feelings on the place with him, he covered me in his delight and wonder; the things he expressed were near-exactly what I felt and I could only stand there, stupid-grinning and pleased beyond any explanation whatsoever. Geno pulled out his camera and began shooting pictures of me, the farm, me and the farm there in the blazing and gorgeous sunset.
He left two days later, his grandaddy’s vintage map absent-mindedly abandoned on top of my chest of drawers. Poking a slight bit of fun, I’d remarked on the age and seeming unreliability of the thing when he’d first arrived. “The plainest roads, Jett, they don’t really ever change much.” Geno’d carried that map for so many years and I couldn’t help think that it was no accident that it had gotten left in my care at a time in my life when there seemed to be no recognizable landmarks to speak of.
He called me along the route, voice tinny in my answering machine, marking each locale of every ass-dragged stop along the way. When he finally got back home, he didn’t call me at work as planned, but instead left an extremely lengthy and emotionally loaded message on the tape of that same machine. When he got back into his truck for the long and silent drive home, he said, “…all I could think about, JettGirl, was what a lonely place my life is when you are not laughing into it, shaking the room with that thing you have, making me feel so fucking proud that I get the privilege of saying to the world, ‘I have a piece of that girl and it will be mine forever and no one can take it from me.’” I remember leaning my head into the wall when I heard that, the dark shapes of my kitchen growing even more fuzzy through the heat of freshly-pulled tears. I recall that moment because I had been without hope for about a year at that time, and hearing Geno say that thing to me, saying it in a manner that preserved it for posterity (or at least until the fucking tape wore slap out), slipped a little seed of hope back into the darkest recesses of me where it was nurtured by the little bit of faith that stubbornly clung to the underside of my ribs.
Some two weeks later he excitedly told me that he’d gotten around to developing his film and now a large print of Someday Farm, my shadow falling across one corner in the forefront of it, hung in his dining room where he could see it every evening. I geeked on the notion of my not being actually in the picture, but a hint of my presence –put forth in shadow and light– lingering there nonetheless.
“I like what the name of that farm represents,” Geno told me, “I can’t even explain to you what it means to me,” but I knew precisely what he was talking about. You see, I’m all-in for Somedays.
::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::
“Well, that was easy.”
As It Should Be
The day we drove off the beaten path
Was random and precise
One more One-More to ponder
Another Something waiting for exploration:
“I scouted ahead for you.
“Monday goes okay.”
Would that they were all Mondays….
When you say ‘I know’
‘I do feel the same’
When I say ‘I know’
‘I fully realize that’
Such a disparity of language
teh hearts have teh meanings of teh words
because teh hearts hold teh experiences
(feel free to emote unless
there is someone specific in the room)
The day we drove off the beaten path
Was random and precise
“Be careless,” I told you
And you were that.
I don’t have the numbers to count
Lo these many times
But –there to here– it makes sense