Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Commitment and Compromise

I don't have the faith or forbearance to live off the land,
Even though I thought that, to do so, would be grand.
The butternut squash we stored has withered away,
And the seed potatoes are sprouting a vine array.
The five pounds of onions that we managed to harvest
Mostly have returned to compost in our forest.
We do have jams and pickled beets from our last garden,
But, to survive in the mountains, we'd have to become hardened.

It takes many years of practice and putting up stores,
And trading with neighbors across the mountain and next door.
Survival comes from battles with nature, hard fought,
And being careful of whatever our labors have wrought.
There is much faith and hope in better times to come;
This is all that is necessary for the contentment of some.
But the long winters are not good for those who brood
Or those that have trouble with controlling their moods.

The washer is now washing while my man runs to town
To dispose of the trash that many bury in the ground.
We recycle everything, including our kitchen refuse;
To do otherwise, we think, would be a serious abuse.
There are many delights in living this way of life,
But the survivalist's world is not without strife.
Making do as a way of life is an almost forgotten virtue
That is proficiently practiced by only a few.

Those with many years and generations on the mountain top
Have grown to accept and be grateful for whatever they've got.
They know who to trust, and who will cheat them;
They're not subject to trusting anyone on a whim.
They know better than to include away folks in their plans
Because when times get hard, we return to our clans.
I know this is true, and yet my man and me
Still cherish the friendship that they've offered for free.

We miss the simpler life when we are away;
I sometimes wish I could commit to stay.
But decisions made before I was born
Still conspire to mold my life's form.
Young folks still yearn for our physical presence
And passing on lessons is an elder's life's essence.
I pray that we find a comfortable compromise
For which our family, our friends, and my soul cries.