Tuesday, May 17, 2016


Sometimes you don't have
to say anything, in fact, the
less you say the better. Things
have a way of standing out
by themselves, and it becomes
more valued and more important
when the reader or the viewer
has to add things of their own,
to finish the picture, or to
complete the scene they've
created from 'suggestion'. It's
always an interesting thing, and
many the key to a fine piece of
writing is in just laying out enough
information to suggest, and
nothing much more. Any
number of things like that
stand out to me. Country things,
I guess. Like about apples, or
at least apple trees. A couple of
the farmers with apple orchards
on their land, they'd go around
every so often, maybe once or
twice a season, or off-season
actually, and just begin swatting
and beating the tree-trunks with
chains. Yeah. You read that right.
Flogging the apple tree. I was at
first totally confused by that. What
I saw, of course, what was 'suggested'
was a farmer beating his apple trees
with a length of chain. Sure was
enough mystery there. I did finally
have to ask, like, 'Hey, ah, Hiram,
what's up with the chain and the
beating?' He'd laugh a good chuckle
and then tell me how it increases the
apple production of the tree; larger
yield, more apples. 'What?' I said.
'Well sure,' Hiram answered, 'you
put the tree under stress, you see.
The tree thinks it's dying, or gonna'
die, so it says to itself, 'Uh oh, I'm
dying  -  I'd better sure put out a lot
of apples this time to insure
propagation and future growth
of others.' I nodded. 'You see,
we're fooling the tree. That's all
everything is, all this agriculture
stuff. We fool the cow, all year
round, into thinking it's got to
produce milk to feed a calf. That
only happens once or twice a year,
but we formulate, by constantly
provoking the udders by milking,
that there's a constant need for
production of milk. The cow-brain
goes into over-drive, making
milk daily, with never the natural
drying out period. Same with
chickens, we take their eggs
away, and they keep thinking
they have to produce more. All
fooled again. See what I mean?'
Well, I guess, yeah  -  a constant
need for something. A much
bigger picture from just the
idea of a drawing within.
Turns out, as well, that apples
are in the rose family. Meaning
they can be hybridized; which
accounts for all those new
apple strains, like 'Fuji' and
'Gaia', apples you'd never heard
of before. The old strains just
get exhausted, all burnt out, and
new strains, and names, are then
hybridized until the older strains
can once again be replenished.
So much to learn, no. You go
around thinking farmers are all
so dumb and stupid  - yeah, even
I did that  -  but it turns out they
have a ton of things to be always
learning and to stay up on. Just
to survive from a 'business'
perspective. All too much
for me to imagine.
Another farmer guy, a regular
rough-and-ready type as well,
used to tell me, 'if any shit can
happen, it will.' It was his way
of saying that  -  in most any
situation  -  be prepared for the
worst, don't be complacent. If
that enormous pile of hay bales
you've piled up can collapse
suddenly as fall on you, it will, or 
catch fire (hay in stacks sometimes
spontaneously erupts) - heat builds
up, pockets of hot air heat more
and more, and then a wisp of
flowing air will fan it into the
slightest of a flame. Many a
barn went down in that manner.
Air flow, and protection from,
was important. It somehow had
to be all just right. That was
another wise-man task for a
farmer; knowing the hows
and whys of all this stacking
and storing of simple hay, which
has a process of decay and heat
always working within it. For a
farmer, time never stops; each
little moment adds something
to a slow and long, yet combustible
and always altering itself, mix.
So, as you can see, it was as if I
was here from a foreign land, but
learning very quickly as I went
along. My mind's particles might
still have been on Lexington Ave.,
or Tompkins Square, but the
necessities of my daily living
were right here, and demanding
attention. No real chance to
screw up in the eyes of these
folk. It was funny though;
there was really no one I
could talk to about anything
'real' to me; it was a dictatorship
of their ways and their concerns
alone  - age old and Americana
as they might have been, they
really offered me very little.
Had I even suggested a discussion
about 'randomness' or about a basis
for 'Reality', or anything of the
philosophy of living, or anything
like that, I'd have drawn a blank.
There just wasn't that much of any
self-awareness or discussion of self.
Life was an active, flowing process,
forget reflecting about it.
One year, tax time came again. I had
 some 12 acres, with a lot of buildings
and square footage and things, but my
entire tax bill was some incredible 1970
total of like $340. This particular year,
I took a look around and said, 'why not,
let me try.'  On my property there were
a number of abandoned, large pieces of
old equipment. The largest among then
was a maybe 100-high crane, with a cab
and a boom with a huge hook on the end.
It all just sat there, with a large FWD
Detroit truck, a Dodge Power Wagon,
and some other big iron. We didn't
care; it was fun. The crane's hook,
we used as a swing, the big-seat
being the huge curve of the hook,
and the massive cable going way
up being the swing part. Friends
used to visit and they'd all think
it was one big, cool, amusement
park.This junk was all left behind
by a guy in Elmira named Don Metz,
who had long before worked out
some deal with Denton Parmenter
or someone to leave it there. I
contacted him, Metz, went over
the situation, and said what was
it worth to me for him to continue
this one-sided deal; meaning I
wanted some dough out of it.
He agreed to pay my yearly taxes
if I'd let the stuff all just remain
there. Moving it all would have
been a huge task, and a big
expense too, so I sort of knew
I had him where it hurt. I said
sure  -  he was some crazy
industrialist kind of wheeler-dealer,
rolling in money. In addition, he
said he had a warehouse full of
used furniture and stuff in Elmira,
and we could come up, look around,
and pick whatever we wanted, for
free, provided we transported it out.
No sweat, I had a truck. It was a cool
deal. He sidelined as a used-furniture
and office equipment guy, so he had
all this stuff. We picked a few nice
things, packed them on, and went
away happy. Got money for the taxes,
a bunch of furniture too. Dom Metz,
cigar-chomping guy, looked a lot
like the guy you'd see on the
Monopoly Board  -  some little
stout guy, running with money.
'I remembered that 'if any shit
can happen, it will' adage,
and kind of realized,
with a smile, that
it just had!

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