Land in the Sky: On Craft

Friday in the Catskill Mountains. Late afternoon, late May. Sitting on the back deck. The collie and I. On the other side of the mountain, a lineup of bands is tuning up for the annual Mountain Jam. Soon enough, Robert Plant will take the stage. Over here on the quiet side, I’m reading the words of a philosopher. And sipping some wine. The collie lies near my feet, chewing indolently on a bone. Occasionally, he glances up at a yellow butterfly flittering over the grass.

Once in a while the collie will jump up, stick his head between the deck rails, and commence barking—his way of shouting at the woodchuck who lives downslope in a pile of castaway fieldstones. “Get off my lawn!” He barks and he barks and he barks. I look up from my book, tell him to quiet down. He ignores me. I return to my book and read these words by the philosopher: “When I ‘have done with the world’ I shall have created an amorphous (transparent) mass and the world in all its variety will be left on one side like an uninteresting lumberyard.”

That gets me thinking. Maybe tomorrow I’ll leave the philosopher (and collie) behind and head over to Vermont. I’ll do a little hiking. Or maybe I’ll stop and visit that house in Shaftsbury where Robert Frost once lived. I’ve never been there. Or maybe I’ll drop by his grave in Old Bennington. I always enjoy that. A good poet’s grave is almost as good as the poetry. Some philosopher said that. No doubt, as I’m driving along the backroads of Vermont I’ll pass a few brewpubs. These days it’s hard not to. That wouldn’t be so bad, would it, to sample some craft beer? I need to find my craft somewhere. And who knows, along the way there might even be an interesting lumberyard.

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