Monday, April 21, 2008

Monday morning

Busy week this week. The people I have been working for have hired me to build a screened-in porch on a summer cabin. It's going to be a lot of work and I expect to be exhausted at the end of every day.

I got to be a little bit famous last week - an essay I wrote got published in both the Ellsworth American and the Mount Desert Islander. It runs along similar lines to my previous entry here regarding Christians and Christianity, but it was still nice to see it get such prominent placement in the local press. The folks at the Maine Speak Out Project training on Saturday were most impressed.

It seems that I am moderately adept at diplomatically answering very difficult and invasive questions (at least in the practice sessions) and I think I am going to participate in the MSOP speakers bureau. I think that is a way I can contribute.

Depression is a tricky thing. It is so easy to slip into depression when I am idle. I have a real need to be useful, to be engaged in some meaningful form of work. And meaningful work can take many forms. It does not mean I have to bathe lepers or run a hospice for the destitute - it merely means that I have to be engaged in something that challenges me in some way and that will leave me with a feeling of accomplishment when it is finished.

To be of use
by Marge Piercy

The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half submerged balls.

I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.

I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who stand in the line and haul in their places,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.

The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real.

This porch will go a long way toward that. It is a big project, and one I will do mostly alone. I have estimated 40 hours to complete it. That may have been ambitious on my part, but I don't know. Much of what I have to do is pretty elementary. It is only the screened-in part that offers a challenge of something new, and the built-in bench seats. The people seem pretty decent and I think they'll like what I come up with, particularly since they will see it when they return from a vacation in the south of France. Yeah, I think They'll like it just fine.

At some point I shall have to write about class and the separation between the haves and the have-nots. It is stark on this island where I live, but only obvious to those on one side of the divide. That is an entry for another day. Now I must go wreck things. What a great way to start a week!


Anonymous said...

Wow! what a start to the week thanks babe.

toklas23 said...

I love Marge Piercy, and that's one of her best. poems. ever. Remind me sometime to tell you about the day I met Marge. And how she read "For Strong Women" and said it was for me.

Loving the blog by the way.