Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Hummer and the Sickle

After battling the Big Tech Boys all summer long, it's time to reclaim my personal FarmGrrrl power. Time to shake the cobwebs out of my brain and work my muscles well. Now, there may be some big-shot tractor men in Maine who drink diesel fuel for breakfast, but they've got big fuel bills and probably some serious credit to pay back. I, on the other hand, have a scythe.

My scythe came from an outfit in Perry, Maine called, strangely enough, Scythe Supply. It's a custom-fit model with a Maine-grown, handmade ash snath, or handle. The blade comes from Austria, where they've been making scythes for over five hundred years. It is a sharp and shining example of low-tech sophistication--well-balanced, exquisitely well-designed, durable and easy to maintain or repair with a small amount of strength, skill, and patience. Mine was custom-fit using measurements like "cubit" and "height of hip in workboots."

I sallied forth into a weed- choked field, the field we'd hoped to have tilled and planted long before now. I surveyed the chest-high weeds, all golds and reds in the early morning light. I lowered the snath down from my shoulder and set the blade at the base of the weeds, close to the earth. I eased my weight from one foot to the other and started the slow, swinging dance of scything. Where they met the arc of my sharp blade, the woody stems began to fall, and fall, and fall. Almost before I knew it, lulled by the gentle, easy rhythm of the work, half an acre was cleared. Oh, it felt good--more than good. It felt WONDERFUL.

No comments: