But here is the holiday, and I get to have two days in a row free of the laborious noises! And, this being the particular holiday that it is—dedicated primarily to the movement of machines around tracks of various sorts—the kid next door who so frequently in recent weeks has taken advantage of the warming weather to do various noisy things in and to his yard, is off racing small two-wheeled vehicles in dirt and probably won't return (assuming he survives at all) until late tomorrow. Today I was able to sleep undisturbed, and that may be the case tomorrow as well.
Sadly, this is the best vacation I'm likely to get all year. I'm spending this part of it listening to those crickets, who spend their lives measuring warm nights with soft, regular chirps. Hearing them I think there was a time when I was as artless as they in keeping rhythms going. I wonder it that's true or just something I imagine? If it's true I wonder if I'll ever have that knack again?
Names of Horses
by Donald Hall
All winter your brute shoulders strained against collars, padding and steerhide over the ash hames, to haul sledges of cordwood for drying through spring and summer, for the Glenwood stove next winter, and for the simmering range. In April you pulled cartloads of manure to spread on the fields, dark manure of Holsteins, and knobs of your own clustered with oats, All summer you mowed the grass in meadow and hayfield, the mowing machine clacketing beside you, while the sun walked high in the morning; and after noon's heat, you pulled a clawed rake through the same acres, gathering stacks, and dragged the wagon from stack to stack, and the built hayrack back, uphill to the chaffy barn, three loads of hay a day from standing grass in the morning. Sundays you trotted the two miles to church with the light load of a leather quartertop buggy, and grazed in the sound of hymns. Generation on generation, your neck rubbed the windowsill of the stall, smoothing the wood as the sea smooths glass. When you were old and lame, when your shoulders hurt bending to graze, one October the man, who fed you and kept you, and harnessed you every morning, led you through corn stubble to sandy ground above Eagle Pond, and dug a hole beside you where you stood shuddering in your skin, and lay the shotgun's muzzle in the boneless hollow behind your ear, and fired the slug into your brain, and felled you into your grave, shoveling sand to cover you, setting goldenrod upright above you, where by next summer a dent in the ground made your monument. For a hundred and fifty years, in the Pasture of dead horses, roots of pine trees pushed through the pale curves of your ribs, yellow blossoms flourished above you in autumn, and in winter frost heaved your bones in the ground—old toilers, soil makers: O Roger, Mackerel, Riley, Ned, Nellie, Chester, Lady Ghost.