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08/28/2004 Archived Entry: "Building a trail"

I'VE BEEN BUILDING A TRAIL BEHIND MY CABIN, which has cut down somewhat on my blogging time for the last nine days. The trail, though short, is very steep and full of challenges. Couple of swampy areas to cross. Treacherously slick clay soil on one of the steepest patches. Building the trail is a multi-year project that I'll probably write a couple of articles about, and there's usually no hurry in doing the work. But I'm pushing now to gravel the most vulnerable sections before the fall rains and winter snows erode the newly scalped earth.

Hauling wheelbarrows of gravel down a slick slope -- and trying not to end up with an over-laden wheelbarrow hauling me! -- seems like a grim job. But my body feels surprisingly good afterward. I'm tired, but it's a far more honest and less stressful tiredness than what I feel after a day hunched over the computer or listening to a ringing telephone.

Sometimes I take a break from the donkey work and screw decking into a footbridge. My first footbridge crosses the widest swampy spot. The air down there is close and cool and fetid, but also rich and fecund. Already Nature is thinking fall although the calendar says summer. Wet leaves drop on my shoulders and on the planks of the bridge. But the ground, even days after a helper and I scooped and scalped it, is defying our efforts by pushing out even more green growy things.

The dogs, of course, "help" with the project. The rescue dobie rests her head on my shoulder as I apply the decking to the bridge. The golden retriever does her bit by fetching back every stick or branch I toss out of the pathway. The pit bull mix supervises with a stern eye. Then once he's decided I'm competent to do the job, he leaves to find a more comfortable sitting spot.

I sleep well after a few hours of trail building. Last night a fugitive came to me in my dreams. He was on the run from a tyrannical government. His country was out to crush him and his ilk at all costs. But when I tried to express empathy, he laughed gaily and said, "Never get lost in the darkness. Always seek the light."

In nice, rational daylight that remark sounds about as profound as a missionary pushing pamphlets at the door. But in the dream it seemed full of wisdom -- a reminder not to get dragged down by the daily barrage of terrible news and instead to keep the mind's eye on what could be if freedom prevails.

Then this morning on TCF I found a thread that had veered off into discussion about what freedom lovers might call themselves (what with so many terms, like libertarian or anarcho-capitalist being either awkward or easy to misinterpret). Spider_boris had suggested fireflies, after the wonderful TV series. Somehow, coming on top of the dream command to "seek the light," it seemed perfect. People who love freedom enough to live free (even against sometimes insurmountable odds) are few and small, but are very bright lights. And we're not easy to capture or pin down.

So fireflies it is, I think.

There are no fireflies down in my swamp. They don't come this far west. But freedom fireflies can brighten anywhere.

Now, back to the wheelbarrow for me.

Posted by Claire @ 12:55 PM CST

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