Sunday, April 2, 2017

social hour in the barn

Google photo
Being a sunny day, my wife drove and we stopped off at the vocational school's barn where the doors are open and I could visit with the animals. A caretaker was mucking out the space where five of six Angus cows were penned and patient, replacing floor covering with sparkling fresh wood shavings. He had already done the same for the nearby goats. Judging by the slow movement and slow munching, everyone had recently been fed and their jaws moved rhythmically, with scant interest left over for my smoothing, patting hands. Only the sheep, and those the littlest ones, brayed like liberals at my approach. The horses paid me the courtesy of taking a the handsful of fresh hay I yanked from nearby bales and offered.

I talked idly with the caretaker about the benevolence of vocational schools, of kids coming face to face with something gut-level real and of how annoyed I can get when the gown aspect of my community can look down on the townies who learn about land and responsibility. He had brought up four kids, all of them townies, and they were all college grads and that with honors. He told me that the cattle would dress out at about 60% of their current weight ... big heads and asses accounted for the loss in slaughtering.

I tested my feeling about voke schools on him -- that those whose hands are more compelling than their need for sonnets, can find something they love and then, because loving something drags any (wo)man deeper and deeper into the object of that love and like as not sets them on a path that includes a college education. Up the street from me, for example, a once-boy who positively hated books and book-learning found himself deeply in love with glass-blowing ... the sheer-ass artistry and beauty and creativeness of it all. Loved it.

But -- heads-up to the college-devoted -- there came a point where he wanted to commit his life to what he loved and in order to blow glass, in order to love fully and well, he was forced by the nature of the beast to go to college and learn the chemistry and physics that are part of glass-blowing. He went, he learned what love demanded he learn, and today he blows glass. Smarmy love is a step or two distant from knock-you-on-you-ass love.

I suppose those who go to college must in some proportion follow the same part in the opposite direction -- put up or shut up -- but their arrogance in the meantime can arouse the desire to punch someone in the nose.

Anyone can shovel shavings, it's true, but the notion that shaving-shoveling is somehow less (or more) that the wisdom and beauty of John Milton ... that's a speed bump worth getting over.

I suppose my out-loud theorizing was something the caretaker knew all about, but he also knew the patience of the Angus or the horse and he let this talking mule talk on. He said his piece when it was his turn and after a while I stopped nagging him with obvious shit.

1 comment:

  1. The problem with college educations is having to select a major that will shove you into a box that your personal economy will tape shut around you. I suppose an MBA leaves some options as to the business you go into, but neglects all potential for a hands on experience of life. A liberal education was once all that was offered, but it's now a waste of money for anyone going into debt to get it. I was an english major for a couple of years because it was easy and i liked books. But i accidentally fell out of school to become a hippie for which i've no regrets. But now that i'm old, there's lots of things i wish i'd studied, but too many to major in anything.