A view from above

Farm life and city dwelling

Sainte-Maure-de-Touraine, France | Photo by Zak Kaplan

Depending on that which is in your line of vision.

Idle. On farmland.

I was looking at landscape from above. Takeoff and landing. Wondering what life below were like. Farms spreading out endless, with occasional home near roadway. Roadways cutting the landscape, etched in squares, way out into the distance.

It’s like a map; the farther away from the surface the more you see. The closer to the house the more that one road is of importance.

I am in it now, treelined drive to French farmhouse. Old terrain. Green out for a mile. Houses of stone and clay. When I wake up in the morning I am not on a farm within the farmland, but on this farm, with these farmers, with today’s tasks at hand. No squares painted in fields, shades of slightly different green in pasture.

What we see are the things right in front of our eyes. It’s what we focus on and live by.

I was looking at it from above, the city yellowed by dotted lights, a maze of intricate lives. Arrivals and departures. I could pick out bridge and waterway, outlined by the movement of vehicles. Until we were turning wing and angled away. Until I could no longer tell where my home was.

When I was nine I spent a weekend at a friend’s farm in the Catskills. His dad had built a log cabin at the end of a farm road. I placed an allotment of that ideal away for later in life, innocence perhaps, dreams without knowing. It’s what childhood is like, constructing our subconscious versions of love and happiness. You felt it even as a child, in a hand-made log cabin, the distinct unevenness of chiseled tree fallen walls, quietly living with nature, and the simplicity of that place, even at that age.

And somehow even though I am reliving happiness that I had put away, I still have thoughts of being back in the city.

From within the city the farm is an idea, nature and happiness an idea, like a picture of a place.

From within the farm the city is an idea, city life and proximity to others an idea, like a memory of a place.

The sun has only just started to rise. Fog moves in and over the grassy fields. I wake up, and I’m in it. Right there with the things that need to be done that day. Focused on the animals to be fed.

And I notice something, how much our traits resemble the animals I’ve fed. When herds are forced into small pens they start to show aggression towards each other. This is also how humans seem to act when their lives are compacted by city dwelling. Silently, I spend time thinking about how animals live so much of their lives in silence, asking for nothing and surviving instead.

If what we are focused on is what we are consumed with, then where we spend our time on this Earth (and by proximity who) is how we shape our lives.

Depending on that which is in your line of vision.

Silently, I hold onto a version where I end up back in the city. I’m on small patches of earth, seen from above as part of a grand landscape.

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