by John Weber
September 29, 2019
Hope this letter finds you. Okay poor joke. We have to laugh at the way things are these days. Or we . . . .
To start over, hope all is well with you. Things here in Minnesota seem okay. Yet when you look back six months things are changed, always downhill. The idiots at Channel 5 are still hyping like they did ten years ago. Remember how we use to make fun of it. Now, it is so sad.
Like their smiles and words could bring it all back.
Hear tell, the side roads into the city can hardly be driven by the trucks. There were a few days when it was hard to get flour. My garden is just about done but feel lucky to get what I did out of it. The rain was so poor late in the season. It is crazy the way things have changed. Wet, wet, wet in the Spring and that hard drying the rest of the season. Got enough with some luck to make through the
Closed off the upstairs. Moved the bed down into the living room with the help of Mr. Solsom next door. He’s younger than I am by a few years but working at that factory, smelling those fumes has made it hard on him. I am surprise we were able to get in down with it and us
in one piece.
With the upstairs closed off and the little wood heater, I should be real cozy this year. I hope there’s no interruption in the gas this winter like last winter. I can cook on the wood heater but can’t bake anything when that happens.
How’s the water down your way? They had us boiling ours in July. Some old manure tank up river collapsed for want of repairs. There was an unpleasant smell to it but boiling made it safe. What a bother. I wonder how many of those holding tanks there are that will give way. Can you remember when they use to have all those turkeys in big sheds, one on top of the other? Always reminded me of those big cities in Asia. Well, the plagues took care of those big cities. I count my blessings that it was so light up here.
What confusion. People didn’t know which way to go. If you have no oil do you go south to avoid the winter and freezing. Of course, the temperatures down there were unbearable in the summer. By the time they figure that out, they didn’t have the energy to move. Yes, literally and figuratively.
The oak is dead.
Bill loved that oak. I remember the day we planted it 50 years ago like it was yesterday.
“This oak will grow and be beautiful just like us,” he had said. You know how he was. He use to love rake the leaves this time of year. Said it was a sign of more to come.
Have you had any more of those terrible sand storms? For a few weeks this summer I thought the wind would never stop blowing. Had to cover the garden at night with whatever I could find to keep the moisture. Hard enough to water each plant by hand. I really miss the sprinkler. Just turn it on and leave it. These changes are so sad.
I hate that the oak is dead. I wish it could have waited until after me. Losing Bill was so tough. Forty seven years together. He just couldn’t weather that damn flu. I’m afraid one of those winds will take the tree down. Lost one of the branches during that blow this summer. Will have to use it for heat this winter. I know I should be thankful that the oak is still giving to me. But it just hurts.
How are your grandchildren? I know it is tough to lose Sammy and Tommy to the flu. I was so sorry for you. Are the other three doing okay? What a world we have given them. Could you have imagined all those years ago that this is how it would be? What dreams we had.
That little child down the block, well, I guess she isn’t so little anymore, is doing fine. It is strange about children. They just adapt, don’t they? Not as easy for us old birds.
In many ways I am glad that Bill and I never could have children. For so many years that was so sad for us. But now, well, it certainly isn’t getting any easier out there.
Did I tell you about the snakes? I know you are use to them but we never had anything like that up here. Only garter snakes and they are harmless. Well, the heat changed all that. They just slithered right up here following the temperature. Now I have to watch were I walk and be real careful in the garden.
I wish the oak could have moved like the snakes. Did I tell you it was dead?
About the Author: John Weber is a retired psychologist in the process of developing an off the grid small fruit and apple orchard along with a CSA. He’s lived off the grid for 30 years starting in 1973. For the last 20 of those years, he
made my electricity from the sun and wind. During the 70s, he manufactured a solar hot air panel and was active in state and federal alternative energy organizations. Presently, he lives on a lake in Northern MInnesota with a grid-tie solar electric system. The trauma of people not feeling in control of the changes that are happening brings him greater worries than the question of our physical resilience. Of all the defense mechanisms, (besides denial,) “displacement” -blaming another for our own
mistakes – concerns him the most.
You can learn more about Dr. Weber at his blog.