Ahhhh .. manure!!
With your kind indulgence, let me share a few lines I scribbled down a number of years ago. I was thinking about my childhood, and later my youth .. growing up in a small mountain valley in the north Cascades. For a precious few years our mother and we two boys lived a full “homestead” life with two horses, a sizeable herd of goats, many chickens, two pigs, and a small armada of ducks. Plus a dog and various cats. It was wonderful.
Winters there were filled with heavy snow and breath-clutching cold; we had a cavernous old barn with several stalls and mangers and a huge overhead hayloft. The lower floor sheltered the horses and goats, and it was my job to keep the manure shoveled up and pitched out a side window into a large pile on the ground below. Then I would lay down clean straw, and fill the mangers with fresh hay. During cold nights, I’d shutter the windows and doors up tight, and exhult in the rich smells and enveloping warmth of the animals and the humid barn evironment.
Days like that, you never forget.
Life is Poop
Campers scorn cow poop,
gardeners hate cat poop,
strollers despise dog poop.
Our spice of life was farm poop.
Stepdad John confessed:
brothers and sisters, children playing,
perched on a Wyoming farmstead chicken roost,
drawers around their ankles,
hovering above mother’s turkey chicks,
chanting in sing-song:
“Sittin’ on the chicken roost, poopin’ on the turkeys!”
My Methow Valley memories of snowdrift winters,
barn floor poop heaped high beneath a shuttered window,
the dark pile steaming in the sunshine,
hens scratching, peering, pecking.
Poop becomes soil; becomes rich in fields and gardens.
Life begats poop; poop begats life.