Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale by Dan Albergotti

Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale by Dan Albergotti

Measure the walls. Count the ribs. Notch the long days.
Look up for blue sky through the spout. Make small fires
with the broken hulls of fishing boats. Practice smoke signals.
Call old friends, and listen for echoes of distant voices.
Organize your calendar. Dream of the beach. Look each way
for the dim glow of light. Work on your reports. Review
each of your life’s ten million choices. Endure moments
of self-loathing. Find the evidence of those before you.
Destroy it. Try to be very quiet, and listen for the sound
of gears and moving water. Listen for the sound of your heart.
Be thankful that you are here, swallowed with all hope,
where you can rest and wait. Be nostalgic. Think of all
the things you did and could have done. Remember
treading water in the center of the still night sea, your toes
pointing again and again down, down into the black depths.

September is here and with it arrive the harbingers of Fall. All my summer blooms have given up the ghost, and their drooping, wilted presence is all I have to remember their summer glory. It’s cool enough in the mornings and late evenings to reach for a layer of flannel before heading out for farm chores. Sunset arrives earlier and earlier, which is always disorienting – there is so much more to pack into daylight hours. The shearer messaged me this morning, reminding me that tomorrow is shearing day. And the last a hundred and fifty bales of hay are due to be brought in for winter’s putting up today.

Having been “in the belly of the beast” this past summer, I feel myself emerging back into the rhythm of my life here at the farm. July’s journey to care for my mother, while her caregiver took a much needed break, was much more difficult than I’d imagined. It is hard to be unfailingly kind, patient, and forgiving with someone who has never shown those characteristics in return. Old wounds, ones which I thought fully healed, gaped open once more, and new one appeared. All of which goes to prove, I suppose, that no healing is ever complete when the wound cuts deep into one’s soul.

But, now the season begins to shift, and with it so do my spirits. A box filled with daffodils, tulips, and irises is due to arrive this afternoon. And the barn will be filled with sweet smelling hay by sunset. The days ahead will be filled with all the good work I love in the garden and among my flock. I listen to the sound of my heart, swallowed with all hope, and thankful that I am here.

6 thoughts on “Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale by Dan Albergotti

  1. I well understand your sentiments when you say, “It is hard to be unfailingly kind, patient, and forgiving with someone who has never shown those characteristics in return. Old wounds, ones which I thought fully healed, gaped open once more, and new one appeared. All of which goes to prove, I suppose, that no healing is ever complete when the wound cuts deep into one’s soul.” Although my own mother passed away the same year as Princess Diana (1997), I am still dealing with the old wounds.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. On this day of all our days of memories, It’s lovely to read that you are listening to those important things, and finding joy here with the endings of summer, hay in the barn, “of gears and moving water”. I think of you often, Tara, wishing we were closer for a visit. I love seeing all the pictures of your flock, of Bowie, of your beautiful place.

    Liked by 1 person

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