February, 1972 Archive

The Mill: A Winter Pastoral (20)

Tuesday, February 15th, 1972

Letter in a Lunch Bucket

Hello Steven

I feel your 3AM weariness now, as I pack your food for graveyard. And I feel flooded with love for you. You give so much, and the rewards seem so small most of the time. When I came home today and saw the work you’d done with the house, and the light in Jonah’s eyes, I knew you. It meant so much and the dinner was so beautiful.

I feel moved by your love for order, for all the things that make our home hearth-warm and snow-moon clear. I want to tell you I love you–you are so beautiful to me–I know how hard your struggle is.

But two things always–to know struggle brings strength–to know we have the power to change the outward terms of struggle–but struggle continues always. As does love. I LOVE YOU.

HEY–wake up! Take vitamin C.


The Mill: A Winter Pastoral (19)

Sunday, February 6th, 1972

The defeated happy man turned to go home
Wasted by the pain of grace.
Longing for a sign
Had weighed him down for years
A sealed pack on his back.
Now he was light.

4-12 shift

The Mill: A Winter Pastoral (18)

Saturday, February 5th, 1972

Finally able to talk to other people. I must face the possibility of splitting up–a prospect alternating between agony and relief. We are imprisoned by our circumstances and our marriage. The more we struggle, the tighter the grip. I must let go–of the Mill, the farm, her, my child, my parents–to keep hold of myself. And since these are the essence of me, I must let go of myself, give up, admit defeat and laugh.

The forbidden concept: divorce. What if it did happen? I would be free and full of pain and beauty and strength, instead of being trapped and full of pain and ugliness and weakness.

Yesterday I looked at the broken mirror in the locker door at work and saw myself blank, open, empty, free. When I came home at 12:30 she was up washing dishes. We got too drunk to get upstairs to bed. When the baby napped this morning she seduced me. The smell of billy goat on my hands mixed with the smell of armpits and the sound of an Indian flute, our energy young, dancing, touch without touching.