Friday, September 23, 2016

Man's Search for Meaning

One of the books I'm reading is Viktor E. Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning.

The first part of it describes the lives of prisoners in Nazi concentration camps during the Second World War. Even mundane details are so upsetting that I can only read for about five minutes at a time before putting the book down and thinking about something else.

I've read a number of first-person accounts of the Holocaust, and of course they are always appalling.

A tidbit of Frankl's shared experience that will stick with me, perhaps for the rest of my own life, is that malnourishment/starvation meant prisoners were at all times so exhausted that mounting a six-inch step required hanging onto a handrail and hauling their bodies up.

Just the thought of it makes me not only sad and angry, but tired.

Yesterday I received a phone call from the field. It was Scott, who had asked if I'd drive a combine and was calling to say the swaths were heavy so it wasn't a good day for a lesson. I had packed a cold lunch for him and his brother Bruce, so I hopped into Little Green and drove it up to 15 (one of their quarter-sections of land).

After about an hour out there — and there is no better place on this earth to be than in a golden grainfield on a sunny day in the fall — I came home and slept for three hours straight.

I can't explain that, as I haven't lacked sleep lately and napping during the day is something I rarely, if ever, am able to do.

But it was the best segue I could come up with. (I know, it's pathetic.)

Sure, call me lazy. It's a grey morning after a nighttime rain and there will be no combining today. I think I hear weeping all around the countryside as farmers are chomping at the bit to get their crops off and the moisture is delaying progress.

Big White licks the mineral block in the pasture across the road from Golden Grain Farm. She is the lead cow in this particular small herd (they are not all in this picture). Just as in a herd of wild elephants consisting of calves and adult females, one mature cow sets the tone and leads the way. Scott and Bruce make sure there is at least one mature cow in every pasture where they are summering their cattle. She is less likely than a youngster to spook and cause a stampede when a butterfly surprises her. She's the brains and the experience.