Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Gyre of The Vortex starts to Turn

I was taken to the Riverside Farm that morning, a crisp early October day in no way a harbinger to what turned out to be a lame, relatively snowless, winter. The young yoga teacher and the Quebecois drove me there, but I got there most other days by riding an orange mountain bike with a bank logo stuck on the top pipe of the frame. I was given a shovel, rake and loppers and directed to start chopping off the stalks of tree roots poking out of the ground and continue doing so until I reached the end of that particular trail, Noodles Revenge, over two and a half miles.

The trail was dug out by an excavator which has the consequence of leaving a pattern of sheared tree roots sticking straight from the ground like gigantic stubble. It got somewhat tedious at times but I found a certain satisfaction from clearing the trail and seeing my progress each day. I was ensconced within a bright yellow and orange canopy and when the breeze picked up, a light leaf snow ensued, and I began to feel that I would last more than a week.

The extreme farmers were lagging and it was Pedro’s job, as a finance intern, to manage them, to their extreme dismay. The Quebecois was pining for her extradited beau almost constantly. A retired couple ran the inn, also part of the farm, across the street. The husband was an older Italian bruiser who is so tough that he attempted The Death Race a year or two earlier. The only thing I knew about the wife is that whatever I did, people told me, she would note and report.

Things seemed to be unraveling and I entered into the midst of it. The Quebecois decided that she couldn’t function without the marine and retreated to Montreal. Pedro grew increasingly frustrated with the farmers who rebelled by going to the climbing gym at every opportunity. The turmoil made me value my trailside sanctuary even more. I shoveled, raked and lopped with impunity.

We were there under the minimum terms that our room and board was covered for the time we worked there. Anything more than that was negotiable, but we understood that with someone like Joe D the negotiations would be tough.

It didn’t take long for me to learn just how tough. That weekend I decided I would explore the full extent of the trail system I had been working on. I blithely hiked for miles following wherever my whim and glucose stores would take me. I got back that early afternoon to find that a manhunt was in progress at the farm, and I was the fugitive. Joe D, barefoot, rode a bike over to where I was and clarified that farm workers were expected to put in hours every day. Oh, I said with a sinking feeling. That’s the way it is around here, sighed the extreme farmers, and I wasn’t so sure about lasting out the week once again.

I think I got the glimmer of hope I needed from the Great Dessert Rebellion of October that arose a short time afterward which I’ll describe in my next entry….


  1. Matt, you crack me up! I can't wait to meet you in a couple weeks!!! :-)

  2. It'll be a blast, Carrie! Don't forget to pack your sense of adventure.