Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), and several Kindle ebooks.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Bale by Bale


My husband and I have been moving hay this week. We’re moving it from the front field of Smith Farm to our house. Since each round bale weighs approximately 500 hundred pounds, this isn’t easy.

We’re moving the bales two at a time. We don’t have an available big flatbed truck to move more at a time. And we’re senior citizens. Moving hay is tiring on a hot day. But we have to do it if I want to feed my mares.


Together we roll the bale onto the little trailer. Doing so, I think of Sisyphus, condemned by the gods to an eternity of futile labor. Every morning, Sisyphus had to roll a large stone up a steep hill, but—when he reached the top in the evening—the stone rolled back down. The next day, he started again.

Fortunately, once we get the bale onto the trailer, it usually stays, and we do know the bales won’t last. Once in the pasture, each bale will feed my two mares for a week or more. Then we’ll put in another. And another the following week. Etc.

Moving the hay bale by bale reminds me of my favorite writing book, Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott. The full title is Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life.

Lamott advises writers to start small. The title comes from advice her father once gave her 10-year-old brother, who'd put off writing a report on birds and wondered how he could do the seemingly impossible job: "Just take it bird by bird." So, we're taking our difficult job bale by bale.

Everyday, when we see the number of bales accumulating at home, we can see the results of our small progress. Daily small progress leads to big progress, whether it's writing a book or moving hay.


Bird by bird or bale by bale, do what works for you.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Amy Hanek said...

Metaphor or not, I do not envy you! A 500 pound bale of hay is still heavy! Don't overdo it!

6:37 AM  
Blogger CountryDew said...

Nice life lesson. But that's a hard way to move hay.

11:31 AM  
Blogger Leslie Shelor said...

I love Bird by Bird, too! But I don't think I would love moving those hay bales!

12:44 PM  
Blogger Debi said...

Having horses is just like pushing a stone uphill only to see it roll back down again. You're right on about that!

At least you have hay!

That's one of my favorite books too.

6:32 AM  

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