Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Coffessions of a Latter-Day Luddite

by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 2003. All rights reserved.

In my good dreams the phone is not ringing. On my best days the starter goes unturned, the monitor is blank and nothing gets scanned. I walk or ride a bike whenever practical, pay cash mostly and disconnected the cable TV long ago. Pollsters and marketers lurk in the dark alleys of the media. If it has a magnetic strip, it can't be trusted.

Machines are maddening; technology is terrifying. And yet I work all day at computers and make a living through their connections to the Internet. They allow me to be rural but not rustic, connected but not hardwired.

I am what you might call a Latter-Day Luddite.

Continued at... Coffessions of a Latter-Day Luddite

Michael Hofferber
Rural Delivery
Rustic Tuscany by Liz Jardine
Against the Machine

Thursday, January 20, 2011

In The Quiet

by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 1998. All rights reserved.

Coming home after a trip to the city, I look forward to the warmth of my loved ones, the comfort of familiar faces, and the joys of country living: open space, good neighbors, unpaved land. But what I often crave most is the sound of this place, or rather the lack of sound. The silence. The quiet. The peace.

Here on the porch, I hear the drip of meltwater in the drainspout, the chirp of juncos at the bird feeder, the sound of a pickup truck on a far‑off section road, and the occasional bellowing of a cow or barking of a dog.

Days and nights in the city reverberate with alarms and whistles and recorded noises of all kinds, from disembodied voices to loud syncopated beats. The hum is nearly constant, like being at the seashore next to a continuously pounding surf. The waves roll in, one after another, day after day, until your body starts to expect them and your ears stop hearing them and you wouldn't be able to sleep nights if they were taken away.

Continued at... In The Quiet

Michael Hofferber
Rural Delivery
Artwork: "A Quiet Place" by Patricia Hobson

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Man in the Moon

by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 1999. All rights reserved.

The Man in the Moon looked out of the moon,
Looked out of the moon and said,
"'Tis time that, now I'm getting up,
All children are in bed."

Look at what's rising: Luna, Selene, man in the Moon.

Much of the universe, as we know it, is strange and distant, full of lifeless orbs and wild cataclysms and dark voids. We know little about the quasars and nebulae and supernovae of outer space. Through our telescopes we peer at stars and planets and galaxies, but how well do we really know them? We can only see what we can see.

The moon is different. It is closer to us than any other heavenly object, both physically and imaginatively. It has been part of our stories and dreams since the dawn of time. It's the stuff of nursery rhymes...

Continued at... Man in the Moon

Michael Hofferber
Rural Delivery
Full Moon Poster

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Born To Be Rural

by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 1992. All rights reserved.

"Next time," says the author Frank Waters, "by hook or by crook, make sure you're born with a mountain in the front yard."

And an acreage out back, I would add.

Waters was born to the Colorado country and wrote several classic books (Masked Gods, The Colorado, The Book of the Hopi) about that land and its people. I come from the plateaus of eastern Montana, where your eyes rest on backlit mountains after crossing miles of open range.

It makes a difference what you're born to, of course, whether its the black sod of Kansas prairies or the slick sidewalks of Fifth Avenue. Places put things in your head like those silly tunes that you hear once and can't shake. They get in your dreams and wake you in the morning. You find yourself humming them in the shower, at breakfast, on the job. Who can say why?

Continued at... Born To Be Rural

Michael Hofferber
Rural Delivery
Artwork: "Mother's Apple Pie" Is Country Living at It's Best by Patricia Hobson

Sunday, January 9, 2011

In Praise of Older Trucks

by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 1998. All rights reserved.

This was another one of those bone-chilling mornings.

The thermometer dropped below zero again and the windows were all frosted with ice around the edges where winter tries to ease its way inside. Only the woodpile and baseboard electric, it seems, are holding back an ice age.

Outside, the frigid air made my whiskers stand out straight. The snow underfoot was crunchy, like Rice Krispies, and the bucket seat of the Oldsmobile was stiff and unforgiving. I tried the ignition.

Is there any sound so unwelcome as the empty clatter of a starter on a dead battery? The dentist's drill, perhaps. Or a wailing infant at 2 a.m.

Continued at...
In Praise of Older Trucks

Michael Hofferber
Rural Delivery
Ford F-100 Truck Poster

Friday, January 7, 2011

Dark of Winter

by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 2006. All rights reserved.

In the dark days that follow the winter solstice, the last of December through the middle of January, I anxiously track the growth of daylight for reassurance that the tide has indeed turned and that winter will eventually give way to the brightening of early spring.

At this latitude of approximately 45 degrees, daylight grows ever so slowly at first, just a minute more each day until the middle of January, when it starts to grow by twos and then by threes at the month's end.

What I always find curious, and faintly disturbing, is that the day does not grow evenly. The sun sets a minute later each day for the week following the solstice, but it rises the same time day after day.

Continued at... Dark of Winter

Michael Hofferber
Rural Delivery
Artwork: Winter Awakening