Friday, January 27, 2012

Confessions 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... Confessions of a Latter-Day Luddite

Michael Hofferber
Rural Delivery
Out of the Past
Out There
Artwork: Rustic Tuscany by Liz Jardine

Friday, January 20, 2012

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: Solitude

Thursday, January 12, 2012

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
Artwork: Old Fashioned Truck

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Dark of Winter

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