gale/gust: a defiant and humble cry

8am sips of just-pressed sweet sweet sorghum juice 
swilled while gloved and earmuffed
ready to feed cane to the clacking mill
this rhythym
this making
this feeling connected to the fall harvest humming out everywhere around us
this coming together
this tradition of literal sweetness
this heartcore of sandhill farm

oh, and the sun
lsying its light
across everything

(and how good this work feels
in my spirit and limbs
and how tyler letting out a whoop! upon my arrival at the mill to feed cane through the pressers/rollers is so much history,
is kinship,
is all of these beautiful weird wild years
in these handbuilt gorgeous and mildewy spaces
and on the breaking and broken tractors and in the weedy/wonderful gardens/fields
and around the heat of fires glimmering in stoves
and all of these things stacked on top of each other and 
distilled into the sweetest sips of squeezed cane 

that whoop! is every joke we’ve ever made about dingleberries and furries and putting a ring on it and haunted hayless rides and greens on the side of a salad meal and lord knows what else
that whoop! is the heartbreak of knowing what it is to love a place while coming to understand that one can no longer live there
that whoop! is the yelp-yowl of a high school senior walking out on the last day after the last class
that whoop! is a word for all the other words we haven’t learned yet or don’t know how to say about leaving, about trying, about how becoming family is beautiful and about how family is perhaps the most difficult thing on the planet
that whoop! is a nod to all the celebratory twist cones ever consumed at the mennonite store down the road and that whoop! is also a word for how we, believe it or not, might be weird and nostalgic enough to feel sentimental even about the weekly sunday meetings which most of us typically drag our feet to
that whoop! is for the butcher block – one could do the math to estimate the number of meals lovingly or annoyedly or celebratorily chopped and set out there – but the real sense of it is countlessness – that butcher block that has stood there in one single place longer than any of us (sandhillians)  have lived in a single place in our lives – and that butcher block will remain as the sun seems to – a thing to orbit around – regardless of who does or doesn’t plant the sorghum or who stays and who goes or what thrives and what is given back to the land or who the land is given back to
that whoop! is a defiant and humble cry – for having believed enough to try and for still believing and for deciding/knowing that we will try again/another
it is a defiant and humble cry admitting that we are just putting one foot in front of the other, best we know how – not always graceful, but committed to the learning – the lifework, the lessons that come through unlikely teachers
that whoop! is a call up to the occasional Vs of geese, migrating overhead at an altitude too high to hear us, but still, we whoop! to all the wild wonder of here, of what got us here, and of what will take us – like a gale or a gust – away)