Wandering Mind…

The dogs are wondering what happened to my vividness, and so am I. Seems like this dumb cold is two steps forward and one step back — but that’s still progress. I also wonder at this point if it is a cold, with the inaccuracy of home Covid tests being the stuff of legend. And then I think, “Yeah, but all you can do in either case is wait it out.” Still it’s pretty amazing what our bodies do to get rid of something that doesn’t belong. This is war.

In my recent talk with the bot — ChatGPT — over writing a piece of dystopian fiction in which corporations and their machines take over the world and ultimately destroy human life, I wanted to talk to it about whether anything in nature — such as humans — could ever create something that was completely OUT of nature or if anything humans made would, in some way, always come to resemble natural forms and processes in the way complicated highway systems looking like — and operate like — an animal’s circulatory system.

It was up for the idea because it’s a bot, and it’s programmed to be up for the ideas humans bring to it. I suggested that even the machines of the future would ultimately evolve into something reminiscent of their human creators and that even the fact that the machines had killed all the humans was a very human behavior. The bot took this under advisement and didn’t throw out the idea because, well, it couldn’t.

That’s a story I’m unlikely to write. I have read and enjoyed science fiction since I was a kid, but it’s not my thing to produce. Putting the jig-saw puzzle of the future together in fiction doesn’t interest me as much as the jig-saw puzzle of the past. I guess the closest I will ever come to writing science fiction would be the Saga of Lamont and Dude which seems to have petered out after several hundred posts and Lamont dying and coming back as an albatross.

Speaking of the jig-saw puzzle of the past, this photo of my grandma came up today in my Facebook memories.

In this photo she seems to be filling a barrel from a well. The two draught horses will pull it back to the house so my grandma can (my mom told me) do her laundry.

Anyway, that’s how my mom explained it to me, but when I enlarge it, I am not sure. The photo is some 90 years old, and its events are already so distant to me that I, her granddaughter, have “no idea what’s going on.” You have wonder about the car — whose car is it? I know it wasn’t my grandparents’ car. Neither of them ever drove. What’s it doing there?

It looks like this was once a pretty nice farm — big, beautiful barn, not that old, nice tight, hen house. But there are fenceposts with no fences and boards lying around everywhere. Why? Some look to be impromtud walkways over seasonal mud, but that’s just a guess. There’s a wagon parked against the hen house. Even putting a story together around this one picture would be pretty difficult. I know where, though. The high plains of south-central Montana.

So, if my mom was right — and I suspect she was because she lived this — the fact that I won’t have a fully functional laundry room until week after next is no big hardship.

P.S. What I know about this photo for sure: The photo was taken during the depression. It was a drought and dustbowl in Montana but to a lesser extent than in Oklahoma and other places. I think high winds happened a lot, too (and still do). I suspect the farm was semi-abandoned, maybe taken back by the bank???? My grandfather was a tenant farmer, and he could’ve been working it (poorly) for whoever owned it. Their house on that place was half-log, half-sod. Awful. They were extremely poor.

22 thoughts on “Wandering Mind…

  1. Those old B&W photos often look barren and dreary because we use color to pick up on signs of life. You could have told me it was Death Valley and I would have believed it.

    Those horses are magnificent! I would fall in love with them instantly.

    Check your COVID tests freshness dates. We had some that expired. If you have some that are close to expiring, might as well go ahead and use them because you’re about to lose them.

    COVID can be treated for a quicker/better outcomes. There is a drug, Paxlovid, to give people with COVID who are at high risk. Remdesivir is given to people with more severe symptoms.

    But… my bet is a cold. Sometimes I can look back and pinpoint exactly where I caught it. My socializing is pretty minimal these days.

    • The tests I took had an expiration date of July this year, but I’m with you. My bet’s on a cold. Those horses were my family’s livelihood. My grandma drove the rural school bus and those horses pulled it. I have a photo of that, too. I only know the name of one of them — Fred. 🙂

  2. Martha I’m sorry to hear that you haven’t kicked that cold to the curb yet. Fingers crossed that I escaped contagion during my colonoscopy – I have a runny nose but that might be because they gave me supplemental oxygen and dried out my nasal passages… I’m curious about the picture too. Could this have been taken just after a severe thunderstorm with high winds?? A woman’s work was never done back when what I think of as simple chores were very involved! My grandmother did her “delicates” by hand and would put them on a clothes rack over the vent. She said it helped put moisture in the air during the winter. Of course in the summer she’d hang them outside! Still more work than just pushing a button on a dryer…

    • The photo was taken during the depression — dustbowl in Montana but to a lesser extent than in Oklahoma and other places. It was a drought. I think high winds happened a lot, too (and still do). I suspect the farm was semi-abandoned, maybe taken back by the bank???? My grandfather was a tenant farmer and he could’ve been working it (poorly) for whoever owned it. Their house on that place was half-log, half-sod. Awful. They were extremely poor.

      Yeah, whenever someone refers to their times as “simpler times” I want to throttle them! 😀

  3. I love what you did here with “Vivid” but hate that your vividness has gone. I’m like you when you stated,…”doesn’t interest me as much as the jig-saw puzzle of the past.” I’m so fascinated with history. The first thing I noticed in your grandma’s pic was her and then the car. I wondered! And I see the wagon and such beautiful horses. Is your washer and dryer broke I’m assuming? I hate being out of the loop like I seem to be all the time. 🤨😜 I’m praying your vividness returns soon. It could be Covid. You never know anymore. Xoxo from me and upset-belly Finn. 💕🙏🏻

    • I took two non-expired Covid tests, both negative, so really who knows.

      Those horses were everything to my mom’s family.

      My dryer broker last week. I have bought a new machine — a washer and dryer unit, both in one, as is common in Europe and some motorhomes. It was supposed to be delivered yesterday, but because I’m so sick, I had it put off until week after next. I’m having guests next week and the only day they could deliver the machine was while my friends are supposed to be here. It’s OK. I’m lucky that (for now?) the washer still works. I’m kind of past caring 🤣

      • Beautiful horses! And I know exactly the unit you described. I almost bought one once during my RV living. I’m glad your friends will be there when it arrives! That might work out very helpful and yes, yay for washer! 😂 past caring? I giggle as I feel that about things too…illness does that. Lol

  4. My house has a cistern buried just outside the back wall. The downspouts used to drain into it. There was a pipe from the cistern to a hand pump mounted on the edge of the double laundry sinks in the basement, and a two-burner stove next to the sink so you could fill a pot and heat it right there. The stove was just an iron frame to hold the burners and the pot (about 2 feet off the floor). (And of course no safety devices. If you opened the valve, gas poured out. But it was in a handy spot so I could easily extend the line a bit to feed a gas dryer and a gas stove just above it in the kitchen.)

      • For years I was tempted to try to revive the system – pump out the cistern, patch any leaks, replace the underground drain from the roof, repair the hand pump. I wasn’t so sure about saving the gas burner, as unsafe as it was; but the notion of saving rainwater and having soft water for laundry seemed like a good idea. Then I thought I could use it for the garden. I eventually gave up that fantasy – too much other work to do that seemed more important. The cistern is still there if I ever change my mind…

  5. Glad your drying rack is working–they’re a bit awkward, but they do the job, particularly with our generally low humidity. And yes, the 2 forward one back (what in my doctoring days I called the healing cha cha) is pretty normal. I go with the 10-14 days on average for a cold, although usually by 7 or so the exhaustion and achy is mostly gone, then just leftover cough, and my personal favorite, that’s when I’d lose my voice. Hope you skip that and keep getting well. On a lot of the covid tests, the expiration dates have been extended from what was originally printed. You can go online to the manufacturer and find out if your lot is better than its dates suggest. Keep healing!

    • Thank you, Steph. All that’s bugging me now is PND which makes it hard to sleep, so I’m very tired. I’m glad to have the 10 to 14 day information. The covid tests I took have an exp date in July so I feel pretty good about this being a cold.

    • I listened to my mom’s stories until I couldn’t stand it any more. Years later, when I found these photos, I got it. I showed this one to a class at a community college and one girl said, “That’s poverty.” But, as I told my class, all 9 surviving kids graduated high school and three graduated college. They were all good people who did well in their lives. I remember sharing a big chair with my grandma and watching Sputnik launch. ❤️

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