The Latest News from Our Neck of the Woods

Greetings, all.

It's been awhile since I've had a chance to sit down and either cartoon or write an update. So, since I have a rare chunk of uninterrupted time, thought I'd take a moment to drop you a line. 

It's been a cool, wet summer here in the land of maple syrup and Cabot cheese -- so wet, in fact, that on July 1st, flash flooding damaged several buildings and I was unable to get home from work that night (fortunately, a coworker took me in, sparing my aging body a night on a cold, hard floor.) The locals say that it was the worst flooding they'd seen since Hurricane Irene back in 2011. 

Here's a photo of what is normally a road, with the roof of a house peeking out through the trees behind it: 

The ground is so saturated with water that farmers are struggling to put up hay for their livestock. Equipment and lawnmowers are sinking uselessly into mud. Seedlings are rotting in the ground. 

However, it has been a great year for some crops. Blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries are going great guns, and apple trees are laden with so many green apples there's no way we're going to be able to keep up with them when they ripen in the fall. 

Our own greens never came up, but our runner beans and new strawberry plants are doing well, and we have wee basil seedlings peeking out of the soil.

Most of my time these days is gobbled up by a full-time night manager's job at a small, slightly grubby grocery store in nearby Rochester, population 1,000. 

The work itself is ... shall we say, uninspiring; basically, I'm a glorified cashier. However, when I took the job, my primary intent wasn't to be inspired, but to get to know the locals and let them get to know me. In this way, the job has been fulfilling my expectations beautifully, and, despite my expression in the photo, it's actually been a lot of fun.  

The most gratifying part of my job has been hearing peoples' stories: a single father raising four children and caring for an aging mother alone; a young woman who survived the foster home system who dreams of becoming a social worker so she can help others in her predicament; a Vietnam vet with a passion for fishing who doesn't want to eat his catch so he gives it away; a young man with epilepsy who, in spite of his seizures, loves mountain biking with his sweet 3-legged service dog

So many tragic-comic stories, so many lives parading colorfully past the simple microcosm of a grocery store checkout. 

Chögyam Trungpa once said, and I paraphrase, that one could have a very simple life composed of waking up, meditating, eating breakfast, going to work, coming home, meditating, eating supper, and going to bed. 

That's a pretty accurate description of my life right now. 

Can't complain.

Until next time...

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