Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Zen and the Art of Agriculture

August 13

Hanksville was just too small, it couldn't hold me.  I moved west on Highway 24, the air dry and dusty.  The Fremont River cut a muddy course below.  The hike was over pretty even terrain while the temperature kept the mercury boiling as usual.  There was little settlement to speak of in the midst of twisting canyons.
Once a band of men did inhabit these spaces.  Giles Town was planted in this remote corner of Utah by a band of outlaws whose chicanery often left them in need of refuge.  Butch Cassidy, the Sundance Kid, the McCarty family, Blue John, and many lesser known villains made a temporary home here when the posse was on their trail.  When their era came to an end Giles had outlived its usefulness.  An attempt to create a tourist attraction here failed.  Nothing is left but a few signs and relics decaying out in the desert.
Mannequin of Blue John and other debris from the Giles Town Experience

I neared Cainesville by early afternoon, wondering where I would lay my head tonight.  A sign to my left reading Mesa Farms jogged my memory.  Lynne had recommended the place and she hadn't been wrong yet.
Inside I met the owner Randy, who turned out to be part farmer and part religious philosopher.  In my opinion he is a success at both.  Mesa Farms is a favorite of Europeans, especially the French, who are presented with a rare opportunity to acquire the fresh cheese, bread, and vegetables that are mostly lacking in the United States.  A stellar write up in one of the French guide books and the nearness of several national parks keep him running in an otherwise isolated location.
Randy was raised on a farm in South Dakota, but his parents sold the land before he could take his shot at tilling it on his own.  Exile in Salt Lake City was the result, hard work at unskilled positions meant a long uphill climb before the dream of farm ownership could be realized.  Finally in 1994 Randy was able to purchase this property in Cainesville.
He may not be a holder of multiple degrees, but Randy is a wiser man than most doctors or lawyers I have met.  I won't begin to describe his belief system, except to say it is a combination of Buddhist, Christian, Mayan, and Ancient Egyptian theology.  The idea that we are all part of one great whole is paramount.  I find it difficult to wrap my head around this thesis, but I suppose there's a reason why Buddhist monks sit in rapt meditation for hours and days on end.  On the other hand, in a universe where some suggest we all come from the same chunk of matter, the idea is appealing.
We also discussed negative thought and emotion, how it can bring us down.  I considered my own plight and how something sort of niggling pain was always bothering me.  How can I conquer my obsession with these ailments and end the distraction they create?  I don't know the answer, but I feel it is found somewhere in the way my body acts towards the end of a long day.  At some point I reach a trance-like state and all of these minor worries are forgotten.
I've heard marathoners use the term "runner's high" and I think the concept is the same.  We become too tired to even think about pain.  The challenge is to find a way to access that state of mind at a whim.  Only then can we clear our mind enough to touch divinity.
Where I am along the path of enlightenment is anyone's guess, but meeting Randy provided me with plenty of mental ammunition to help me work towards that goal.  In addition, he gave me some excellent goat cheese and fresh bread - those couldn't hurt either.

15 miles/3134 total miles 

1 comment:

macpito said...

Another great post! Very moving.