From the deck on the back of my house, I can count the number of house lights I see. There are thirty-one of them, stretching for miles. I can count the cell phone towers, their lights blinking red. There are three of them. Two trains have rumbled by on the tracks of the Kansas City Southern, heading north, presumably empty grain or coal cars headed back to origin for a reload. There is one moon overhead, its half circle glowing with a faint ring through thin clouds. On my deck there are six chairs, one table, three bug candles, two speakers, and one glass of red wine.
From the deck of my house I cannot count the fireflies dancing over the green grass of my pastures. I can't count the number coyotes that howl with each passing train whistle, a contest of beast against machine to see who can be the noisest. There appear to be an infinite number of stars overhead, barely visible and seemingly flickering through thin clouds. I cannot tell you how many beautiful sunsets and sunrises I have witnessed while working on my farm. Nor can I count the number of majestic storms I've watched roll in from the west, the sky darkening prematurely on a spring day.
As I sit and observe the night, I am reminded that the reason I am here, the reason I chose to be here, are those things I cannot count. The unmeasurable. The things you cannot put a price on. In today's world, we are all about quantifying everything. A big salary, a huge bonus, the "largest bankruptcy in history." It seems we MUST put a value to all we do, all we see, just so we can comprehend it and no longer wonder of its enormity. For some reason, we have come to a ppoint in our history that this quantification gives us satisfaction, gives us closure. I like the uncertainty of some numbers in the world. How many frogs are there in the chorus I hear? How long until the storms I feel somewhere beyond the changing winds actually arrive? Don't answer, for me, these questions are rhetorical.
The spring has been exceptionally wet (check on line to quantify HOW wet, I don't care about the specifics). The extra moisture has been great for the grass on the farm, allowing ample grazing for my animals, but it has delayed our garden. The past couple of weekends dried off enough for us to plant our vegetables for the season. After working on the farm this past weekend, my skin is burned, my muscles are sore, and my eyes feel as if they've been in the wind too long. This feels really good. Almost as good as contemplating the uncertainty of all the things I cannot count from my deck on an early summer night.
I am here for the things I can't count.