The field on which I have printed these supposedly poetic words is part of the farm that I and my two sisters have inherited. The land belonged first to my great grandfather, Friend Aldrich. His son, Raymond Aldrich, was my grandfather, the father of my mother. Now that my parents are both gone, one-third of this farm is now mine. But I don’t own the land. The land owns me.
I have endured with my roots in this land for more than 65 years. The old cottonwood tree on the corner has been there longer than that. You see the cottonwood in both of the pictures so far used in this post. They say that the total root system of this old tree is just as large and spread out as the part of it you see above ground.
Ironically, my roots are here where the ancestors who came before me planted them in the 1800s. Ironic because my life now blooms in the Dallas, Texas suburbs, almost 750 miles away from my roots. That is a deeper and larger root-connection than the cottonwood has.
I don’t farm the land myself. Another local farm-owner rents the land and farms it for us, increasing his yield and profits in order to keep his own farm producing food for the world. My own crop consists not of corn or soybeans, but rather words, memories, statements, stories, and meanings distilled from more than 65 years of brewing them from the things that formed me, the things that came from farm and family, and resulted in the poetry that is my life.
Yes, it is poetry written by a fool and a notable terrible poet. But it makes people laugh and sometimes cry and reaches out from the center of my soul to communicate the wisdom of a life that has been lived and is now almost done. How is that not poetry? A poem written by a fool.