Monday, November 03, 2014

Etiquette

Today I went to see if Bum wanted to walk with me and almost stepped on a mouse that he had killed on the side lawn. So I let him be and went on my own, my first solo afternoon walk. My teacher and his wife had to go to Seoul today so I had some much-needed time on my own. I am less than 50 cords away from 200, which I started making yesterday. I wanted a break before dusk to ensure I'd have time outside.
When I got back, I noticed the moon had started to rise. I got to do my yoga while looking at the moon!
A communal drying area (there are plastic platforms that are stacked to the side that come out during various harvests.
Apparently the Korean pine trees grow like this, more crooked and stout. There is an area of Japanese pine trees, tall and straight and spindly.
The gingko tree is nearly bare. This is just past the fruit trees and chicken coop on the steep hill down from the house. At the bottom of the hill was one of my least favorite smoke smells: burning garbage, from the neighbors directly below, a couple in their 70s with lots of land in various patches spread out along the mountains that they farm diligently. They are very kind and have taught my teacher and his wife a lot about how to do lots of things (like the acorn harvests and processing, and so on. Once, she sent up a wild mountain boar stew). Their dog always barks at me but is thankfully leashed.
This makes more sense from above! On my walk, I wondered if I'd see the widow at another house further on the path. I have no sense of distance, but if I walk to what they call 'tiger rock' (apparently it's very hard to climb) and back, it takes about an hour, maybe less. I'd say her house is less than halfway to the turnaround point. She lost her husband a couple years ago and lives by herself while still farming. I didn't see her at the house, but a little ways down the path I saw her weeding and said hello. She didn't realize who I was because I was alone (usually I'm with my teacher's wife), and wondered why I was walking so late in the day. On the way back, I saw her back near her house cleaning up the remnants of a broken cone and she invited me in for coffee.
[Yesterday's tomatoes! ALL gone except for the big one.] I couldn't say no, because we had already said no twice on our walks, and I didn't want to insult her. I kept my coat on because I had not dressed to be seen, and it was a lot of small talk but you learn a lot in these random moments with strangers. She said she thought I was just another person from the "eco school" going hiking, and asked about my teacher's fancy house, and what you could make out of hanji, while talking about being sick from working too hard trying to chop down trees by herself with no power tools and laying on the floor all day. Of course right when I was putting on my shoes to leave, she gave me the lecture about how I have to get married, especially given how OLD I am.
[Wildflowers my teacher's wife picked on the way home one day.] My teacher said that in the city, you can ignore your neighbors and not even know who lives next door, but in the mountains, you rely so much on each other that you have to help when summoned—which is why his wife went to help with the yearly kimchi pickling for the rest of the year. They asked me if Americans do anything to prepare for winter, and I said we live so far from reality in that way that we don't, aside from switching out clothes and bedding.
I was glad to come home to Bum. My teacher and his wife RUSHED home from Seoul to make it home before dark (as there are zero lights on the mountain path), so much so that his head hurts now and she got terrible motion sickness and purged along the way. They were amused by my stories—it's remarkable how much seems to happen even in the middle of nowhere. I had to stop mid-post to help unload groceries, eat dinner, and finish cording, all before 9pm. All 200+ are done, and I'll let them sit until tomorrow before unwinding half to start the next basket!

2 comments:

  1. ah, the straw becomes clearer! aimee, here, we've got this winter's and maybe (if we're very good) next winter's wood cut, split, stacked and dry(ing). snow tires on cars, storm windows on, snow removal equipment ready, furnace/stoves cleaned, fuel loaded. and sorels cleaned and skis waxed! or if you're a hunter, venison in the freezer. a farmer might have slaughtered pigs and/or cattle. Corn is in. HA!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. haha! i always forget that my life as an urban dwelling renter is not every american's life. :) and, so clear, the straw!

      Delete

thanks for visiting!