A Scythe and Sunshine

Little something from the next book (due out August 21):

I use three whetstones to sharpen my scythe. Each is a slender oval that fits nicely to my palm. They vary in grit from coarse to fine. One was quarried in Austria. When I’m in the field I carry the whetstones on my belt in a repurposed plastic pop bottle half-filled with water. In addition to providing lubrication and keeping the grain of the stone from becoming clogged, the water makes a slurry of the stone and steel particles, thus enhancing the sharpening action. It’s calming to work in the old granary with the sunshine angling in and a cross-breeze pushing through. I spend a lot of time on the road, and sometimes it seems as if this country is either sadly slumping or hyperactively rising and no in-between. It’s a solid comfort, then, to stand here on this concrete floor with that date etched in the foundation behind me, watching other people run the distant interstate. Sometimes I think maybe the only thing I’ve learned in this life is to simply inhabit moments like these. To feel the sun, see the valley, hear the stone rasping on steel.

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