In Art Rowanberry's Barn by Wendell Berry | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor
In Art Rowanberry's Barn
In Art Rowanberry's barn, when Art's death
had become quietly a fact among
the other facts, Andy Catlett found
a jacket made of the top half
of a pair of coveralls after
the legs wore out, for Art
never wasted anything.
Andy found a careful box made
of woodscraps with a strap
for a handle; it contained
a handful of small nails
wrapped in a piece of newspaper,
several large nails, several
rusty bolts with nuts and washers,
some old harness buckles
and rings, rusty but usable,
several small metal boxes, empty,
and three hickory nuts
hollowed out by mice.
And all of these things Andy
put back where they had been,
for time and the world and other people
to dispense with as they might,
but not by him to be disprized.
This long putting away
of things maybe useful was not all
of Art's care-taking; he cared
for creatures also, every day
leaving his tracks in dust, mud,
or snow as he went about
looking after his stock, or gave
strength to lighten a neighbor's work.
Andy found a bridle made
of several lengths of baling twine
knotted to a rusty bit,
an old set of chain harness,
four horseshoes of different sizes,
and three hammerstones picked up
from the opened furrow on days
now as perfectly forgotten
as the days when they were lost.
He found a good farrier's knife,
an awl, a key to a lock
that would no longer open.