Every so often, I wonder how different life would be if my wife and I had chosen to stay on the farm nineteen years ago instead of packing up and moving to Oregon. Would my father still be alive? Would my mother still have Alzheimer’s Disease? Would we have managed to survive the increasingly hostile, corporate-ruled economy? Would my pollution-related headaches and lung complaints have become more and more severe, to the point that I lost my health altogether? What would our kids be doing? Would we have five instead of four? Would we have taught them at home as we did here in Oregon? Would they have drifted into work at odds with their natural talents and become aggressive and unhappy as a result? What would be my own outlook? Would I have felt as driven to find a way to get my writing done? If so, what would I have written? Certainly not what I have written here — that would not have been possible. And if I had drifted away from writing — something very difficult for me to imagine — what kind of person would I be now? Frustrated? Inconsiderate? Practical? Mean?

How easy it would be in this context to use the word fate. But let’s not. Let’s say that using fate as a reason is too convenient. Let’s say that that which is did not necessarily have to be, but that it came about because of prevailing circumstances. The air in the San Joaquin Valley was horribly polluted, not fit for young children to breathe, and so we decided to raise our children elsewhere. Then, once we arrived in Oregon, we simply did our best at raising them, and our best to adapt to a different, more urban way of life. And then, just for the fun of it, let’s say that my failure to adjust, or my refusal to adjust, led me steadily away from sensible involvements, until writing seemed the only logical thing to do. Or let’s say that I was never sensible — this would probably be closer to the truth. I was never sensible, and so it made sense to me to trade a decent home and livelihood for the unknown. Not only that, but I liked farming. It was a meaningful occupation, and something I was good at. And so the question arises that if the air in the valley had been reasonably clean, would I have found another reason to leave? Did I know at some dark, deep level that in order to pursue my true vocation, a drastic change was needed? Or was I just stupid, as I have demonstrated so many times since?

Also by William Michaelian

Winter Poems

ISBN: 978-0-9796599-0-4
52 pages. Paper.
Another Song I Know
ISBN: 978-0-9796599-1-1
80 pages. Paper.
Cosmopsis Books
San Francisco

Signed copies available

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