ON THE BOOKSHELF
ROUGHNECK GRACE (Farmer Yoga, Creeping Codgerism, Apple Golf, and other Brief Essays from on and Off the Back Forty) was written by Michael Perry.
Michael Perry is a New York Timex Bestselling Author. He lives in rural Wisconsin with his wife and daughters. He is a first responder with the local fire department. He can be found online at www.sneezingcow.com
ROUGHNECK GRACE is a collection of brief essays from his Sunday Wisconsin State Journal column, “Roughneck Grace.” He writes about everything in his life from his chickens to his book tours, from his neighbors to farmer yoga.
Here is what it’s like to be on book tour in a New York City elevator:
“Shortly after I stepped into the elevator in New York I was surrounded by supermodels. As we ascended to the fifteenth floor it occurred to me that I was probably the only person present who had begun the day by chipping frozen poultry manure out of the door jamb of a chicken coop.
Later I would learn I had arrived at the peak influx days leading up to Fashion Week (which somehow had not made it onto my calendar), but for the moment stood stock-still on that tiny elevator, a flat-footed toad among herons, immobilized not so much by fear of attack but from fear of dirtying up the air.
I had this troubling mental image of my fashion aura flaking off to drift through the citrus diffusions like low-class floaty dandruff, the models breaking into controlled spasms of career-derailing puffy-eyed sneezing fits triggered by airborne allergens redolent of Farm & Fleet (pants, T-shirt, flannel shirt), Fruit of the Loom (gray tube socks), and the late Ralph’s Boot & Shoe (clodhoppers).”
Michael Perry describes a session with Nature:
“Nature provides its comforts. But I value it most for reseeding my unease. For the way it knocks a wobble into my habits and certitudes. The click of one dead goldenrod stem against the other presages my own dry bones. I spend a handful of the short, dark frozen days—leading up, as they do, to the season of resolutions—staring at the world through a crisscross tangle of leafless aspen slashings or a stand of sumac stripped and shivering in nothing but dark-blooded stocking caps and find myself feeling fragile, a useful state in that it may lead me to step more carefully upon reentry.”
Throughout the book Perry’s writing (as well as his life) is filled with gratitude.
“Gratitude. Such a lovely word. Humble and warm. Humble, because it’s not a word you use if you think you did everything yourself. Humble, because no matter how hard you di work at whatever it is you’re grateful for, you know—and more importantly, acknowledge—there was some luck involved.”
Gratitude, even in grumpiness. Which is to say I am not talking all hosannas, hugs and puppies here, I am talking about perspective and preponderance and relativity and a sideways glance into the cosmic mirror, where behind me I spy millions of souls who would give all they own for just one of my disappointing Tuesdays. Gratitude as my moral duty.
Gratitude, no matter the season.”
Michael Perry is a farmer, philosopher, logger, EMT, family man and humorist. ROUGHNECK GRACE connected me to everyday life, seeing humor in many places. Throughout the book you will find much gratitude. It’s an entertaining book with funny as well as serious moments. You can’t find a better way to spend a snowbound day with humor and grace.