- زمان مطالعه 11 دقیقه
- سطح سخت
دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»
این فصل را میتوانید به بهترین شکل و با امکانات عالی در اپلیکیشن «زیبوک» بخوانید
متن انگلیسی فصل
IN WHICH A Trade Comes My Way
“Midday, June 20
“I’m back. I stayed on the Spillkill three nights practicing with the sling and grieving for Frightful. I got one squirrel, which I brought home to eat. I missed forty times. Not good.” “Hall-oo, the tree! Hall-oo the house!”
It’s Bando. I blow out my deer-fat candle and run outside to meet this old friend who is trudging up the trail.
“Hall-ooooo,” I shout. I am always glad to see Bando. He’s a wonderful guy. During my first year on the mountain he would hike up the steep trail and spend holidays with me. He teaches English in a college near the Hudson River, and during the long school vacations he helped me with difficult chores, like making clay pots and blueberry jam. During those days I got to know and admire him. Furthermore, he understood that I wanted to live on my own in the wilderness to test my skills and to learn. He also understood that I didn’t want anyone to know where I was, because I would undoubtedly be shipped home. He never told anyone. And he was always encouraging, especially when I thought I could not make it through the blizzards of winter to spring.
Bando fell in love with this mountain that year and last spring he bought a cabin on the dirt road about two miles down the mountain from here. Three weeks later he married. His wife, Zella, is a lawyer. She’s a pretty lady and I like her. She’s not crazy about the cabin, however. It has no electricity or running water. The only heat comes from the fireplace. The log walls are chinked with bark and clay to keep out the cold, but they don’t do the job when the wind blows hard.
When they moved in, the floor was earthen. It’s one of the original cabins of the Westward Movement and, like the Iroquois Indians, the pioneers put furs down for floors, not boards. One day after Zella had swept the floor to make it look neat and clean, she picked up a stick and drew a rug of flowers, deer, and butterflies in the earth. Bando was so pleased that he told her he wasn’t going to make the oak-plank floor he was planning.
That afternoon he came up the mountain to tell me he didn’t understand Zella. “Her rug drawing was so wonderful,” he said, “that I didn’t want to cover it with a wooden floor. I thought I was complimenting her, but she turned on her heel and walked out the door. Did I miss a point?” “Yes,” I said. “She wants a floor.”
Smiling as I recall that day, I join him at the top of the last steep ascent.
“Sam, I’m glad you’re home.” At the water mill door he drops several small logs on top of others he apparently carried up earlier. “I came by this morning, but no one was here.” “Not even Alice?” I realize I haven’t seen her since I came home.
“Not even Alice.”
“Maybe she’s down at the library reading about waterfalls,” I say. “The last I heard from her she said she was ‘thinking waterfalls.’ ” Bando raises an eyebrow.
“Watch out, Sam. When Alice is thinking, things happen.”
I smile, but not wholeheartedly.
“Sam,” Bando says, pointing to the logs, “I need to saw these lengthwise—down the middle from tip to base.”
“What are you making?”
“You know those two chairs I put together when you were making your chaise longue?” I nod. He and I had a good time finding limbs that were twisted and bent by the wind, the sun, and the ice. And we had a good time fashioning them into arms and legs for chairs.
“Listen to this,” Bando says. “A man saw them in front of my cabin and offered me so much money for them, I couldn’t refuse. He said they were fine examples of Adirondack furniture.” “What’s Adirondack furniture?”
“Furniture made with the unpeeled branches and crooked forks of trees. The bark is kept on to give them that rustic look. We left it on for the same reason, but we didn’t know we were stylish. Adirondack furniture was very popular at the turn of the century when people were passionate nature lovers. And, suddenly, now it is popular again.” “A man bought them, you say? Paid money for our twisted armrests and crooked chair legs?”
“Yes, and he paid a lot. I thought I’d make some more.”
Bando has just showed me another solution to my problem. I can make Adirondack furniture and sell it. If I can’t get enough meat with my sling, I can, and may have to, earn money. I cringe at the thought of shopping, then remember Alice likes stores.
“Want to join me in this trade?” he asks.
“I’ll help you, Bando. It would be fun,” I say. “But I don’t want a business.”
I think of Frightful and pick up one of Bando’s sapling logs and concentrate on it to erase her from my mind.
“Open the sluice gate,” I tell him. “I’ll take the pins out of the wheel and get the saw lined up.”
“Good,” he says. “The sooner we get going the better. Zella wants an outdoor chair again so she can sit and look at the mountains. She’s somewhat miffed that I sold her chair out from under her, as she puts it.” He winks and both of his black eyebrows rise to meet his cap of white hair.
I carry a log inside the millhouse and place it against the saw, which is held in place vertically by a strong wooden frame that Bando and I made after he visited a waterwheel sawmill on the other side of the Hudson.
With a jerk of my wrist, I pull out the pins that keep the wheel from turning when not in use. It’s balanced so well that when Jessie Coon James climbed up on it one day, she was carried around twice before she let go and fell in the water. After that, I locked it with pins.
“Let her roll!” I shout and look out the window.
Bando is coming down the pond hill. He passes Frightful’s empty perch without noticing she’s gone. I am grateful. I still can’t bring myself to talk about her.
In minutes I hear the water gushing down the sluiceway, bubbling and chortling along until it spills out the end and strikes the paddles of the wheel just forward of its highest point.
It turns. I grin as I always do when I start up the mill. Water is so wonderful. It takes such a very little flow to build up enough weight to turn a big wheel and generate enormous power.
I put my elbows on the windowsill while Bando saws. Not seeing any sign of Alice, I begin to wonder seriously what she’s doing. Maybe she’s working on another one of her “great ideas.” I hope not. They can be humdingers. Last autumn when the waterwheel was still under construction, Alice came to my tree while I was trying to figure out where to dig an irrigation ditch to carry the water from the millpond to the squash and groundnuts in the rocky meadow. I was concentrating on one of the maps the correspondence school had sent her for a course in map reading and mapmaking. My mountain and all its elevations were on it, so I was studying the contours for the waterway when she stuck her head in the door.
“Sam,” she said. “Look at this.”
“Alice, please. I’m working.”
“But this is important. Really important. The correspondence school is offering a science course.”
I lost my concentration and irritably put down my pencil and stepped outside. “Alice, what do you want?”
“Sam, the first lesson is how to convert a water mill to electricity. Let’s make electricity when we finish the mill.”
“I don’t want electricity, Alice.”
“We could have electric heaters. I can’t write well with mittens on.”
“I don’t want electric heaters. I like the fire.”
“Sam, you’re just an old fogy. I’m going to take that course. I’ll make electricity if you won’t.”
“No, Alice, no. I will not have electricity on my mountain.”
“Sam,” her eyes crackled. “This is my mountain, too. The farm belongs to Mr. and Mrs. Charles Gribley, who happen to be my parents as well as yours.” She looked right into my eyes and clamped her jaws tightly. “You have no right to stop me from doing what I want to do in my own home!” “Maybe not,” I said. “But nevertheless, I don’t want electricity and all that it will bring—radios, TV, vacuum cleaners, hair dryers, washing machines—noise. I want to hear the birds.” In her disgust Alice pulled off her rabbit-lined hat so fast it created static electricity in her hair. The yellow wisps stood up on end like a circus clown’s, and I wondered how I ever thought she was cute.
“Sam?” Bando’s voice snaps me out of my daydream. He is staring at me. “Are you all right? You’re glassy-eyed.”
“I’m not all right, Bando,” I answer, the image of my regal bird flashing into my mind. “Frightful was confiscated by the conservation officer three days ago.” I almost break down but regain my composure and go on. “I should have told you when I first saw you, but I just couldn’t.” He sits down on a block of wood.
“Is that really true?”
“Yes, it is.”
“That’s dreadful.” Bando runs his fingers through his hair. “I’ve been afraid of this. Zella brought me a copy of the Endangered Species Act not long ago. I should have told you about it, but I thought the conservation officer understood your needs.” I am fighting back tears now. “It’s all right.” I bite my lower lip. After a while I am able to tell him about Leon Longbridge and how he is taking Frightful to the university to be bred. He listens.
“I think she’ll die without you, Sam.”
“Oh, no,” I say, trying to be convincing. “She’s a bird. She’ll eat and thrive.”
We saw Bando’s logs without any more words.
“What are you going to do, Sam?” he asks when we are done. “I mean how are you going to live?”
“I made a sling.” I take it from my pocket.
“Are you any good at it? That’s a tough martial art to master.”
“I’m not very good at it.”
Bando puts most of the slats in his packbasket and stacks the others in the corner of the millhouse, to collect later.
“If you ever want a job in my furniture factory . . .” he says, but stops in mid-sentence. He has no heart for facetiousness.
Shouldering his packbasket, he leaves the millhouse.
I climb to the millpond, close the gate, and watch the water slow down, trickle, and then stop. I finger the sling in my pocket.
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