Now my grandfather was a sailor, he blew in off the water.
My father was a farmer and I, his only daughter.
Took up with a no good millworking man from Massachusetts
who dies from too much whiskey and leaves me these three faces to feed.
I was listening to James Taylor’s song “Millworker” last night. It’s a lovely snapshot of a woman’s plight in a factory job as she watches her life slip past. There are times at work when I sing it all night.
Millwork ain’t easy, millwork ain’t hard,
millwork it ain’t nothing but an awful boring job.
I’m waiting for a daydream to take me through the morning
and put me in my coffee break where I can have a sandwich and remember.
It’s not that work’s awful. It’s just the realization over the years that I’m not going to change the world; I’m not going to make a difference. I’m just cutting down some trees and filling in blank spots around ads. And I guess that’s OK. Because I can still run.
But even running has become a bit of a grind these days. Maybe because I keep getting slower. Maybe because I’ve lost touch with the mojojojo. I don’t know.
it’s me and my machine for the rest of the morning,
for the rest of the afternoon and the rest of my life.
But then yesterday made me think. My friend Gumbo posted this:
“No matter how old I get or how pregnant I am, there will always be joy in running through puddles.”
Now my mind begins to wander to the days back on the farm.
I can see my father smiling at me, swinging on his arm.
I can hear my granddad’s stories of the storms out on Lake Erie
where vessels and cargoes and fortunes and sailors’ lives were lost.
Maybe I just need to work more at making runs fun. I just don’t remember how. Maybe running at the farm? Is there a trail run around Lake Erie?
Yes, but it’s my life has been wasted, and I have been the fool
to let this manufacturer use my body for a tool.
I can ride home in the evening, staring at my hands,
swearing by my sorrow that a young girl ought to stand a better chance
It’s not that running’s awful. It’s just the realization over the years that I’m not going to change the running world; I’m not making a difference. I’m just using up some shoes and filling in blank spots around my life. And I guess that’s OK. Because I can still run. I guess that’s enough.
I really wish it would rain today. I need a puddle.
So may I work the mills just as long as I am able
and never meet the man whose name is on the label.
It be me and my machine for the rest of the morning
and the rest of the afternoon, gone for the rest of my life.