©Poems of R.F.Mueller- Other Times, Other Thoughts
TO OUR SONS, 1982
Boys, tell me now, that we're six years out whether you regret our Shanghai job, the job we pulled on you on that bright April day when, dory-fashion, our VW pulled out from that secure suburban port of your childhood, and you saw fading astern those lavish and gracefully curving streets with pastel colored arborvitae and rose-garnished houses set back among the sheltering trees of our early seeking, a departure with the timeless accompaniment of humming air conditioners and lawn mowers, one that nevertheless set our thoughts adrift with sadness, but brought us at last to this hilly farm that strangely seems to voyage through time, even as that far port now seems frozen in time.
I say frozen in time because of the possibility of instant recall in any sequence of all those comings and goings, children's book readings, wagon rides around the block, bicycle trips etc. that generated the patterns of your being.
By contrast this farm now seems to bear inexorably on a course toward the indefinite perils that all major voyages encounter.
Do you sometimes secretly (as well as openly) laugh at all those rules of navigation we tried on you, as when we showed you the brightest planets and stars aligned by a backyard pine, or in those suburban gardens acquainted you with what we saw as safe provender, containing only natural additives, intended to protect you against scurvy of the mind?
Now I know you happily adapted to this our vision of what life should be, these accents and echoes of our own childhoods that some would call faddish flight from reality. But I also know that your own navigation arts, for good or ill, are still partially grounded in the geometry of those suburban street curves, the sunsets and sunrisings of your weather eyes compared to the pastel hues of those early days, that you seem to hear messages in sounds that to me resemble stuck horns and yammering self starters, that I forgive and still respect you when in the course of this passage you sometimes disregard the faded directional arrows I found in my own youth so long ago.
It was April 16, 1976 (a Good Friday, but dubbed "bad Friday" by a little neighbor girl who was one of our son Gus' playmates!) when we left the suburbs of Lanham, Maryland for our new home on a 29 acre farm ( later doubled in size ) just SW of Staunton, Virginia, in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley. Through an act of atheistic providence, this land ( now, by a donated easement, a State natural area preserve ) turned out to combine a gift of seemingly maximum natural beauty with some of the greatest ecological diversity and harmony possible in western Virginia. Its interdependent habitats of forested hill and upland pasture, marsh and fen, rapidly flowing stream and rich flood plain, enabled us to satisfy all our homesteading fantasies and left us with little reason to seek pleasure elsewhere.