And the beat goes on. I come from good country people.
And every day has something beautiful to look a in it. You just have to be willing to open your eyes and search. Today feels like bumping around and feeling through the pitch black.
The last few weeks of summer leading up to back to school always make me nostalgic. For “Birthday Shopping” with my Yia Yia to curling my docksiders laces up on themselves to make brown and yellow pig tail coils. For new school supplies, for the way the classroom smelled like dry erase fluid, popcorn, carpet freshener and the whiff of cow manure from outside. Conway was a wonderful place to be a child. We ran roughshod all over it with out friends and dogs and cloven hoofed animals. With our brown sack lunches. Our sprite cans, our slouch socks and sheep show khakis.
Did you know that this blog had that many readers in its heyday (2010). I sure didn’t. I’m on the road again, which always tickles my creative brain. I haven’t been writing here, or anywhere else. Its always the thing you want to be doing but kids and work and Netflix barge in. Next thing you know you are 35 and your blog is stagnant, your behind is spreading and you only write Facebook posts and emails and a few life insurance policy applications. We don’t even have to keep pens and scraps of paper on our dresser tops anymore with notes and phone numbers. People just text all that stuff and say “Its Angela, about the bike thing”. And the beat goes on.
Through the tidal currents of Social Media I found out that my hotel room for the night is in the city where the man who ran into counter protesters at the White Supremacist Rally in Charlottesville, VA earlier today is from. That means that yesterday or the day before he got his coffee and snacks, and gassed up his car and drove with intense focus and anticipation. Like we did on our way to Lake Michigan two weeks ago. And then, sometime today, in the midst of people like himself, he grew angry enough to plow into peaceful protesters. These turns of events and hardenings of hearts are hard to fathom. He could’ve seen some friends and grilled some hotdogs and had a few laughs (or at least beers). Instead he made a hate demonstration and its opposition into a violent and writhing scene of incredulous and bloody aftermath.
I can’t even bring myself to click on those links.
Our used car shuffle and tire blow out didn’t make national headlines. And so I sit with the semi reliable thrum of wifi, the first I’ve had in weeks. The world is not a fair place. It is only sometimes beautiful. But we are here, with our duffle bags, little dogs and fast foot sacks runny with sqeezed Heinz packets and cups of melted ice.
We are trying to do Americana in summer and road trips with the minivan. And we are succeeding a little bit. We may only be 3 hours from the shores of that giant lake, but we moved a bit and found clean sheets.
I can only be sure of one thing: My boys cannot end up in these torrid clickable headlines. They will have to find another way to make a mark. They can be simple homesteding people or great artists or teachers or builders or travelers. But they cannot be poisoned by this hate.
I haven’t figured it all out yet but I know it starts at home. One of my old bosses told me 15 years ago that there would be a civil war in my lifetime. I thought he was crazy. Now, I want to call him up and see what else he’s got.
Be good out there, you faithful 5 readers. Or at least really try. We need you.
Wislawa Szymborska takes on the whole universe in her poem “Metaphysics.” She mentions the rules of a foregone game that we are all participating in. Through the passage of time we are all subject to the same conditions. “It’s been and gone./ It’s been, so it’s gone.” The poem is taking on the large and difficult to define world of metaphysics. She is speaking in vague terms of the existence of “something” and how it recedes into past tense. The poem ends with humor “until it was gone,/ even the fact/ that today you had a side of fries.” This side of fries is the first specific reference in the poem. It is a small thing in terms of the whole cosmos, but it grounds the “something”. The something can be as small as a side of fries, but it is easy to place such an event in the past. Many of Szymborska’s poems do this, opening the universe up and then narrowing it down into a tiny detail. The fries stand in as an instance of order and simplicity in a universe that is difficult to conceptualize in its vastness.
Szymborska’s poem “Divorce” deals with the aftermath of the ending of a marriage. It is a personal narrative that is very different from “Metaphysics”. The poem deals mostly with the division of belongings as one person leaves the home. ‘For the walls bright squares where pictures once hung”. Still divorce is “For the kids the first ending of the world”. Eight out of the thirteen lines begin with the word “for.” The repetition lends rhythm to the poem. The last line in the poem contemplates when the two people joined in marriage became separate again. “Are they still linked with the conjunction ‘and’/ or does a period divide them.” She is listing objects that should not or cannot be equally divided, a VCR, a car, a set of encyclopedias. The tone of the poem is serious, although she touches does treat it with a bit of humor. Mentioning that the car “better if there were two” is funny, but doesn’t take the reader away from the subject of the poem which is a sad one.
In her collection, Here, Szymborska moves comfortably between discussing the entire universe to moving into the personal moments that make up a life.
No, I didn’t think of that, its the most popular bumper
sticker in Whately, Mass. Part cause Farm Bureau gives
them away, and part cause its true, yo!
It turns out that the pond is just the gift that keeps on giving. Owen and I went out last night and the water was hazy and there was a layer of brown frothy scum on the edges. A lot of people were out eating ice cream in the kind of family groups you find lingering after a high school graduation. It is graduation season in the Happy Valley. Every weekend you seem to hit a traffic snarl when you least expect it.
On the back edge of the pond is an impromptu park bordering a cemetery. Last night I came across four gentleman lined up on the bank, right above the goose poop zone. One was puffing a cigarette, two were singing badly, and the one on the end wanted to pat Owen and chat.
His name is Wayne, he said they were out because if they stay too long in the veterans home they go even more crazy. He reminded me of Jimmy in some kind of way. Unapologetic about his swearing, his lack of tact. But he was sincere and respectful and that was all I needed to plop down on the grass beside him, making it a row of five, with Owen satelliting me as the leash allowed.
Wayne said after Vietnam he married a mean lawyer named Wanda. I knew that was a start of a great story and it was.