news of an old friend’s passing—
I switch Pandora
to a blues station
I scour grief and grease
news of a new friend’s passing
the gift of her smile
through it all
the piercing presence of thistle
in the garden
I use the pencil sharpener
grandpa’s dad’s mine
jewel weed emerges in the garden I return home
clocks spring forward
the last hour slips under
the dog’s stomach
and mine growl
at the new timetable
daylight savings time lost in translation
once a river wild
muscling bedrock now a stream
waddles in rain
once a youth trim
muscle weight now an elder
pounds on a scale
Tucked into a half-carton of organic eggs from The Country Hen, was a mini yet information-packed newsletter titled “Farm News.” After a full banner headline, date, location, phone number and graphics it began with “Dear Friends and FARMily:”
This compact yet charming double-sided brief included everything I could possibly want to know and then some. There are photos of pale blue eggs that they will be introducing soon, as well seven different branded logos! It’s all printed on “100% Post Consumer Recycled Paper” with the friendly tag line “We sincerely hope that you and yours continue to enjoy our exceptional eggs in good health always.”
Notwithstanding its color and charm, I was still a little put off first thing, rather second or third thing in the morning as I opened the carton to get an egg only to have all this chipper “farm news” spill out so unexpectedly and cheerily. Sort of like happy clucking in your ear when all you really want to do is wake up slowly and silently. Is it possible to be off-put by a too-happy tone from a stranger? Do I come across that way in these posts–too friendly or too cozy or too anything? Sometimes we catch our own reflections in the oddest environments. Just a wonder.
now something blue
a casual narrative
of past pleasures.
The forecast calls for just a dusting in the northern region of our state, and roughly about six inches through the southern counties especially along the coast. WHEW! Another one bites the dust–snowstorms that is. So far through mid January 2019, enough rain has inundated our area as to cause some severe flooding, however no weather of consequence to cause “let’s clear out the bread, milk and chips in the supermarket aisles” type of forecast. Potential for snow measuring in the double digits has metered into dull winter rain. And for the first time in over six decades–I am relieved. Normally, I look forward to the swirling snow, its softening of the landscape’s edges and the quiet beauty and stillness a snow affords. Also, the adult in me enjoys the change of pace/let’s not go to work today/let’s bake cookies or make soup instead, knowing that for the duration of the storm–there’s no going out anyway. It has always been okay that shoveling snow (my car is not garaged) follows the day off. Recently however, the reality of lifting/pushing/scraping heavy wet snow off and around the car, porch and driveway is in fact very tiring. I am lucky to have machinery at the helm for the big push and cleaning, but there is still much hand-shoveling the tighter areas.
Which brings me to the point here–the wondrous child in me misses the excitement and forecasts of nature blowing and bending the atmosphere and the mind’s eye. I miss the big-kid who always enjoyed the day-after white-outs and slow return of “normal” traffic and daily schedules including bird life. I love the look of snow-covered evergreens and winter tree branches holding and shedding snow and hearing it softly fall. And I know that snow is important to the ecosystem and water supplies–a fact that is too often lost in the current meteorologists lingo until conditions reach critical proportions.
Perhaps it’s about the extreme precipitation and other weather lately that diminishes my desire for a storm or two. My memory still holds the view of one recent winter of shoveling a long path for my large dog to get to get to her relief area over and over. When you have pets that are used to the outdoors–there’s very little wiggle room or time for changing the routine. Still in all, falling snow is magical, represents a change of pace and creates lovely scenery. I never feel cold when shoveling or moving around. Frankly, the cold bothers me more on damp and windy snowless days. Who knows what the rest of the winter will bring here. In my mind though, a few inches of swirling snow now and again in January and February is a welcome friend.
a new pair of boots with cleats in the closet my younger self waits for snow
Today I was introduced to a charming used book store appropriately named the Old Book Shop. A fellow artist drove me to its location down a backroad past the lumber store near railroad tracks and housed in a nondescript square brick building. Upon entry, you are greeted by the scent of musty books lining tall wooden shelves along narrow aisles and wooden filing cabinets filled with postcards and sheet music dating back to the late 1800s. Welcome to old school bookstore heaven run by a couple of energetic and friendly seniors. Everything is neatly categorized, and there are framed and signed photos of by-gone B-list celebrities, scenes out of World War II and rural America. What an amazing find. Time passes without notice as tasty morsels of old newsprint and magazines tempt a slow perusal. I picked up a periodical called The Pansy dated June, 1892 and published monthly in Boston, MA… Inside were short stories/articles, woodcut prints and “special announcements” like this one:
It is said that Cardinal Manning left two messages into a phonograph, to be listened to by his friends after he was dead. He is the first one who is known to have used the wonderful invention for such a purpose; it no doubt it will be often so used in the future.
I also picked up a few music sheets including:
By Irving Berlin
As a professional gardener/farmer, I was also interested in the Farm Stock Journal, August 23, 1906 published in Rochester, NY for “ONE DOLLAR A YEAR.” Articles of interest: POTATO BUTTONS; CORNS AND TENDER FEET and THE BAT’S SIXTH SENSE. Another fun read is UNDER SUMMER SKIES with a seemingly unrelated bunch of information, however surely making full sense at that time.
The artwork is lovely in all the periodicals. This was a fun find in an unlikely local neighborhood. I will return, and if I can ever bring myself to take these poetic pieces of history apart–they will be collaged into new artwork.