Lying on the Grass…

After a less-than-harmonious game of croquet, I lie back on the grass. Overhead, a rainbow. All this day, toiling away at things that may or may not matter…. and in this pause, a rainbow? Makes me wonder what else I missed.

Such a moon—
the thief
pauses to sing.

— Buson

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The Black Line Within a Tulip

While the big fad out there is to number things and experiences — the 10 best things to do with your whining toddler — and important stuff like that, one of my minor goals for the summer is to just soak up experiences as a kind of antidote to the ravages of last winter. By that, I mean the subzero days and nights of blowing snow.

In our house, we’re not going to count the days of summer, either. Why put a number on that?

Saturday morning, the younger sister sees the first of the red tulips we planted last fall has opened. She runs back in the house and demands her sister come out, and look down, into the flower. With the day ahead of us, come hell or high water, we stand there, the three of us, for a long moment, gazing down.

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Brief Water Interlude

In the rain, the girls pushed the kayaks into the water. The wind blew up, and I sat on the shore, my plan to lie on the grass and read foiled. Later, I went down to the end of the pond and sat at the edge while the rain washed through and sunlight sprinkled the water. The inky black head of a loon surfaced.

The girls paddled over to me, laughing. A heron cut across the cloudy sky. The peepers chorused busily. A boy appeared with his fishing pole.

This cold May: every day, a little more green, a bit more Technicolor, antidote to That Winter…

…here deep in the mountain
everywhere the sound of the pines.

— Ryōkan

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Vermont Gold

To get to my daughter’s preschool, years ago, I had to drive up the Center Road from Hardwick to Greensboro, along enormous farm fields. In May, the fields were nearly covered with blooming dandelions — or dandies as she called them.

‘Tis the season now for blooming dandelions — their first and brightest bloom of the season, against blue mountains and iridescent green fields.

When I was very young, with my years still countable on one hand, my family traveled to Ames, Iowa, from the New Mexican desert where I had always lived. In Iowa, I discovered green: sunlight through leaves and running barefoot on grass beneath a sprinkler. In that early-childhood magical way, this upthrusting spring season always reminds me of the implicit goodness of being four again.

It would be good to give much thought, before
you try to find words for something so lost,
for those long childhood afternoons you knew…

— Rilke

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(Not a dandelion….)

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Lemons and Rabbits

When my first daughter was two, my mother sewed her a dress she called “The Peter Rabbit Dress” — pink, her favorite color then, with a print of little Peter Rabbits holding baskets. A few years later, she was happy to pass this dress along to her little sister.

Last weekend, on an impulse, I bought this 20-year-old daughter a summer dress, with an elegant lemon pattern. I haven’t bought her a dress in years, since she began working and buying her own clothes, but this dress seemed exactly perfect for her.

At 20, she’s a variation of who she was at 4 — smart and funny, determined to make her own decisions, as fallible as the rest of us. Her birthright, though, goes far beyond a print of rabbits or lemons. As much as any man — despite Alabama’s draconian bent — she’s at the helm of her own ship, in seas of all weather.

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My Torrid Love Affair…

… with T. C. Boyle continues — although his most recent book is not my favorite.

I first linked up with Boyle as a high school student when I found Budding Prospects, then World’s End. I was reading East Is East as a college student, when my boyfriend was driving through rural Nevada, and somehow took a wrong turn. All you’re doing is just reading over there! he said. Many years later, I read the lovely San Miguel. Here I am, all those pages and years later, still reading Boyle in bed.

I do feel that literature should be demystified. What I object to is what is happening in our era: literature is only something you get at school as an assignment. No one reads for fun, or to be subversive or to get turned on to something.

— T. C. Boyle

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Love Of

For no other reason except sheer pleasure, magnetic poetry reemerged in our lives…. And sometimes one sentence is enough.

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