I drove along the road to East Hardwick today, a narrow road I’ve driven countless times. I’ve transported numerous kids in many vehicles, often to the lake’s beach, wearing our swimsuits, the trunk filled with floaties, our bags packed with sunscreen and snacks and knitting. This road means to me little children in diapers, stacks of library books, and the long winter the crew worked on an old farmhouse along this road. The snow blows mercilessly across this road. This road means the public library at the end, and the general store where I buy groceries, mud boots, sugaring supplies and lemonade.
Today, driving a companion to a doctor’s appointment, we talked about his dream to get piglets and sheep. You have to think about something, he said.
There’s a line from a TC Boyle novel, World’s End, where a character defines himself as hard, soulless and free. How I aspired to that in my brash youth. But now, fully immersed in Dante’s woods, I see hardness crazes and breaks, whereas a malleable heart, smeared across the terrain of a road and intersecting journeys and lives, offers a tensile strength, the possibility for growth, the chance to bloom in this brief, dear life.
… The spring
will come soon. We will have more birthdays
with cakes and wine. This valley
will be full of flowers and birds.
–– Hayden Carruth