On the first glorious day of summer, my daughters are on Lake Champlain, walking along a causeway in this enormous lake. The day holds that nearly unbelievable deep green. Walking down to the diner to meet someone, I keep marveling. Just soak it in, I tell my deeper, more distrustful side. Sweet summer… sweet…
Before the white chrysanthemum
the scissors hesitate
All day long yesterday, June hummed along, perfect in temperature, glossy green but not over-brilliant, busy with hummingbirds, bumblebees, a few stray mosquitoes.
What a day, everyone repeated, all through these hours capped off with a retirement party. One high school student shared the story of the facilities manager who repaired her broken flipflop when she was six. He used duct tape and a staple, gave it a test wiggle, and said, It’ll do.
In the rear-view mirror suddenly
I saw the bulk of the Beauvais Cathedral;
for a moment.
— Adam Zagajewski
June, old quarries, Barre
These two are aptly paired up for me as I learned about Bloomsday — this Irish holiday celebrating James Joyce and his Ulysses — from my father. I was probably 4 and sitting on the living room floor with my sister, a predominant childhood place involving wooden blocks and tiny dolls. My father was listening to NPR and mentioned the day was Bloomsday. Such a pretty word, I remember thinking. Much later, in high school, my sister and I devoured Dubliners and Portrait of an Artist.
James Joyce, so infinitely complex and rich — which, perhaps, pairs up perfectly with parenthood. Happy Father’s Day!
Welcome, O life!
— James Joyce
Photo by Molly B.
14 years ago yesterday, I sat in my friend’s kitchen nursing my newborn while she labored to bring into the world her daughter. Her mother-in-law served me a bowl of chicken soup from an enormous pot she had cooked.
Returning from a walk yesterday evening, I spy my daughter reading on front porch with her cats. Those days with an infant I hardly had a sense of evening from afternoon, in that churning wheel of nursing and diapers and tending.
Time passing threads all through my writing — how can it not? — and yet, sometimes I find myself staring through a window, thinking, here we are, right at this very moment.
The strongest of all warriors are these two — Time and Patience.
Taking out the trash from the library today, I stopped by the crabapple tree planted at the back school entrance no one uses anymore. My goodness! An utter profusion of beauty by the stinking compost!
On this warm day, in sleepy, quiet Woodbury, the first and second graders walked over for their final visit to the library this school year. I read only one book to them — Jim LaMarche’s The Raft — and remembered the summer I was 10, and my family camped for weeks in the west. I brought the book I discovered with great glee in my father’s very grownup shelves of Hume and Kant and Heidegger. What else but Huckleberry Finn, still one of my most favorite novels.
The children listened quietly this afternoon, checked out their books, and I walked back to the school with a girl who wouldn’t return next year, her arm around my waist.
It’s lovely to live on a raft. We had the sky, up there, all speckled with stars, and we used to lay on our backs and look up at them, and discuss about whether they was made, or only just happened…
After a day of brilliant sunshine, rain moves in during the night. My daughters’ cats, in the screened windows, wake me with their hungry mewing, against the background chorus of steady rainfall and birdsong.
Arriving home from work, I see my daughters have been swimming that afternoon, their hair in damp lanks around their shoulders.
As if in an instant, summer has unrolled in Vermont — verdant and colorful — while simultaneously the woods darken mysteriously with foliage.
90 days, poet David Budbill wrote. Frost-freeze — maybe — for 90 days in Vermont. Hallelujah.
its tiny mouth