Green

Last evening, while playing 50 States trivia as a hard rain fell, I told my daughters I could sense the earth greening up around us. When the sun comes up this morning, I’m hoping for some slivers of this truth.

Yesterday afternoon, my younger daughter and I stopped by the (closed) library where I work. We wandered around the playground, the sodden sandbox with a few abandoned spoons and bowls and toy trucks, and walked around a pair of blue socks some child had forgotten. The flower beds were strewn with last summer’s dead stalks.

We walked into the woods where the spring streams ran high. The forest was fragrant with mud; no coronavirus fear here.

The spring rain.
Talking and passing
The straw rain‐cape and umbrella.

— Buson

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Who’s Walking

On a midafternoon walk to clear my head, I’m surprised to see so many people in the small neighborhood I pass through on my way to the woods. Generally, it’s just me and the same dog walkers — all a good twenty years older than me, sometimes singly, sometimes in chatty pairs. But couples and families are out — everyone keeping their distance — some folks walking dogs, some simply strolling in the sunlight.

In Vermont, we’re on a Stay Home, Stay Safe mandate — my polite state’s kinder and gentler version of crouch down and shelter-in-place. Later in the day, we hear Vermont schools won’t re-open this year. Even for those who don’t have a student, the message is crystalline: there’s no end in sight. The other side of this disease — for health, for our economy — lies in a chasm.

But we’re not living in a chasm.

Across the street — way more than six feet — strangers and I take our time and pointedly greet each other. Later, during a phone interview for work, I talk with a woman I’ve never met. Far outside of the article’s topic — the homeless in Vermont — we talk and talk, exchanging stories of our daughters, our early motherhood, of these uncertain times. Why not? I thank her profusely for the call, not an email, and we agree to meet in person…. in some future time.

The summer river.
It’s happy to walk across it.
My hands with zori sandal.

— Buson

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August, long ago

Little Kid Yellow

Two summers back, I bought a gallon of paint for $10. At the local hardware store, the clerk had inadvertently mixed the wrong color and offered it to me. What a score, I thought. The color approximated the hue I once used to paint windows in a cupola — a color I christened Little Kid Yellow.

Not everyone in my household has been an enormous fan of painting our front steps bright yellow. Afterwards, even I wondered, Why do I do these things?

Likely, because of January. Because of November, too, and December, and February. Heck, March and April. By the end of May, tiny blue squill will sprinkle the greening-up grass.

But right now, color in northern Vermont is hard to come up. And the little bits of brightness — that’s gold.

The winter wind
flings pebbles
at the temple bell

— Buson

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December Thaw

Early Friday morning, finished with my few weekly minutes of food co-op working member hours, I stand at the window with an employee, watching the rain.

Rain in December. At home, my daughters are eating breakfast and complaining about the coal-colored day. Then yesterday, about the time I’m folding up my laptop and thinking of chopping a cabbage for dinner, my daughters return home, full of joy about a long run and exploring the edge of Lake Champlain.

End of December: I’d hung the laundered Christmas tablecloth on the clothesline to dry. December thaw in Vermont. Here’s a piece I wrote in State 14 about working for the census, long ago when I was a brand-new mama.

This cold winter night,
that old wooden-head buddha
would make a nice fire.

—Buson

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June — and More June

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
a moment.

— Buson

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My cat at work in my office…. thinking…

Spring Nourishment

The two pear trees beside our house had failure to thrive when we moved in — more stick than tree. These trees are some of my silent, longer-term projects, feeding them manure and attention. Substitute veggies and sausage for manure, and that’s my approach to parenting. While I’m planting leeks, barefoot and happy in the garden, the 14-year-olds are baking mini cupcakes, then loading the Toyota with a kayak and the pizza-shaped floatie, dreaming of the not-so-distant future when they’ll be at the wheel of the car, fulfilling the rural Vermont kid’s dream of unfettered freedom with a tank of gas and the open road.

In the meantime, while they’re nourishing themselves with kid-plans and laughter, I’m entranced by the violets on the lawn, wondering if the gifted peonies will bloom this year…

Sadness at twilight . . .
villain! I have
let my hand
Cut that peony

— Buson

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