So Much Water.

In the chilly August evening, my friend and I swim after dinner, while our families kick sand on the beach. We swim into the sunset, and I’m on the verge of shivering before we hit the ropes that mark off the swimming area.

When we return, the beach has been emptied of everyone except our families, and a little girl who wanders, eating from a bag of potato chips while her mother reads a tablet. The breeze raises goosebumps on my skin, and I pull clothes over my wet swimming suit.

I ride home with my youngest, the seat warmer toasty, the car’s windows filled with the sunset’s iridescent strawberry.

She wants me to trust her driving. Because I am me, I feel all around us the coldness of autumn creeping in, and how that cold whispers its own story. This evening, though, I lean back in her car, my bare feet shedding sand on her floor, and let her drive.

A half moon rises over the hillside, the pearl color of shell’s interior.

Whither goest thou, America, in thy shiny car in the night?”

— Jack Kerouac
Greensboro, VT

Sweet August…

August. On a run after work, I remind myself August would be a good month to step away from work and the revolving paddlewheel of our daily lives. I’ve pretty much always failed at vacations, but I fold that idea somewhere away in my memory. As I walk home and cut across a little league field, I have a sudden memory of eating grass as a young child. I remember pulling long, slightly sharp-edged blades and nibbling on these, like a goat or a cow, eating straight from the earth.

In my garden, green beans are fattening on the vines in force. We eat those in the sunlight, straight from the vine. Cucumbers. Tomatoes. Wild blackberries and the few lingering raspberries we’ll find as stragglers for weeks yet.

August is good eating.

And a few lines from poet Hayden Carruth…

“The sky

is hot dark summer, neither

moon nor stars, air unstirring,

darkness complete; and the brook

sounds low, a discourse fumbling

among obstinate stones…”

— Hayden Carruth, “August First”

Burlington, Vermont

Wildflowers.

Last summer, my neighbors put a Black Lives Matter sign in their front yard. The sign was stolen. They purchased another. The second sign was stolen. The patten repeated. Our neighbors brought the sign in at night. They placed the sign between our two houses. They kept at it.

Earlier this summer, I noticed a sign had appeared on their lawn again, above a tarp spread out near the sidewalk. I didn’t note much of that. It’s a way I don’t usually walk in the non-snowy months. I nearly always cut through the cemetery or take a different side street.

But last night, walking home in a faint rain, I saw they had planted a row of wildflowers where that tarp had been. The flowers are about knee-high, festooned with delicate blooms. Their sign remains.

Hardwick, Vermont

Moon.

On her way out last night, my daughter calls back into the house, Come see the moon!

A full moon rises behind our barn — the July Buck Moon. The night is so luminescent I can easily see the lilies along the barn.

I suppose the moon reflects the faraway sun, but the moonlight glows so vibrantly, like living molten gold, that the moon this night seems particularly alive, so close I imagine reaching out and dipping my hands into the round bucket of its beauty.

I know, theoretically, our house on this planet is spinning, too, but from our patch of grass and stone walkway and garden and house, it appears the lovely moon will rise and sail over our house and us sleeping in our bedrooms all night along. A magical thought — one I take comfort from.

“And The Moon and the Stars and the World”

Long walks at night– 
that’s what good for the soul: 
peeking into windows 
watching tired housewives

— Charles Bukowski

Burton Island, Vermont

Road Tripping in the Back Seat

Yesterday, standing in a parking lot in the summer sun, waiting for daughter who had gone back to the car for her wallet, I started thinking how many pivotal scenes in my life have taken place in parking lots around the country, and how much just everyday living has taken place in these innocuous roadside places, too.

I remembered my father drinking kefir in a parking lot in Boulder, Colorado, and passing the bottle around to me and my siblings. Kefir was not then a common product in the New Hampshire village where we lived, and my brother and sister and I had never tried it.

With my first pregnancy, I labored in a parking lot.

In my twenties, I wrote about road trips because I took a lot of road trips, and road trips inevitably contain those fascinating moments where you step outside the car in an unknown place and look around, wondering where you are.

Now, in my early fifties, I’m sometimes in the backseat of a daughter’s car, still looking around and wondering where I am. The view is different here — I’m going to readily note that — but it’s a view worth having, nonetheless.

Happy Sunday, all.

(And, I’m still having trouble with WordPress’s updates. Send me an email, please, if you notice anything off, or have advice to give, too.)

August

Sunday morning finds us walking in the rain on Nature Conservancy property — a place I’ve visited for over two decades now. We meet another couple walking a small pug. Other than that, no one other than cows.

We walk along old farm roads, flanked by towering maples, looking for wild raspberries. The rain warms into a humid mist.

Immense maple, white quartz, rusting barbed wire fences, myriad shades of green. Here’s where we are, and nowhere else.

At home, the garden has grown half-wild, the cosmos taller than my head. That evening, eating sausage and onions and peppers, we sit outside, talking. Even for the teenager, everything drops away — maybe school? maybe soccer practice? — as the warm August evening slowly pushes in.

A crescent moon lights the sky over our house. My oldest yawns. There’s nothing else but this moment.

The oak tree:
not interested
in cherry blossoms.

— Basho