Somewhere in Snowy Spring….

Through a few inches of snow, I follow stone steps down to nearby Lake Caspian, winding around a cedar-shingled house, holding a railing someone has taken the care to build, baluster by baluster.

The homeowner wants to build a tiny boathouse by the shoreline. While I listen to his plans, I eye the lake visible beneath the bent that hang over the lake. Although I’m wearing my winter coat, I imagine wading in, sweeping my fingers in the cold water.

The few of us stand among white birches, sharing names and stories. Because this is Vermont, we talk about the weather, the need for precipitation, and how everyone’s wood pile is faring. We make our way back up the hill, still talking.

A robin, in a crazed songbird rush, swoops by, nearing clipping one woman’s ear. She laughs.

It’s Saturday. Later that afternoon, I’ll stand in my driveway, talking with my friend about the fat list of things that worry and stress us. But for this half hour or so, I visit with acquaintances and strangers, talking about the area’s barns, how these great structures were built with care. Some remain; some are simply memories.

For listening recommendations, my father passed along this link to This American Life‘s Three Miles.

Trout Fishing Reminescences

I’m listening to a recent This American Life podcast, when a section of Brautigan’s The Abortion is read aloud, I lay down the scissors I’m holding. I’m sixteen again, hidden in the public library stacks, unable to believe what I’m reading. What is this? Who is Brautigan?

An instant fan of Brautigan and simultaneously unable to exactly figure out why, when I listen to his words read aloud, I suddenly see his writing is all reverence, all poetry, all a hymn to living — in the most utterly mundane way — an acknowledgement of love and love gone awry, of abortion and bliss — funny and sorrowful and joyous.

Sometimes life is merely a matter of coffee and whatever intimacy a cup of coffee affords.

Richard Brautigan

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