Sometime in August

I’m picking up the pace on a wool sweater I’m knitting — a roundabout way of realizing the patches of red on some maples (and no longer just the sick or stressed) mean I actually will be wanting to wear those knitted strands before too long.

Still, summer folks fill my library these days. They all have houses along Woodbury’s lakes, or visit people who have houses along lakes. They’re full of good will, polite, curious about our winters, ready to swap tales of their winters. One family had twins last October. The parents plop the babies on the library floor, and take a deep and exhausted breath.

Driving home, just before the swamp separating Woodbury from Hardwick, the sun hits the goldenrod just so, with scrubby pink clover along the roadside.  Rags of mist amble along the swamp, around the bend in the mountains.

For a moment, it’s just me and the road, the gold and the emerald and transient strands of cloud. August, at this very moment. At home, the girls have made blueberry pie, and that’s equally fleeting.

All the way I have come
all the way I am going
here in the summer field

—Buson

 

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Car, Deer, Collision: Tuesday

Driving to work, listening intently to an NPR piece about the capture of Saddam Hussain, I hit a young deer. As these things often go, in a kind of slow motion I see the deer leap the guard rail and then stumble.

Braking, I pull over on the graveled shoulder, and the tailgating pickup behind me roars by, in some godawful hurry. While the traffic continues to rush by, I stand there in my sandals, a breeze blowing my thin sundress above my knees. I haven’t brushed my just-washed hair yet, either, so I’m pulling long hair from my eyes and mouth as I walk back along the road. But the deer is gone — whether off to die in the lush and flanking forest or free, maybe even okay, I don’t know.

Gently, rain begins to fall, just a few drops on my face and hands, maybe a harbinger of an all-day soaking rain, or maybe that’s all, simply these few drops on the roadside, while I’m wondering what’s happening in that forest.

If we are lucky, the end of a sentence is where we might begin.

— Ocean Vuong, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous

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Notes from kids beneath the library backdrop….

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…

Flipflop Cobbler

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.

‘Auto Mirror’
In the rear-view mirror suddenly
I saw the bulk of the Beauvais Cathedral;
for a moment.

— Adam Zagajewski

 

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June, old quarries, Barre

 

Left the Shoes on the Back Porch…

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.

Sparrow singing–
its tiny mouth
open.

— Buson

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Garden of Eden — Er, Vermont

My 19-year-old shoots me a photo for an essay I’ve written and hands over her camera card. Scrolling through, I find this picture of her younger sister taken by my friend Jessica Ojala.

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With almost tactile precision, I remember tying my daughter’s little blue shoes, how seriously she and her friend took this photo shoot, how my little daughter ran with her short legs along the pebbled path but was so careful to stay on the paths and not tread on nursery plants.

Look at her little hand on that lichen-covered bench arm and — all around — that gorgeous garden.

Below zero this morning. The now 13-year-old sleeps with one hand on her tabby cat. Same child, different season.