The sun was out on my long drive home tonight, after two days of rain. The sky was blue with cottonball white clouds hurrying by. There was a fresh breeze that moved the leaves without turning them the wrong way around.
I had to stop at the drug store next to McDonald's in Morrisville to get some lip balm. (Why chapped lips in June?). The important part of the previous sentence is "next to McDonald's". It was dinner time. Yet, I resisted the lure of a filet'o fish, strawberry shake and fries. "Away from me Filet 'O Fish Satan!" I thought. (I didn't actually say this out loud, you'll be relieved to know). And I pushed that evil filet'o fish away, and bought my lip balm and continued my trip north, fishless, fryless, shakeless. A small victory for self control.
Now, (this next bit seems like a digression but hold on to the end) remember the "imagist poets" from 10th grade English class? Here's a quick refresher:
so much depends
upon a red wheel barrow
glazed with rain
beside the white
--William Carlos Williams
In a Station of the Metro
The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.
Nice, easy sledding in English for once (even if a bit bewildering at 16).
I was thinking of the imagists as I rounded the first corner after leaving the drug store -- maybe because there is a Mennonite bakery straight ahead at the traffic light called "The Red Hen".
It was closing time at the Red Hen, apparently, because a pretty, young Mennonite woman was locking the front door. The thing about the Mennonite women, or at least whatever group of them have settled around here, is that they dress like they are on their way to Sunday school, in the Great Plains somewhere, in about 1878: long dresses, aprons, hair pulled up tight under a white cap at the back of their heads, you get the picture. The red light lasted long enough for me to see the store keeper pull the door closed, crank the key over hard in the lock, and then to hop into her black Volkswagen Jetta.
Is there not an imagist poem in there somewhere? Would you write it and send it on?
Maybe I'll do one too.
While we're on the subject, we drive by a big Mennonite farm in Hyde Park, Vermont almost every day. My kids are always craning to see the little girls who live there, since they look like they walked off the set of Little House on the Prairie.
There is a wooden sign in the front yard of the farm house with a message that gets changed from time to time. This winter, for a long time, it said "The Earth Will Be Burned Up." Hmmm. I don't suppose there's any disagreement about that. The question really is when and exactly why. We'll leave that discussion for someone else's blog. The sign was changed this spring to "Jesus Knows Your Thoughts". Recently, however, another sign has been added to the lawn. It is hand painted and stands right behind the religious warning. It says, "Fresh Brown Organic Eggs." Invariably, I think, well, I can't remember what I was thinking (probably, "we're late" or "I'm going too fast for this curve") but, Lord knows, now I am thinking of "fresh, brown organic eggs." Perhaps this is a bit of thought-craft by a clever Mennonite...?
I am supposed to be cleaning the kitchen/weeding the garden/preventing the children from burning themselves over the remains of the charcoal that cooked tonight's hamburgers as they melt marshmallows. My mom is coming for a 10 day visit on Tuesday and believe me when I tell you we are not ready... People who have been living in refugee camps in Africa might prefer their present accommodations to what we have on offer at the moment. So, I am not sure when I can get back to writing here and visiting my usual haunts but I will eventually. Meanwhile, I hope anyone who managed to read this far has a happy weekend.