Last Week of School; 2011

Arriving home from the gym, I allow myself this minute.  To pace the perimeter of the yard with my hands on my hips, to catch my breath and let the song playing on my ipod spin out to  its lovely conclusion.

A week’s worth of tasks that have to be jigsawed into the next four hours — looming. Timetables and agendas and lists… laundry and dishes.  The plate of my day.  The overfull plate of everyone’s day.   I am putting off  pulling that plate, heaped so high,  toward me.

I suppose you could say I  am shirking my duties.  I am taking inventory.  I am walking the yard, listening to the fulbodied voice of the singer-songwriter recently profiled by the New Yorker sing a song called “Drover” — and I am thinking if to sing is to be some lily of the fields, toiling not nor spinning neither, then God bless them all, each and every one, the world’s singers.

The last peony in my garden is unfolding.   Some days I love them, those peonies, best — the way  they’re like the blowsy madams of the garden.  They squander their riches, they never hold back.  They are too much of a muchness. 

I am shirking my duties; I am counting my blessings.

The first morning glory, true to its name, a glorious, impenetrable purple, is twining up tbe fence —

striving, striving.

The tomatoes are already grown gangly, smell, when I reach out to pinch off their suckers, of  heat and summer and my simpler, early-seventies childhood.  They make my mouth water.  Not for tomatoes, exactly, good as tomatoes might be, but for something else, something less, something more —


The roses are spent.  Their petals litter the sidewalk.  And I walk past, thinking: ashes of roses, a color I heard described in a book. What could be more apt, than that description of the roses’ pinky gray brown, shot through with melancholy?

The man with the handlebar mustache and the nineteenth-century face jogs up the street, as he does, every morning. He is angular, lopes up the sidewalk.  He probably works in IT, or at a bank, but in another life, I like to think he was the strongman in some Victorian circus, at home in a singlet.

Because he has the sort of face that in silent movies unloosens the ropes that tie heroines to the train tracks.

I am shirking my duties; I am counting my blessings.

I am for a few minutes happily stopped in my tracks by the world — that miraculous too much of a muchness.

1 Comment

  1. Dang, I’m way behind–got a new computer when I moved downtown and didn’t convert the favorites over to it, which made me forget to check regularly. You’re talking about Bill Callahan, right? I saw that article and checked him out based on it, too. I can see the appeal, but I can’t quite get there with him. Same with “Tree of Life.” Slow and textured and nice but I’m not quite intense enough to engage with it.

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