Oddments

In search of story


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August 12.20: Coping

Morning came

too quietly,

neither chirp nor trill,

but only cicada’s

serrated drone.

A very timid cricket

tuned his small pipe.

There I stood,

knee-deep in July,

prickly and unsure,

so restless was the quiet.

Now the dark of August nights

and no firefly winks.

The Green Heron blats

like fallow French horn

once or twice a day,

and maple leaves,

scorched,

bleed at their edges.

Do I imagine

the urgency?

Time is out of sorts,

as am I.

 

 


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August 10.20: Coping

“The malignant air of calumny has taken possession of all ranks and societies of people in this place…The rich, the poor, the high professor and the prophane, seem all to be infected with this grievous disorder, so that the love of our neighbor seems to be quite banished, the love of self and opinions so far prevails….The enemies of our present struggle…are grown even scurrilous to individuals, and treat all characters who differ from them with the most opprobrious language.”

According to David McCullough’s book “John Adams,” Christopher Marshall wrote the above in 1776.

Perhaps spellings have changed, and maybe vocabularies have weakened a bit, and maybe also “social media” is no longer the handwritten letter, but otherwise Mr. Marshall would not be much surprised, it would seem, by any of the news accounts today. So I pass it along to you, dear reader, for what it’s worth, and I leave it to you whether to laugh or to cry.

 

 


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August 5.20: Coping

A GARDEN STORY

Once upon a November, I bought this house. When a gardener buys a house in November, she has a whole winter to wonder what someone else’s garden will bring. As it came to life, I wondered less and pulled more. Out, out, rude roots! After the chaos of resettling, I happily yanked and snipped. Instant gratification. The gardener’s high.

In the throes of this euphoria, I approached a small shaded gravel patch where nothing should have been able to grow, but no one had told the weeds. Then I stopped and stared in a gardener’s disbelief. Four small stems with happy little leaves looked familiar. Snapdragons? Could it be? Snapdragons sprouting in these sunless stones? Tenderly, I eased them up and out, such little things, but so green. I transplanted them into the garden and coddled them neurotically. They grew plump with leaves and buds. They were the shortest snapdragons I’d ever seen, and they bloomed white! I am a fool for white flowers! Oh, what a gardener’s jig I danced!

And, oh, what a harvest of snapdragon seeds followed! And now, two garden seasons later, I have low-lying clouds of white snapdragons, snuggling with parsley, lighting the front-door thyme, wreathing the bay. Even though I have not been able to plant my back yard garden this year, the white snapdragons assure me that beauty will be had, and that I should always look twice at the gravel.