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Sunday, July 21, 2013

No Great, Over-Arching Theme

Left behind
My mind is full of scraps these days. A little bit of this, a little bit of that. For instance, my bookstore "Lost and Found" department (which exists only intermittently, as needed) currently holds a sweatshirt removed by a young browser and left behind on Monday evening, July 15. On each of the very, very warm days following, up until yesterday's cool relief, I would come to work and look at that sweatshirt and feel all the heat of the morning and the day to come pressing down on me. If it's yours, please call the bookstore!

Leeks flowering on forest floor
My obsession with wild leeks continues. The woods in northern Michigan is not -- I'm so glad! -- a tropical jungle full of twisty vines, killer snakes, and insects dealing death by malaria. (Of ticks we shall not speak today.) When the spring wildflowers have finished, the floor beneath the canopy shows mostly leaf litter, fallen trees and branches, a few wildflowers past blooming stage but still identifiable, and then, still flowering, a miniature forest of leeks. And now? The leeks also are joining the seed-making frenzy of late July.

This is one of my scattered thought threads at present: everything is making seeds. What are cherries and raspberries but vehicles for the dispersal of seeds? So --
Leaves are for the sake of the roots,
Fruits for the sake of the seeds....
There I pause and consider how to continue.
All is for the sake of the future
Of which leaves and fruits can only dream.
??? Maybe....

Is "Zen poet" an oxymoron? Does "living in the moment" mean not having words running through your head? I wonder.

The little five-letter word ‘condo,’ shortened form of the longer, more dreadful word ‘condominium,’ has power to strike terror into my heart, as more and more people we know sell their houses and move into condos. The shared space of condo gardens has no room for a private flock of chickens, let alone a couple head of cattle. A condo dweller has walls in common with neighbors, as with apartment living, along with property taxes and maintenance costs, as with a house. Most of the appeal seems to be that other people are doing the maintenance work. But please, leave me my mower and pruners, and do not rob me of my poultry and livestock dreams! In my old farmhouse, I feel the truth of Primo Levi’s words:
I live in my house as I live inside my skin: I know more beautiful, more ample, more sturdy, and more picturesque skins: but it would seem to me unnatural to exchange them for mine. 
 -       Primo Levi, “My House,” in Other People’s Trades
This second book I've picked up of Primo Levi essays is as captivating as the first, the topics more abstract, the treatments much briefer. (Flash nonfiction?) This morning I woke early, made coffee, picked up Payne's Confessions of a Taoist on Wall Street and read a few chapters, fell back asleep, and woke to re-read a few pages of The Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life as an Experiment. So funny!  Laugh out loud! Then it was time to go woods-hiking with Sarah. 

A couple of my annual customers from Chicago invited us for cocktails aboard their Grand Banks trawler. Of all motored boats, the trawler is my favorite, and our boat-board hosts are some of my favorite bookstore visitors, so what a lovely interlude! After several days of killer heat, to sit on a boat out along the marina wall as the wind shifted around to come from the north, cooling and refreshing! “Where are we?” I asked. “Is this Northport?” The creek pool on Wednesday, the trawler on Friday – two mini-vacations in one week, not counting mornings in the woods. That's good. I need to do more vacationing, even if it's only an hour at a time.

Woodcutter's tracks filling in
Back in the woods again, I see the way Nature is healing scars made by human incursion. No intention is necessary on Nature's part, either. It just does. Sends down roots, makes leaves and flowers, forms seeds and scatters them. Where trees were cut and removed, the canopy lets in sunlight, and a forest of seedlings compete to become trees in their turn. 

Trees that want to be
"To every thing there is a season." This is ours. We are here now.


dmarks said...

I don't have any experience with browsers leaving clothing in bookstores!

Tracts, yes, but not clothing.

I wonder if she (?) also likes to leave books in a clothing store.

Dawn said...

Lovely woods. I know, having walked through woods in Alabama that northern woods are much more hospitable. Even with ticks. Glad you got the time on the boat...and in the woods. Mini vacations are an excellent way to deal with the day to day stress of work.