Saturday, December 11, 2010

Ozarks 12.9.03: Glistening Gold Stubble and Unbroken Circles

Mary Oliver, Winter Hours (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1999):

Anxiety for the lamb with his bitter future, anxiety for my own body, and, not least, anxiety for my own soul.  You can fool a lot of yourself but you can’t fool the soul.  That worrier (p. 14).

Describing Arkansas.  This day.  This unrepeatable moment.  It matters that summer lingers.  It's not beside the point that  fall is nudging summer aside.

The surprise, just north of the city, of blue misted mountains--no, never blue: green, and yellow in the linering summer--folded around the river, so that one rises out of urban expectations and dips down, totally unexpectedly, not the bowl of mountains, the wide twisting fields of the river.

Up and over the north ridge of mountains, the surprise, too, of the lovely little valley always planted to rice in recent years.  On this misty morning, the gold stubble glistens with droplets that can't be seen individually from the car, but that give a sheen to the whole field.  Through it all, twisting and snaking, the green veins that form the paddies, glowing so bright, so green, in the mist.

From there, the surprise of the lake, cypress trees keeping sentry, water lilies claiming its surface, slightly ruffled on this morning by the new fall winds.  Green gives way to brown as the water nears the shore.

For me, a lake fraught with history, since my father brought me to fish there.  Pictures of a tiny, earnest me in a cap with ear flaps, holding a pole as long as a small tree out from shore, expecting fish to find their way to my hook.

These thoughts as the second anniversary of my mother's death nears.  It would have been show who bundled me in the warm cap and jacket, against March winds.  She did try.

On the drive up, a memorial radio essay re: Johnnie Cash.  They play the selection of him singing "Will the Circle Be Unbroken?" that mentions the time-honored trope of seeing the hearse carry your mother away.  I break into tears.  More pain as I listen, in the cabin, to Chanticleer singing "We Shall Walk Through the Valley in Peace."  I chose this song to be played at my mother's funeral, as people entered the chapel.  Patrick, about whom I dreamt last night, said after the funeral, "That's a song I'll never hear again without feeling sad."

And the rain drives down from the skies.  And the water pours, pours, over the lip of the precipice in a thick white torrent stained with an ugly tobacco yellow.  I've seen too many loved ones die.  I wonder if I grow incapable of remembering and mourning.

Verlyn Klinkenborg, The Rural Life (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 2003):

The way to look at it all was to accept its passing.  To see something interesting you had to be looking right at it as it flew by.  If you didn’t see it, you wouldn’t see it, no matter how quickly you turned your head of how hard you looked back down the road.  There was no entanglement with the scenery (p. 73).

I implore the angels and saints: pray that I have a more grateful heart.  Pray that I live with time I have left with more awareness of the gift of my life. 

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