Monday, August 24, 2009

South Burlington, VT

I love the view from the office windows, particularly the one to the right of the computer: perfectly framed by the wooden trim, a stately locust holds its own amidst a gloriously swaying and bobbing yard of wild flowers. Wild grape, thistle (the one open bloom closest to the building is absolutely magenta right now), goldenrod and yellow wild indigo, the ocher seed-spike of a curly dock, at least 5 different kinds of tall grasses, and of course the creamy open blossoms and witchy, tumble-weed heads of Queen Anne's Lace, which all the children know as wild carrot, and vigorously uprooted to show to me every time we went on nature walks at the beginning of summer. And I mean every, single time.
"Look, wild carrot!" (rip!).
"Hey, wild carrot!" (rip!).
"Here, smell - wild carrot!" (rip!).
Did we actually cook any of this wild carrot, even once, this whole summer? Nope. Too busy harvesting St. John's Wort and plantain and cooking up mint tea and clover fritters and steamed day lily buds with butter.
Luckily, all of this wanton admiration has done nothing but enhance the Queen Anne's Lace population, disturbing the ground and leaving room for new plants to take hold. (I didn't tell them this, of course. If I had, I think they'd have torn out every taproot they could grab, in the hopes of an even better harvest. If there're two things kids excel at, its over-the-top optimism and vigorous destruction).

Right now, the five o'clock sunlight is shining through the grape leaves and illuminating everything that isn't bathed in sighing, tender shadow. Every so often, milkweed seeds float by with a silly, up-and-down motion, and when the wind gusts, everybody else dances and scuttles around like boats at the end of their moorings or dogs on a leash, testing the strength of their tethers.
They remind me of adolescents; literally rooted in summer's bounty, yet so attuned to the season's upcoming change that they can't help but test their limits with every breeze.
Soak it up now, kiddos!

The Lover of Earth Cannot Help Herself, by Mary Oliver

In summer,
through the fields
of wild mustard,
then goldenrod,
I walk brushing
the wicks
of their bodies
and the bright hair
of their heads-
and in fact
I lie down
that the little weightless
pieces of gold
may float over me,
shining in the air,
falling in my hair,
touching my face-
ah, sweet-smelling,
glossy and
colorful world,
I say,
even as I begin
to feel
my left eye then the right eye
begin to burn
and twitch
and grow very large-
even as I begin
to weep,
to sneeze
in this irrepressible
of summerlove.

(Hmm, Mary Oliver, maybe if you don't lie down in the ragweed...) I empathize though, really, I do.

Copyright (c) 2009-2014 Jessica Bellantone. Please email me when reproducing content. Thank you! Registered & Protected