October 23, 2013

Cortlandia

Gene Daniels, NARA

I am honored to have a poem in the new issue of The Cortland Review. Check it out! You can even hear my squeaky voice if you so desire. Alas, I will never find employment in radio. 

October 14, 2013

Notes from the Foothills

A hint of autumn color on the trail
We've moved across the country, and it turns out October is half over before I realized it had begun. That's how it is in California. In New England I would start watching in August for the pinkening tips of the leaves, at first with dread for the end of summer, and then as September whipped past us, with joy for the riotous color.

By the end of October, though, the color weakened, like a powerful witch being drained of all her magic as the leaves tossed themselves to the ground, and the weight of winter settled itself on my chest.

Lichen covered granite
I miss the color almost feverishly. I look around my hometown, and I kick myself for all the times I ranted about how California does have changing seasons, damn it! I think back on all of those smug New England faces, nodding their heads with eyes closed in a most patronizing fashion, and I know they were right: It's just not the same. It pains me.

I don't miss the dread, though-- not in any way. I don't miss the mountain of wood dumped on our front lawn every August. I don't miss wheelbarrowing it into the house all winter long because we never had enough time to get it in before the snow fell. My sore, frozen hands trying to make a fire. I really, really don't miss the cold. In fact, I feel downright buoyant at the lack of cold. At morning drop off at the elementary school, some of the moms complain about how cold it's getting in the morning, and I smile, nodding my head in a patronizing fashion. I know from cold.

Canal trail 
 So, I moved back to my hometown after being away for more than twenty years, and it's weird. In Alice Hoffman's The Probable Future, one of the characters goes back to her hometown, the house where she grew up, and she says it's like being two people at once: the adult she is now, washing the dishes in the kitchen sink, and the sixteen year old girl she was, climbing out the kitchen window to meet her boyfriend in town. Exactly.

Around every corner is a memory, and they are not particularly good ones.  Well, I just have to tinker myself some new memories.


But here's the wacky thing: I know there's more than one teenager out there who's a self-involved snit, but I must have been the queen of them. My focus was turned so incredibly inward that it's almost as if I didn't live in this town at all, which makes it incredibly interesting to discover. Plus, oh my gosh how it has grown! I mean, we have an In-n-Out Burger and a skate park!
Buckaroo

One of the great things my parents discovered while I was away is this whole system of canal trails, and apparently everyone else discovered them, too, because they're all there-- walking their dogs, riding bikes, jogging.  These days Buckaroo isn't up for hiking much longer than an hour, and that's only if we ply him with sugary delights (and Sweet P prefers to stay home), but one of these days I'd like to set out and see how far we can follow these canals.


We have chicks! I want to name them after the Bennet sisters, but, ya know, everything's a democracy in this house. They are, as of yet, unnamed.  

















In the meantime, R hasn't lost his love of homesteading, so when he's not attached to his work computer, he's making plans for organic composting heaps and ordering wolf urine to frighten away the deer. He's very excited about the plethora of olives in these parts. He even tasted one straight off the tree yesterday. Blech. I guess everyone's gotta do it once.

Olives
 My camera was broken for a good, long time, and I was beginning to feel like I was losing my ability to see the extraordinary. I didn't realize how much my lens was tied to my pen. I'm super thankful to have it hanging around my neck again. In celebration, I thought I'd share these.
You tell me!

Weeds?