Like the lady pushing her cart across the Walmart parking lot toward me. She was clean and coiffed, slow-moving, her quad cane in her cart filled with bagged groceries. I could have walked past her, straight into the store, but not in a hurry, I asked, "May I help you?" and did. Her car was in the closest handicap space. After she clicked, I popped up the trunk and let her instruct me about where to place what (milk and butter in the little white cooler, cat food cans between it and the tire wheel, perishables a safe distance away). "Oh" I said, looking in one bag, "cherries!" "Yes," she replied, "and they're still less than three dollars a pound." "They aren't on my list, but I'll definitely get some." I added, "Did you see the blood oranges earlier in the season? Big ones and smaller ones like Little Cuties." She answered, somewhat wistfully, "No, I missed them. Maybe next year!" I waited till she was in the car, took her basket back across the crosswalk, and thought I really hope she sees next year.
fell today, off and on, slowly. But not enough to amount to much (0.67 inches). We need more. Much more. The fellow who maintains Sky Castle weather station posted this today on Facebook: "Week of July 18th had more 90º+ days (5) than the previous 3 years combined in Sewanee. 2 consecutive summers, 2013 and 2014, Sewanee did not reach 90º. 2015 had four 90º+ days. 2016 so far has had TEN 90º+ days. Thurs. July 21st was the hottest day in at least 4 yrs (94.8º).Sewanee Sky Castle weather station." I have been thinking about the heat and drought on my walks and every time I look at my own yard and the woods behind. The folks at the farm have been working hard to keep the crops going and the animals growing. Carolyn should know, since she's the Farm Manager.
She and her rotating crews (folks in the school years, folks in the summer, including 16 VISTA Americorps members for a time earlier with the University-led summer meal program for children on the mountain) work no matter the weather. During the school year and in breaks, she teaches students about farming and works alongside them, with their products benefiting a wider community. Her enthusiasm and smile infectious. Her work, important.
In answer to a question about cameras, a naturalist in one of my Facebook odonate groups wrote, "Macro photography is quite challenging and takes a lot of time to learn and master."
You got that right, I wanted to write but didn't.
The truth is that I like learning hard things, like my still-feels-new camera and still-newer macro lens. So far, both have outscored me in a contest of skill. But today's morning foray and some cooperative odes provided a much more successful than usual shoot. I am beginning to think I should just use this lens and forget the other one. I am finally discovering the "sweet spot."
I "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can," Mother repeating as she leaned over the tub to wash my hair. II Discovering what I forgot when I read The Little Engine That Could as an adult: the little blue engine's female gender
III Lazy Sunday mornings at the Tchoupitoulas Pig and then the Uptown Car Wash & Express Lube, watching my Mazda move through the long tunnel, enjoying the hand buffers' banter. IV A poem.
One Boy Told Me by Naomi Shihab Nye
I will be deep water too. Wait.
Just wait. How deep is the river? Would
it cover the tallest man with his hands in the air?
head is a souvenir.
you were in New York I could see you in
real life walking in my mind.
invite a bee to live in your shoe. What
if you found your shoe full
if the clock said 6:92 instead
of 6:30? Would you be scared?
tongue is the car wash for
toes are dictionaries. Do
you need any words?
now on I’ll only drink white milk on
does minus mean? I
never want to minus you.
think—no one has ever seen inside
this peanut before!
is hard being a person.
do and don’t love you— isn't
V Rocking in the wash and melancholia: an oddly pleasurable combination.
After the Dragonflies W. S. Merwin Dragonflies were as common as sunlight
hovering in their own days
backward forward and sideways
as though they were memory
now there are grown-ups hurrying
who never saw one
and do not know what they
are not seeing
the veins in a dragonfly’s wings
were made of light
the veins in the leaves knew them
and the flowing rivers
the dragonflies came out of the color of water
knowing their own way
when we appeared in their eyes
we were strangers
they took their light with them when they went
there will be no one to remember us
Before I even turned off my car in the huge Walmart parking lot, I noticed a hawking Black Saddlebags, high, behind my car. I got out, I watched, and I noticed passersby looking at me, puzzled.
Two hours later, I walked down a hospital corridor after a visit. About 15 feet from the doorway, I noticed a Green Darner banging the ceiling light for escape. To the man at the doors, I said, "Dragonfly!" He said, "Yes!" I walked past him, opened the door, and followed the dragonfly outside.
Walking into the kitchen to check on dinner, I noticed the orange-red antennae of the largest of two bugs on the deck post. I grabbed a camera and headed out.
On Facebook I posted, "Does this happen to everyone? I drove 18 miles to pick up a prescription
at Walmart and before I could open my car door, I saw a Black
Saddlebags cruising the lot, hawking. Then I drove those 18 miles home
and visited an elderly friend in the hospital. When I walked down the
corridor to leave, I saw a Green Darner in the hallway trying to get
out. I opened the door and followed him. No pictures. Just a comment.
Ever since I started noticing odonates some years ago, I see them
everywhere." The first response, from the most famous American ode expert and author, read, "Indeed it does, Robley." Another watcher wrote, "Yes, and I am much happier for those moments."