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Route 153 Gets Spring Break March 30, 2009

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.

Friday night, 10:30, on the way home from dinner with friends: The sound of the first spring peepers made me stop the car, roll down the window, and listen.

Sometime Saturday afternoon: After raking the cinders, dirt, rocks, and salt that snowplows left in our front yard, I sat on the slate porch behind the barn, barefoot, pant legs pulled up to the knees. When Tim found me there, we catnapped in the sun.

On March 28.

Yesterday the temperature dropped and it rained. I drove to Portland, where it will be raining a good bit this week.

That’s good. I have work to do. Spring can be very distracting.

These Are a Few of My Favorite (Road) Signs March 27, 2009

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.

DIP (is that supposed to be an insult?)
DEAD END (especially that one in my college town, which led to the cemetery)
FROST HEAVES (a particularly northern phenomenon)

And my all-time favorite road sign:

HIDDEN DRIVES (you know you have them)

Pyrrharctia isabella: A Refresher Course March 19, 2009

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.

On my way out the door yesterday morning, I noticed something I deemed unusual in the driveway: a woolly bear caterpillar, right where a huge ice puddle used to be. I couldn’t recall ever having seen a woolly bear in the spring. Aren’t they a fall phenomenon?

I wondered if this one was alive. I took a very close look, and it wasn’t moving. I poked it gently, but it still didn’t move. It was quite fluffy and fresh looking, though. Had it been preserved in the ice? Had it fallen from a bird’s nest hidden in the sliding barn door above?

I decided to move it so I wouldn’t run it over while backing out of the driveway. I picked it up, and it curled quickly into a ball. Definitely alive. I put it on the threshold of the barn doorway. When I got home, it was gone.

It turns out that woolly bears hibernate. If I haven’t seen them in spring (and who knows?—maybe I simply don’t remember), it’s just by chance. As the plants come back, they chow down, pupate, and become Isabella tiger moths. You can see photos of both beauties on Wikipedia.

Of course, I recognize the moth. But the fact that I wasn’t aware of their connection to woolly bears raises various questions for me. Did I never wonder what happened to these caterpillars? Did I simply love looking at them because they are so beautiful, swerving when I could to try to avoid them as they crossed the road? Did I enjoy the winter-weather-prediction lore while not really believing it (that the length of the brown stripe will determine winter’s severity)? Did I just accept and not question? Or did I once know (which seems likely), but like so many things, the facts just slipped away? But slipped away where? Do the slipped-away facts hibernate? Pupate? And if so, what do they become?

Walk March 16, 2009

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.

It’s the kind of week when a friend loses a job and other friends take painkillers and schedule MRIs and everything seems worrisome and you don’t think you can take one more minute of the news, but it’s also the kind of week when you still eat and drink well with friends and get to stand above a huge boiler and fill your pores and lungs with maple-sweet steam and go out for a walk on a sunny, trying-to-be-spring afternoon, and your neighbors are out too, people you haven’t seen in months, all of you buzzing about like just-now-awake wasps finding your wings again, and as you stop to chat with the ones across the street, Emily, standing on the waist-high slate wall in front of you, asks, “Do you want to catch me?” and you do want to, and you do catch her, and you can’t believe how light she still is, because she must be four by now, and her mom confirms that Em is a skinny-minnie, and you put her back on the wall, that beautiful wall that wasn’t there when you were renting that house because (a) you were renting and (b) you are not a stonemason like the present occupant, and Emily has a grape lollipop and walks down the wall to talk to Paul, and the German shepherd Anna takes her place and licks your face, and Em, in a brief moment of confusion as to what item is in which hand, licks the stone she has in one instead of the lollipop in the other, which doesn’t bother her but Paul tells the story to the rest of you who were caught up with Anna’s licking and not Em’s (Paul, whom earlier you caught in this position):


and then you say goodbye to your neighbors and hit the rail trail at just the right time to see the flock of fifty turkeys on the hill, and a tom is displaying, and the sun is just low enough to backlight the featherspread of his tail, and the glow of it is so impossibly beautiful that you can’t look away, you just can’t, and you know that he knows that every female turkey on that hill is thinking the same thing.

Sex and Supplements March 11, 2009

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.

I have always been a bit drug resistant. I don’t like to take stuff unless I really have to. That’s true even of vitamins and supplements. Besides which, I always get conflicting advice as to what to take. Doctors, nutritionists, pharmacists, massage therapists, acupuncturists, chiropractors, herbalists, friends—everyone has an opinion about what supplements one should be ingesting, and many of them disagree with one another. I refuse to down a bunch of pills all day long. I just won’t do it.

Admittedly, though, I take a few. My count right now is six at breakfast: one organic multivitamin, two calcium/magnesium, one manganese B12 (à la chiropractor), one vitamin D (maybe just for winter), and one low-dose aspirin (for winter). Your basic aging-female cocktail.

Tim just finished up one bottle of his organic multivitamin, so I grabbed the new one out of the cupboard this morning. Pulling the bottle out of its box (it may be organic, but it’s double packaged), I noticed the none-too-subtle marketing: “Every Man’s One Daily: Nourishing Power and Protection for Men.” Hmmm. What did mine say, I wondered? “Every Woman’s One Daily: Nourishing Fulfillment of Every Woman’s Needs.”

Fulfillment of my needs? Of every woman’s needs? Believe me, I (and most women) would notice something like that immediately upon swallowing. [Go ahead. Insert junior-high snicker here.]

I read these aloud to Tim. “But I want fulfillment of my needs,” said Tim.

“Yeah, and I want some power,” I noted. “I really have to get this job off my desk today.”

We eyed each other’s multivitamin bottles, considering. There is probably next to no difference between the two. But I don’t want to grow hair on my chest. And he’s trying to avoid growing man boobs.

Help! March 7, 2009

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.

I’m being held hostage by Task Faeries. Mean little buggers. Each morning, they watch me make my daily to-do list. Each morning, they allow me to list “blog.” But do they have any intention of letting me get to that item? No. I diligently complete most of the tough stuff, then, when they see I might just try to blog, they distract me with some shiny thing: peanut butter, taped episodes of my favorite TV shows, Facebook, a glass of good wine. I’m trying to slip this note out of here before they show up for today’s list. %*#@, here they come. Help me! —Indigo Bunting