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A Series of Things: The Bronzed Shoe June 30, 2009

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
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I live in an old Victorian house with an old Victorian coal-burning fireplace (which sadly will never function as a real fireplace). The fireplace is tiled and topped with a tall tiered and mirrored mantelpiece. Said mantelpiece is crowded with stuff, in true Victorian fashion: photographs of my ancestors, a shadowbox containing the fly on which I caught my first trout, an empty turtle shell, a duck on bike, a miniature sandhill crane replica (made from chicken feathers, I think), and a bronzed baby shoe.

A single bronzed shoe.

One might think that this shoe is one that I used to wear or one that some other relative used to wear. But one would be mistaken.

Awhile back I was visiting Brad at his antique shop just a few feet off Route 153. Brad has interesting things. And interesting ways. He picks up on his customer’s essence and uses it to his advantage. He is a good salesman.

I picked up the shoe.

Like many people, I find baby shoes adorable and interesting. This, despite my lack of any desire to have someone who could fit such a shoe be a regular resident of my household.

It wasn’t expensive, but it was priced high enough to make me think twice. I mean, why would I want a single bronzed baby shoe? What could possibly make me think that I needed such a thing?

“That,” Brad said, his tone conspiratorial, “belonged to a one-legged baby.”

Sold.

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A Just-Post-Solstice Haiku June 23, 2009

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
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early summer days
amass many calories
all those strawberries

A Limerick on the Occasion of a Birthday June 19, 2009

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Neighbor Nolan, to whom speed appeals,
Seems to have an obsession with wheels.
On a bike, scooter, mower,
Unicycle, snow blower,
Past house, trees, and bushes he reels.

Briefly Noted June 17, 2009

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
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I’m back, I’m back on Route 153 after nearly a week away in Pennsylvania, back in my own bed, back at my fabulous gym, back to the piles of work that loom high above me. Back to the rose-breasted grosbeaks who hang out at my feeder. Back home.

That said, I had a great trip. I visited friends and places I hadn’t seen in 8 years. I met people who weren’t even born last time I visited. I marveled at what great parents my friends have turned out to be and how happy they appear, at least from where I’m standing. Being with them reminded me of why I first loved them, and it turns out I love them still.

And I attended a 25-year college reunion. For someone who lived her school years as an introverted outsider, I sure do manage to have a good time at reunions. It’s puzzling.

Maybe someday I’ll write something about this trip. But I need to get to work pronto. So this post is to briefly and sadly note the passing of two of my favorite things in my old college town: Grubb’s Diner, where I ate many a meal and had many a piece of pie and where now stands a Rite Aid; and the DEAD END sign at the bottom of the hill that led to the cemetery, which has been replaced with one that says NO OUTLET. A similar sentiment, to be sure, but not nearly so graphic. Requiescant in pace.

Blink June 10, 2009

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Y’know how you’re driving down the road and you get behind someone who has no clue the turn signal was left on and it drives you almost insane and nine times out of ten it turns out to be some elderly person you’re not so sure should be driving anyway? Reader, I’m afraid I’m becoming that person.

About twice a week I make a 22-mile trek to a town south of here to do some business. I drive down Route 153 to River Road, make a right onto it, and take it to Route 30, where I make another right to head south. Thing is, that second right isn’t really a hard enough right to automatically turn off the signal. And lately, more than once, a couple miles down the road I’ve noticed that my signal is still blinking.

Aaaargh!

In my defense, it may not be my creeping senility. Rather, I suspect this happens because I am rocking out so hard that I simply do not hear the turn signal that has failed to switch off. As I make that right, I am likely belting out how I don’t give a damn about my bad reputation or how I want to be sedated or how perhaps it’s in your best interest to get off of my cloud.

So yes, friends, maybe I am becoming that old lady who leaves her freakin’ turn signal on. But rest assured: I’m also a badass.

Route 153 and the Special Guest Blogger June 8, 2009

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Friday morning I stopped over next door at Paul and Lynda’s to drop off a loaf of rhubarb bread I’d somehow managed to bake with Lali’s rhubarb and her rhubarb bread recipe. While there, Paul starts a story with the words, “If I had a blog . . . ”

It was a very good, very Route 153 story. So later that day, I sent him an e-mail: “If you write out that great story you told me this morning, I’ll post it in quote form on MY blog.”

I’d thought about trying to tell it myself, but I didn’t want to get the details wrong. I got to hear the story again on Saturday night, when those gourmet friends of ours hosted yet another dinner. Paul had been on the way to their place when it all unfolded. I hadn’t relayed the story to Tim, so Dan told it, and I must say, he did a mighty fine job. I wish I could tell a good story. You know, when I actually talk.

I just got back from the gym et voilà! here is the story in my in-box. So without further ado, let me introduce my neighbor Paul, a sculptor and builder of the best swing set in the world, who both lives on Route 153 and was driving along it in all its loveliness when the following took place:

Why Didn’t the Guinea Hen Cross the Road?

Headed south from our little village on a somewhat country road one morning last week, my mind was wandering while listening to the weather report that seems to go on so long you forget to pay attention until it’s too late. Then huh? something in my lane? a hen and chicks just standing there, I hit the brakes hard, swerved around them with all the pickup truck handling I could muster, and came to a stop on the edge of the road after getting past them. Stupid birds, I think; they still didn’t move, even after I stopped. Still just frozen in the road.

I know it’s stupid to get out on a curvy stretch of road like this, but it will just take a second and then I will be on my way, I tell myself. I jump out after hitting the hazard lights, and walk back to the birds who are still just standing there like they are stuffed. Six feet away now, I stretch my arms out to scare them off the road and the mother finally jumps a little and turns toward the edge of the road, the fluffy little chirping chicks start to do the same and WHOA!! from the other side of the road a huge red tail hawk silently swoops down and scoops up one of the chicks right off the road and flies up to a tree branch while the rest of the birds scatter. Oh, I say to the hen, that is what you were focused on. Oops, I had no idea.

Shaken, I got back to my truck before another vehicle arrived to find a silly creature in their lane of travel. Seat belt on, back in drive, accelerating . . . WHOA!!—a woodchuck runs out from the side of the road and I manage to straddle it with the front wheels, but it is still running and WHAM! gets crunched by the rear wheel. What the hell is going on?

Later on that week I saw a turtle near a bridge by the side of the road waiting to make a break for it. Sorry pal, but you’re on your own. This time I am staying out of it, as I look up in the sky for the circling pterodactyl that must surely be up there waiting for me to help it move the turtle out in the open.

Another Single-Sentence Post through which to Slog June 7, 2009

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Wednesday afternoon I went to Aaron’s Pilates class, most of which he did on the exercise ball, and it completely kicked my ass, to the point that I could not face his ultimate conditioning class on Thursday morning, which I felt horribly guilty about because sometimes I’m the only one there, but instead I took a powerwalk on the rail trail with my next-door neighbor Lynda, and we ran into Leo and Bev, which made me aware of just how long it’s been since I’ve set foot in their restaurant because I spend my entire eating allowance in Portland and their place is wonderful but expensive, and I mentioned how I’d like to just drop in for a glass of wine at the bar, but it used to be that you couldn’t do that because the place is so small that the whole bar was reserved for dinner, but Leo says it’s different now, in part because of the added outdoor space, and I could come get a glass of wine and some mussels and it wouldn’t be too much money, I wouldn’t have to order dinner, so I figured I should do that soon, and they mentioned that Yoshi, whom I work with and who just moved up our way, was a regular now, so on Friday when I went to the office, I talked to Yoshi about it, and he said he goes there at least once a week and has a standing 6:30 reservation at the bar on Friday night, and as it happened, it was Friday, so Tim and I decided to go and try out the wine-and-mussels theory, and I called and reserved two spots at the bar right by Yoshi, and on my way out the door I put on a ring and some earrings that Nance made, because I love them and because I’ve had trouble with one of the earrings coming apart and I thought, fleetingly, you never know, I could run into her, and Tim and I drove up to the restaurant just as Yoshi was walking in, and we ordered a glass of wine each and mussels to split but also a salad appetizer and then two more glasses of wine, so we quickly escalated past the reasonable-cost zone, which was entirely predictable and one reason we stay away (we know how we are), and then we ran into Andrew, who said maybe he’d go to Aaron’s Pilates class on Saturday morning and also that no one had showed up for Aaron’s class on Thursday and Aaron was bummed out about it, which bubbled my guilt right up to the surface again, and I wondered if I could make one of Aaron’s classes on Saturday or not, and Andrew said maybe he’d be there, but maybe not, and I figured not as Andrew’s job is so physical and anyway who could predict if I’d get to either ultimate conditioning at 8:00 or Pilates at 9:00, what with the drinking I was in the midst of, and I’d love to be in a class with Andrew again but he’s unreliable so I shouldn’t base my decision as to which class on the possibility of his company, and after Andrew moved on, Tim and Yoshi and I continued to have a great time, and then in walked Nance, maker of my jewelry, who happened to be manning the art gallery across the street and who had come over for dinner so she could eat well as she watched the door for customers, and I showed her the earring and she took it with her to solder, and when I turned around Yoshi had bought another round, which was wonderful and generous but pushed me over the edge rather, and I needed Tim to drive home and deposit me on the couch where I could watch the end of Twin Peaks then stumble into bed, and on Saturday morning I knew I wouldn’t make the 8:00 class but maybe the 9:00, and in fact I did make the 9:00 Pilates and was able to tell Aaron that I wasn’t at the Thursday class cuz he’d kicked my ass on Wednesday, and he said he suspected as much, as I am not a Wednesday regular, and I warned him I wouldn’t be at this Thursday’s class either because I’m going out of town but did reiterate my devotion to him, and we talked about Andrew and how I’d run into him the night before and how—big surprise—he’s not taking Pilates today, after which Aaron proceeded to kick my ass again, this time on the mat and off the ball, and after I got home, Nance called and said I have your earring and could you meet me at the gallery, and I could and I did, and my earring was all fixed and Matt, whose turn it was to man the gallery, offered me a swig of vodka tonic, and I had a most delightful and unexpected visit with Denise the milliner, and once again I am kind of in awe of where I live and life in general and how one thing leads to another.

Swing June 5, 2009

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
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Life is busy. No matter where one lives, one never seems to have the time to take full advantage of immediate surroundings: museums, theater, restaurants, mountains, waterways. One seems happy enough to take advantage only occasionally, when work is over and the chores are done. When one does enjoy something so readily available, one thinks, Why don’t I do this way more often?

That’s how I feel about the swing next door.

I love to swing. When I was little, we had a swing set in our backyard. A metal one with a sort of barbershop-pole pattern on the legs. It wasn’t well grounded, so it would shake a bit as I gained height. Not in a dangerous way, but in a rather loud, noticeable way.

There was a fantastic set at my elementary school. Old-fashioned, solid, heavy metal. Steel, I think. Even the seats were a flat steel, which to this day may be my favorite kind of seat—I don’t see them much anymore. I like how the flat seat doesn’t smash your hips. It’s probably not only more expensive, but a little more dangerous, what with the not-hugging-to-your-exact-body-size. Anyway, I seem to remember that this elementary school swing set faced some huge leafy maples. And I remember swinging pretty high and jumping off. Crazy.

But I think I have found my absolute all-time favorite swing set. It’s right next door. In winter, I can clearly see it from my bedroom window. Even now, in full foliage, I can see a lot of it through one of my office windows.

My next-door neighbor Paul built this wooden set. It’s solid as a rock. It has three swings, a slide, and whaddya call those two rings that hang down, one for each hand? It’s got that.

And here’s the best part: location. It faces the stream.

On this swing set, it feels like you are (nearly) swinging out over the water.

I can swing so high on this thing that I can touch the lower twigs of the big pine tree with my left foot.

I maintain that swinging is perhaps one of the quickest ways to become one with the moment. This swing set, especially, can stimulate almost every sense simultaneously. I can see the stream, the trees, the birds, the insects, the way the light is all spickly speckly. I can hear, especially early in the summer, the stream itself, the water level still high enough to make some noise, and I can hear the frogs and the toads and the birds and the dogs and the goats. I can smell the pine and the earthiness, and I can feel the temperature change as I swing out toward the cooling water and back again. I may not taste much, unless I bring a snack or swallow a bug, but I do get another feeling when I swing: that tickly feeling that we all fall in love with as kids and then perhaps associate with some other sensual feeling discovered a little later. (Is there a link to the word swinger here? I don’t know.)

I love my neighbors’ swing, and I should take advantage of it more often. But rest assured, last Saturday night, under the Big Dipper and next to a bonfire encircled with friends, I was swinging high.