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Irene August 31, 2011

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
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The rain began on Saturday, during the fireworks that ended the day’s celebration of the town’s 250th anniversary of its charter. I was exhausted from all the activities—historical exhibits, vendors, a parade, a barbecue—so I didn’t attend the fireworks. I stepped onto my porch and watched the rain while the sky lit up in the distance and the fireworks boomed.

It didn’t stop raining for a long time.

I was more prepared than usual for a storm. We’d lost power twice last week, once for nearly 24 hours. I had drinking water galore in the basement and backup batteries. This time I filled my bathtub with water, as well as several huge buckets, so I could at least flush when the power went out.

On Sunday, I obsessed. Sometimes I turned on the TV. More often, I kept an eye on Facebook (after a several-hour fear-of-losing-power hiatus, that is) as people posted the horrifying scenes happening near them, not far from me.

The small river behind my own house—the word river always seems like overkill*—kept rising. My next-door neighbor Lynda and I made trips out back to check its progress. It soon left its banks and began to engulf her swing set. You know—my favorite swing set.

Our backyards are steep, which makes them not incredibly wonderful or spacious as backyards, but that steepness gave us hope that maybe the river wouldn’t take our slate-wall porches.

The water kept rising.

Worried, we decided to walk down the street to the rail-trail bridge over the river. When we saw what was happening to our neighbors several houses down, we knew we were the lucky ones. We stood on the bridge briefly to look up- and downstream. The water raged.

We didn’t walk far enough to realize that the next street down was its own river.

We walked home. We talked to the neighbors. Martha was first to offer the most obvious Parts West solution to our immediate worries: Let’s have a potluck.

We bid farewell to the rising water, now perilously close to my porch, and headed across the street to the Heights.

Martha made a roast beef and fried green tomatoes and eggplant. The rest of us grabbed what we had on hand, and, as always, somehow there was more delicious food there than could possibly be consumed by all of us—us that night being this little corner of Parts West that includes Martha and Thom and Emily and Dorothy and Laura and Chris and Eugenia and Lynda and Rich and Lorrie and Jade and Greg and Daniela and an Indigo Bunting and her Tim.

Yes, there was drinking.

Among my offerings was a peach pie, minus two slices. I’d bought it the day before at the fund-raising pie sale. Tim and I had narrowed our choice to two pies with good-looking crusts. He leaned toward the apple, I toward the peach (apple being higher risk in my book). Tim, feeling it a no-lose situation, gave in. On Sunday we dug into it, topped it with ice cream.

Dorothy brought a pie too. I mentioned mine, and she asked how I liked it. Good thing I gave it the praise it deserved because it turns out she was its maker. She also made the one we left behind. That night, we got to try her apple pie after all. Mmmmmm.

For a few moments, after dark, it stopped raining. Then it started again.

It was probably around 9:00 when we left. I had a flashlight. Lynda and Tim and I headed straight to our backyards, stopping only briefly to let the birdseed-eating skunk scamper away.

We aimed aimed our beam of light downhill. The water was lower than the swings. The river had crested. We were probably going to be OK.

And we are. There’s a bit of debris and mud in the backyard. Not for a second have we stopped understanding or appreciating our good fortune. By now, you too have probably seen the footage of the worst of Vermont. Locally, I’ve seen things I’ve never seen before, never thought possible, hope to never see again.

Our power—which was off for two hours Friday because of one downed tree—never went off.

Still, I’m afraid to dump the water just yet.

 
*No pun intended as I was writing. But there it is.

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Missing the Dead August 24, 2011

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
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with props to Jim Carroll

Nobody told me George had died
I read it in a quarterly half a year later
At Ira’s service a thousand of us cried
The gaping hole left felt more like a crater
Marguerite moved south to run out her time
Now she’s with the Great Divine
She was a friend of mine

Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
They were all my friends, and they died

Bobby was a biker, took me flying in his plane
But what brought him down was a tumor in his brain
His mom was the sweetest thing I’d ever met
She got married again, truly happy when she went
I didn’t even know that Dewey was sick
It hit me like a brick
Death is a prick

Those are people who died, died
They were all my friends, and they died

Ingrid’s plane crashed right into the ocean
Jay had a heart attack while riding his bike
Eric OD’d on a holiday weekend
The Janes slipped away in the Great Mind Heist
Jim had a burial like no other
I toast you with top-shelf tequila, brother

Those are people who died, died
They were all my friends, and they died

I got locked in a car at Stan’s interment
I had just wanted to say goodbye
John was nothing but mischief and laughter
Too good for the world, too young to die
Mary followed her husband up and away
I wonder if she saw me at the clinic that day

Those are people who died, died
They were all my friends, and they died

The Indigo Files August 23, 2011

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
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Ah, to wake up on a Tuesday morning to discover a new blog named, in part, for me!

When Deloney posted that he hadn’t saved his 365 writings, I went to a closet, pulled a binder off the shelf, photocopied his work, and dropped it in the mail.

The 365 project meant a lot to me, and I admired certain writers a lot. I wanted hard copy somewhere.

Plus, Deloney had a habit of disappearing, scaring the bejeezus out of us.

I’m looking forward to reading The Indigo Files, in which he tinkers with stuff he wrote long ago.

In Snow as It Falls August 18, 2011

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For most of this summer—to which I have been desperately clinging in posttraumatic reaction to some of late-winter’s horrors—Mali has been in my thoughts as I consider her cold to my heat, her short days to my long, her gradual gain of light to my loss of it. But when she wrote this week of being, for the first time, in snow as it fell, my heart leapt for her, even in my shock at this seemingly late initiation for such a well-traveled person. I thought back to when I was twenty, when a twenty-five-year-old Iowan down the hall saw her first ocean, and how surprised I was by that, although I shouldn’t have been.

Every experience is a new one, of course. Every minute, really. But something about exposure to the natural world feels big, at least to me. The first-times. Out of the desert cities and into the desert. The walk in a rain forest. Hanging out with puffins at the tip of the Shetlands. That purple-crowned fairy hovering over a stream. Blue, blue tropical waters. An octopus in the shallows. Moose grazing in a remote pond. Diving gannets. Osprey—trout in talons—flying overhead, as you cast your own meager line. (Forgive me. I can’t stop seeing birds.)

Walking in snow as it falls. Even when I’m sick and resentful of snow, I never quite tire of that.

August Light August 12, 2011

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It is late-summer light, cricket-sounding light, back-to-school light. It is low-river light, the light of gulping waxwings, grasshopper light. It is light that whispers keep moving, keep moving. It is butterflies-on-the-bushes light, butterflies-on-the-trail light. It is the light of dragonflies. It is sitting-by-the-lake light, listening-to-loons-call light. It is light that wonders how many more days it will get to kiss your skin. It is conference-of-corvids light. It is cloud-of-icterids light. It is light that will soon rip us from this embrace, light that knows that this is almost over and that even this sadness is beautiful.

In Which I Admit I Miss Blogging August 9, 2011

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I miss blogging.

I have variations of this conversation with lots of people lately: “I just can’t seem to catch up. I can’t get it all done.” “I can’t either.” “How did I get so much of it done before?”

I am not making much money this year. I am not actively doing anything about it. Just keeping up with the part-time work and the house-and-life-related chores is all I can manage, it seems.

But I used to work more. And blog. And get all the stuff that had to be done done, somehow.

If I never took on any work again, I still would not be able to keep up with bills and cleaning and hiring people to do stuff I can’t and groceries and cooking and . . .

I’m not playing as much as I should either.

What’s going on?

Where I’ve Been August 3, 2011

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The cat has my tongue. He bats it about, claws it, tears at it. He leaves it under a bush next door for his later amusements.

I am a woman slick with sweat, hanging out in cafés on the Danforth.

I’ve rolled away with a half sashay.