Monday, October 12, 2009

First Snowfall: Frost Melon Moon

Saturday we woke to snow, brunched late and drove north through landscapes still painted by Autumn and now Fall standing boldly against the cold white, illuminated once and again by a break in the clouds: corn stubble, cattails, sumac, oak... red hawk on the air and golden eagle on dead wood...white resting heavy on green under a blaze of maple. It doesn't happen often this way.

It was quite cold--just a breath over freezing--when we arrived at my folks' place. After a stroll out to the mailbox and a gander about the place, I set about making a pot of vegetable soup for the evening's gathering at the neighbor's down the road. Their barn dance is an annual event, in honor of their daughter who died as a result of a vaccine injury as a toddler, seven years ago. This was our
first time going, and weren't quite sure what to expect. CM thought to offer this poem by Issa (one of many outstanding selections from 'The Winged Energy of Delight') but I felt it was too heartbreaking, if only as a woman without daughters of my own. Having lost one I might have found this too close:

Last night I dreamt

my daughter lifted

a melon to her cheek

So we left the poems on the table and instead brought soup (an humongous pot of it--recipe coming soon), arriving as usual to the warmth of a kitchen full of real food and good neighbors (and vice versa), accompanied this time by a fine banjo and sweet fiddle, guitar and bells and perhaps more in the room beyond... Ahh, I thought--almost in spite of myself--I'm ready to dance! And then they played my favorite song...

And dance we did, with bellies full, round and round until even the littlest kids were dizzy. We stepped to old tunes, called out keenly and played with grace, danced with joy. It was just a good old-fashioned barn dance, for real. We ended it singing, in circles. More food, more drink, more talk, more cold, and home again, right-hand star...

Sunday, Cosmic Monkey took a drive to woods further North while I stayed to work in the gardens. I did not harvest the dry beans or pick the last of the kale, nor did I wash all the root vegetables which Dad had pulled in advance of the onset of the deep cold and which were now sitting, dirty but safely in the cool of the shop. I did, however, take down the tomato fences, yank the rebar and remove the wire hoops in the front garden, cut several sunflowers (saving heads for birdseed and stalks for chipping), pull up the stakes in the front and compost gardens, put away two old wooden ladders (damn heavy, that big one), tidy up a bit and gather all the (hell of a lot of) rings from the tomatoes, peppers and melons.

It was in doing this last that I happened upon a Charentais, not yet taken by frost, among the tangled tendrils of peas and vetch. With one hard squeeze I cracked it open and to my small surprise I found inside a fruit still ripe with tender flesh--so very sweet, so dear to me--on the coldest day I'd known since our last winter.

To my brother and sisters and my new favorite Texan, my nephew, friends and others, I'm glad to have shared such an evening with you. Safe travels and sweet dreams.


JB aka JayBee said...

Beautiful, I love the way you write. Thank you for your well wishes yesterday.

fremenine said...

I love the way you read. Hope you're healing well.