Tuesday, May 25, 2010

sinuses & psalms

Before saying anything else, I'd like to celebrate something very special in the life of this (neglected) blog: FIRST POST EVER WRITTEN OUTDOORS!! Namely, on my back porch. With my laptop plugged into an extension cord snaking out the back door, from which I had to unplug the oven and refrigerator in order to use. Luckily, the whole rotting food thing is good motivation for finishing quickly and taking a walk....

I drove home-home this past weekend (i.e. to my parents' house) for the first time since December. Despite having a horrible sinus infection that gave me swollen glands and partygirl voice, it was a really really good trip: I got to see so many home friends, and go to one of my best friends' sister's wedding (vineyard + sparklers + pig roast!!). It was also very good for reminding me that Iowa is so beautiful in late spring, and for making me think hard about home and homecoming and all of that for the first time in a long while.

I've been interested for a very long time in the connection between people and place; most specifically, in how landscape affects and shapes American consciousness.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

long time traveling

Did I think it would abide as it was forever
all that time ago the turned earth in the old garden
where I stood in spring remembering spring in another place
that had ceased to exist and the dug roots kept giving up
their black tokens their coins and bone buttons and shoe nails
made by hands and bits of plates as the thin clouds
of that season slipped past gray branches on which the early
white petals were catching their light and I thought I knew
something of age then my own age which had conveyed me
to there and the ages of the trees and the walls and houses
from before my coming and the age of the new seeds as I
set each one in the ground to begin to remember
what to become and the order in which to return
and even the other age into which I was passing
all the time while I was thinking of something different
"The Furrow," W. S. Merwin (1997)

I've been carrying around this poem in my brain-pocket (side note: a quick Googling reveals that actual brain pockets exist!!) since April 23rd, when it was featured as Knopf's "Poem-A-Day" during National Poetry Month. Spring has always been my most restless and poignant season, and my most uncomfortable-feeling season as a result. If summer is a humid half-sleep, fall a tender sooty smudge, and winter a breath so clear it burns, then spring is a gray foal on a gray day lurching to its feet, hooves ready to leap up past the pasture and into the sky.

This year spring feels especially this way, mostly I think because I've spent 13/16 days of May traveling: the first 11 days in Europe (visiting wonderful expat college friends in the UK, Berlin, and Poland), and the past 2 days in my home state of eye-oh-dubyuh-ay for my sister's college graduation.