|After and Before
||[Nov. 15th, 2015|06:00 pm]
Rain was falling when I woke this morning, and fell for hours. Early afternoon it stopped and after a while the gray overcast brightened and then the clouds began breaking up. I gathered walnuts from the back lawn as bright sunlight showered down. Any that fell in the far back yard, which is still thick with yellow leaves, I left lying. The raccoons will get them tonight, but I have more than enough walnuts now. It will take me most of the winter to eat them. |
It seemed that there might be moon and stars to see tonight, but as dusk neared the clouds restored themselves, and now no light penetrates them. There might be more rain before morning, but right now there is only the sound of gathered drops dripping from the trees. Tonight it seems a melancholy sound, but the melancholy is not created by the dripping. I've brought it from somewhere in the back of my mind, and it doesn't want to be dispelled. I try to recall similar nights when my mood was lighter, but no such image will reveal itself. I wonder where thoughts are hiding when I can't bring them forth? My mind must be larger than I imagine, and full of displaced moments.
But there will be sunlight tomorrow, and tonight will be driven away, sent to lurk somewhere until it will perhaps return someday, unbidden. The more past there is, the stranger and more ungovernable it becomes, like cards being turned over, the familiar form of each more and more a surprise.
Happiness Is The Art of Being Broken
by Bruce Dawe
Happiness is the art of being broken
With least sound. The old, whom circumstance
Has ground smooth as green bottle-glass
On the sea's furious grindstone, very often
Practice it to perfection. (For them, death
Is the one definitive shrug
In an infinite series, all prior gestures
Take relevance from this, as much express
Sorrow for stiff canary or cold son.)
Always the first fragmentation
Stirs us to fear… Beyond that point
We learn where we belong, in what uncaring
Complex depths we roll, lashed by light,
Tumbling in anemone-dazzled fathoms
Seek innocence in surrender,
Senility an ironic act of charity
Easing the agony of disparateness until
That day when, all identity lost, we serve
As curios for children roaming beaches,
Makeshift monocles through which they view
The same green transitory world we also knew.
We've had so much rain that they've warned of landslides out in the country, and Snoqualmie Falls is raging. Glad you got some rain too!
No doubt I've asked in previous years whether your walnuts are the English variety or black walnuts. I've also probably complained to you that Grandma liked the latter, which grew in her Indiana yard, in cookies. Bitter, ugh.
>My mind must be larger than I imagine, and full of displaced moments.
Yes, I'm sure it is. I totally relate to your sentence about the past being like cards. I'm constantly turning over another card, at odd moments when I least expect it. It's like being ambushed by my own past.
Or maybe I'm misreading you after a glass of vinho verde. ;)
The poem's perfectly chosen and very true.
They are English walnuts (which are actually of Persian origin) but the tree is grafted onto California black walnut rootstock. The English walnut's own rootstock is more susceptible to a plant disease native to the region, so they usually get grafted.
I don't recall ever having eaten fresh black walnuts, but I did have some black walnut ice cream once. I didn't like it very much, so I don't dwell on that card when it turns over again.
When I was a kid I always tried to get the walnuts out of their shells whole, because then they looked like little brains. I don't know why it delighted me so to imagine I was eating little brains. Maybe I have some Zombie ancestry.
They taste better when they're whole! Tiny little bits just aren't the same. I don't actually like them IN things, like muffins or cookies -- I only like them when I eat them whole.
Dang, maybe I'm a zombie too. :D