Thursday, January 8, 2015

Notes from the Bottom of the Country

Whipping up a notebook from scratch is harder than baking a cake from memory.

An unobstructed view of the sky is essential for well-being.  A clearing brings clarity.  How to declutter without a clearing?

It still hurts to think of her.

I got locked out of the writing studio and had to jump off the boardwalk into the scrub brush.  Every goddamn snake in Florida was lying in wait.  The tips of scrub palmetto leaflets, as well as their edges, are as sharp as they look.  Scrub palmettos are endemic to this place; they grow nowhere else on the planet.  Walter Tennyson Swingle was the first botanist to describe this species.  If I lived at the turn-of-the-last-century, perhaps I would have been Joanna Tennyson Swingle? In his classification, Mr. Swingle neglected to mention the pain scrub palmettos inflict on the distracted writer.

Playing Chopin for the first time in a decade, I cried.  How many tears have been spilled for Chopin?  Who has spilled them, and do the notes touch the same chords in the cryers' souls as they do in mine?  Are we soulmates?  Soulmate.  Our souls are friends.

I am healthy, yet picking up this pen exhausts me.

"To pay attention, this is our endless / and proper work." -- Mary Oliver
Things I attend to at the path's edge:  Grass, decomposing bit of paper, cigarette butt, twigs, weeds, dead leaves, dry (dead?) moss, tiny clam shells far from the ocean, heavy shade with one dapple (a new unit of measurement.)  There is nothing uniquely fascinating about why I have noticed these and not others.  It is just this way.  It is.  Just.  This way.

I went to the beach and harassed the wildlife.  Fish swam, birds flew away from me.  I was alone.

How many poems could I have written in the time it took a shell to turn to sand?

"Ahead of dangerously cold weather," the government today warned my family, "take steps to protect yourselves and help others who may be at increased risk."  I am frolicking in the sand.

Who brings a paperclip to a National Seashore?  There is one, bent open as though it held a great many more sheets than it was designed to hold, rusting in Parking Area 2.  It is in the center of a painted white line that keeps the cars arranged in tidy rows.  A manuscript of automobiles.

"In the surf, where you like to wade, swim, and ride the waves, there lives a world of creatures.  Some live beneath your toes, others swim around your legs." -- Interpretive Sign, Cape Canaveral.  I'd rather not know.

A great many strangers live at the corner of Snook Avenue and Turtle Mound.  They can all hear the ocean's roar.

The plants are waving goodnight, until we meet again, to the sun.

The sun is round; its reflection on water is long and straight.

"...I'm an idiot for thinking / the world could be a story I tell myself / to make myself feel better." -- Matthew Dickman.  I am definitely an idiot.  I will keep on telling.

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