My son, Sam, is home from California with his girlfriend, Kim, for 10 days. Our visit has been spent sightseeing, relaxing and making autumnal culinary delights at home. The temptation to indulge in alcohol has been pretty minimal as neither of them is much of a drinker. Retreating to Burlington, Vermont to visit Sam’s old UVM haunts, take in the fall foliage and eat good food, the road took a more challenging turn.
We arrived at The Vermont Hotel and got checked in. Quickly pounding the pavement, we explored Church Street, the University of Vermont and dined at our old favorite lunch spot, Magnolia. One of the main reasons that we made this trip was to see Sam’s old roommate, Anna. As students, Sam and Anna lived together for 2 years. Having new significant others in their lives since the days at UVM, it was nice that they could all meet each other at this point in time and catch up.
As the night began, I joined Sam and his friends for a round of drinks and then sent them off to dine without me. I returned to my room and watched a few innings of baseball payoffs. Being a Red Sox fan is great right now because they are doing so well. I discovered however that it’s kind of lame to be sitting in my hotel room alone. Convincing myself that it is okay to go to the bar to eat without buying a drink to watch the game, I made my way downstairs.
The scene was very friendly and being in Vermont, there were a lot of Red Sox fans in the bar. A couple of gentlemen sitting next to me even chatted me up about the team and one shared his best Red Sox memory. In high school he and his dad actually attended the turning point game 4 of the ALCS against the Yankees in 2004. You know, the Dave Roberts pinch runner game where Papi hits the walk-off home run and the Red Sox dominate the series from that point forward and go on to win the World Series for the first time in 86 years? Continue reading
Hornworm: Autumn Lamentation
By Stanley Kunitz
Since that first morning when I crawled
into the world, a naked grubby thing,
and found the world unkind,
my dearest faith has been that this
is but a trial: I shall be changed.
In my imaginings I have already spent
my brooding winter underground,
unfolded silky powdered wings, and climbed
into the air, free as a puff of cloud
to sail over the steaming fields,
alighting anywhere I pleased,
thrusting into deep tubular flowers.
It is not so: there may be nectar
in those cups, but not for me.
All day, all night, I carry on my back
embedded in my flesh, two rows
of little white cocoons,
so neatly stacked
they look like eggs in a crate.
And I am eaten half away.
If I can gather strength enough
I’ll try to burrow under a stone
and spin myself a purse
in which to sleep away the cold;
though when the sun kisses the earth
again, I know I won’t be there.
Instead, out of my chrysalis
will break, like robbers from a tomb,
a swarm of parasitic flies,
leaving my wasted husk behind.
Sir, you with the red snippers
in your hand, hovering over me,
casting your shadow, I greet you,
whether you come as an angel of death
or of mercy. But tell me,
before you choose to slice me in two:
Who can understand the ways
of the Great Worm in the Sky?
I spent Wednesday morning in the farm’s high tunnel, where the majority of the tomatoes left on the vines reside. The regional public radio station, WAMC, has been holding its fund drive. Lately listening to the familiar voices recite the mantra of persuasion over and over again has consumed hours of my working days. Call now! We have to end this fund drive! We can do it if everyone calls now. Dispersed between the cajoling, the repeated shout-out of the number 1 800 323 9262.
I used to despise the fund drive on this station. However, commuting over the last 3 years, I have come to rely heavily on the WAMC news and programming and submitted to becoming a dedicated contributor. Feeling grateful for this station, the rhythms of the incessant, repeated call to action drove my work and created a canvas for my thoughts.
Picking tomatoes alone in a field or a green house can be boring work. It can take hours to reap the rewards and feeling of satisfaction at the end. On this day, I just let my mind wander to the sounds on the radio. What kept returning to this interaction between thought, tomato and radio was a nagging feeling that I was not going to enjoy the event that was scheduled at the end of the day—a leadership social hour. This feeling of dread was compounded in my solitude. What was this all about? Feelings of not wanting to see people, talk about my job, how my summer was, the kids emerged. Philip was traveling for work and I daydreamed of going home after work to write, hang with the dog, and eat chicken wings (my dirty little secret obsession).
This was the first time that I ever considered skipping one of these events. I love this organization and these people, right? Yet, I looked down at my hands stained with perma-dirt from harvesting and I couldn’t imagine blending with the regulars at the upcoming mixer. And my hair…it looked as if I was auditioning for a Phyllis Diller lookalike contest! Reminding myself that when upon arriving home I still clean up pretty well, I concluded that it must be something else that is different. I had to acknowledge that for the moment, I have lost the desire to attend social events. Happily, my days are spent observing the cycles of the farm and the beauty in and around these fields. Continue reading