Dunga Brook Diary

The rural life through the lens of an iPhone and notes from the field…

Archive for upstate new york

Country Life, 3.1.17


Country Life

These are the ghosts of the wild tomatoes that (each summer) rise from the loam and take over my yard. The pig jaw is from my neighbor’s carcass pile. Out here, that’s a thing. 

The picnic table they rest on is a nice pallet that the very same neighbor let me take home in the back of my truck. The pallet picnic table is held up by two junk-store sawhorses that cost me less than 5 bucks. I live in an old farmhouse (gussied up in navy blue and a red metal roof) made cozy upon my arrival by a top to bottom renovation. 

Yes, Virginia, house-poor is definitely a thing. 

LA was my base for over 20 years before this- I miss my friends and my salary and my hairdresser, but not much else.

Besides, this middle of nowhere life gives the most unusual gifts- bones and broken china and musket balls that rise from the muddy hills at the first thaw, a laboriously slow Spring that gives birth to furious pink peony blooms, a too brief Summer that passes in a swoon of greens and swirling blue skies, Falls that arrive with a riot of ripe vegetables and trees all gussied up in crimson and golds, and the winters… those old man winters…with bony white charm and eyes full of menace…one minute gifting lovely snow flakes and the next, slapping with ice…but mostly he’s toothless and doddering and by March, April, May, he’s well overlong with his stay. 

I’ve met lot of nice friends out here, all artists and poets and musicians, all outliers. 

When I first arrived, I dated the two-horse town lawyer (a most respectable gent) and followed him up with a crazy young crazy lover who came but almost didn’t went. 

I’m good now, I’m good, I’m good, I repeat with the wind as it howls down the tired old hills to knock at my windows like a ghost who’s not sure if they’ve been missed. 

I’m good now, I’m good, I’m good, I repeat while he huffs and he puffs but he can’t blow this old house down…anchored as it is with a lovely stone foundation from the 1820’s and a lot of dollars from heaven.

Last day of February. Winter in full freeze. Words to live by for Northern climes.

Winter is hard, my dears. Waiting is agony. Until you apprehend the story. The beauty of spring and summer in the northern climes depends on time ticking ever so slowly. Soon enough, the first bud, the first bee, the first peeper in the thawing pond. If not for these endless days we’d lose our wonder at what is coming…You know what is coming…how spring sashays and summer swaggers…even now, in the stillness, you know it well. XO, V

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Shoulders, a poem by Naomi Shihab Nye

Shoulders

A man crosses the street in rain,
stepping gently, looking two times north and south,
because his son is asleep on his shoulder.

No car must splash him.
No car drive too near to his shadow.

This man carries the world’s most sensitive cargo
but he’s not marked.
Nowhere does his jacket say FRAGILE,
HANDLE WITH CARE.

His ear fills up with breathing.
He hears the hum of a boy’s dream
deep inside him.

We’re not going to be able
to live in this world
if we’re not willing to do what he’s doing
with one another.

The road will only be wide.
The rain will never stop falling.

A June Peony in April

A June Peony in April

April

My peonies sleep
curled into their red roots
frozen with the ground.

I walk with what is left of winter
and discover a tiny animal, wet and black,
bereft of possibility.

It’s too close to spring to die.

William says
we need a month of sunny days
before we dig and plant.

This morning,
a hale storm threw
a million tiny pearls
onto tawny fields
that disappeared
as soon as they landed.

We wait.
We wait.
We wait.

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