Trampled by Turtles

I stand alone in the crowd of unfamiliar faces. I feel my smile stretch my cheeks to my ears and a swell in my chest, oh boy! The rhythm of the banjo, the clear notes of the mandolin, the singer’s voice pauses as the bow pulls notes from the fiddle. The rhythm flows on. One song ends and the next begins. The voice sings fast. The bow plays frantic, as fingers move. Sounds from the harmonica then warmed by a voice and rhythmic plucks on strings. The music washes over me like the yellow and orange lights bath the band on the stage.The bow work hard on those strings, fingers play across the fret. That long, lonely sound. I left Nashville a fan of the fiddle. The pull in my heart as the sound emerges from the bow, drags across the strings. I, once a young girl, who shriveled as she passed through the family room, as the high tense sounds of the violin screeched from stereo speakers.

 

Listening to the sounds of Trampled By Turtles. The rhythm of the banjo, the clear notes of the mandolin, the singer’s voice pauses as the bow pulls notes from the violin. The rhythm flows on. One song ends and the next begins. The voice is fast. The bow frantic, as fingers move. Sounds from the harmonica then warmed by a voice and rhythmic plucks on the strings. The music washes over me like the yellow and orange lights bath the band on the stage. I stand alone in the crowd of unfamiliar faces. I feel my smile stretch my cheeks to my ears and a swell in my chest, oh boy! After five days of work I’m still on my feet. Wish I could close my eyes and hear the sounds played by the words on the page, right now. The bow working hard on those strings, fingers playing across the fret. That long, lonely sound. I left Nashville a fan of the violin. Open to the pull in my heart as the sound emerges from the bow. As it drags across the strings. Once a young girl shriveled as she passed through the family room where the high tense sounds of the violin screeched from stereo speakers.

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Inspired by a Stumptown postcard

Stumptown Portland Mt. Hood  – The aroma of coffee lifts high above the city ensconcing Mt. Hood.  Wish you were here.  But I’ll shove my feet on to the empty chair across from mine and stare out the window into the grey street where streaks of people move past heads and shoulders lean down toward the sidewalk avoiding Portland’s constant moisture.  Webs haven’t begun to grow between my toes, but I’ve found mildew in my boots that were pushed back in my closet.  When could the artist have envisioned this image?  Must take a lot of Stumptown coffee to get you there.  I remain grateful for the forty five minute periods of time when the sun breaks through the thick clouds that hug this city hoping to detain any warmth from escaping.  While another cup of coffee allows me to sit a little longer.  No place, no person drives me out into the street.  Would be okay if I sat here all day.  Nah, there are a few things I wouldn’t mind doing, people I wouldn’t mind seeing, but first let me finish this cup of coffee.

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Life travel – take 2

I’ve stood here many mornings at the top of the hill where the sidewalk borders the lawn neat and trim

The hill’s curvature fools the eye and for a moment reminds you, you’re standing on a planet

As I watch last night’s moon slip closer to the horizon – celestial bodies move around and together

Early morning allows space to take note of all that is about us

And I walk on along the sidewalk to the woods, realize it is my first trip around the sun without my father

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Life travel

I’ve stood here many mornings at the top of the hill where the sidewalk borders the lawn neat and trim til it runs to meet the house low and pale against early mornings’ still dark sky

The hill’s curvature fools the eye and for that moment you are reminded that you’re standing on this great terrestrial planet

Last night’s moon, our lone satellite slips closer to the horizon – two celestial bodies moving around and together

Early morning allows us the space to take note of all that is about us

And I walk on along the sidewalk to the woods and realize that on this morning it is my first trip around the sun without my father

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Claire

I sat on a rock gazing upstream for no particular reason – I suppose – but for the slope of the rock provided a comfortable seat – and the sycamore provided shade, anyways, I sat on the rock upstream-gazing and thought about walking the creek bed

so many more days a creekbed than a creek

and I remembered the summer, ten years ago – Claire and I walked the creek bed –  an agreable workout for our legs – stepped up and across boulders through the creek bed – sought balance as legs moved from one boulder to the next – navigating our steps provided time for talk – talk somehow easier when your body busy with movement – your mind volleys between the subject of the next step and words about ‘how you’re doing’

I was headed for divorce – my choice, though not easypleasantnice – Claire, I suppose, reached out to me – I considered myself her social work project – she being that kind of person

today I sit on my back porch, feet rest on the low wall around our patio and I write – I’m on the other side of divorce – Claire survived a stroke no longer able to ford steps through the creek bed – I visited her those first few weeks in rehab – in my quiet way, watched her guide my response

“The present . . . explodes over my head, flinging the air with particles  . . . it is the live water and light that bears from undisclosed sources the freshest news, renewed and renewing, world without end.”*

  • Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

 

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Magnolia

from a branch close to the trunk I see the straight boards of the fence through the dense network of branches, on the other side the red bricks of our house

within the branches I inhale the earthy smell of the fuzzy underside of the hard polished leaf

it is summer in our backyard

Bill sat on a smaller branch a little higher than where I sat

I’m sure we shared a few words with each other – but what do kids talk about anyway? we’re together – shielded by the branches

Bill’s arm cradles the trunk, his cheek rests above it, hard to say if he embraces the tree or it embraces him

a fabric of polished green Magnolia leaves allow glints of light enter our space

who knows what moves children to shift from the private space inside a tree to the cool brick floor in a family room before a television blaring “B’wana John” and a half hour with Tarzan

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writing with q’s

a quiet space where we play with a curious set of words

heads drawn to our notebooks as pens move across pages marking in silence

only the drone of the air conditioner weighs heavily

quiet

a loose queue of four or five patrons extends from the counter

yellow and red signs list taco choices

we wait and wonder when we will be next

and the words spoken were Quechua

sounds unfamiliar to our ears

shiny black hair swept back from warm brown faces

Quechua words breathed from full lips

sounds as full as the day’s length

now the Quechua woman leans against the quoin

the quoin placed hundreds of years ago

by the hands of Quechua workers

a queue of days separates

the woman here today from the men

who carried and placed it here 500 years ago

sigh

the quiet of this room

distracted by the squeak of shoes and the rattle of keys

outside

wonder when we will be next

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