Top of Piedmont: To Watch, Listen and Ponder — Then Write!

December 2014Monthly Archives


Muzzy light buzzed – saturated. He drifted.


The sails fill, then scrape and shake against the stays. He comes about. Silence in the wind’s hole and then the breeze catches. He pulls the boom sheet tight. The boat rises briskly into the next wave. Wind dapples the surface of the oncoming waves. The gust hits with authority. The mast snaps. Thud, flash, pain and light. Wet. Drifting.

If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there, will a flower rise from where it falls?

The rose wilts. It stayed in the vase for over a week. The thin green wire that stiffened the stem held, but the bloom faded. He had never received a rose from someone. Men are supposed to send the rose!

First date. An elegant play on a thrust stage. Shakespeare: Hamlet. A clumsy kiss and then the rose in the vase on his desk the next day. He smiled.

Dream? Walk the bridge railing high above the rocks and water, at the brink, on the edge. The wind rushes down the hill and the aspen leaves rattle, splashing against each other. Perched here like a bird, he waits for the breeze to blow him off the rail.

“Wake Jimmy, wake. Open your eyes!”

The rose in the woods, next to the fallen tree, a soft hand in hand at night’s end. “I had a wonderful time.” Kiss in the twilight of the porch window. Her lips.

Dare he dream a soul pushing light against dark. Step in, step out, dance away, trip to the limit, rock and water, water and birth. Order leaks into the dream. Tired. Sleep. Dream.

The slipknot tied to the dock as the sails are run up, keeps the straining boat at bay, barely controlled, more unruly as the halyard runs skyward. Quickly released, the knot is off the cleat. Underway she leans to port, splash coming in over the starboard side, the port rail underwater. Exhilaration.

Ninety degrees and the breeze stiff out of the south. He runs the razor’s edge, spilling wind to keep the line, left arm straining, the water’s pressure against the rudder relentless.

The rose folds into the ground and the tree stands, its’ leaves fresh in the green of spring. “I have never felt this way before.” The light from deep brown eyes penetrates the darkness. Giddy, he turns. His head roars in light, past, present, oscillates.

The slip knot tethers the rose to the tree. The boat and her voice release the slipknot, his eyes open as the nurse opens the blinds. He rolls toward the chair beside his bed, rose made flesh. “Jimmy, you’re here!”

He smiles.

Pioneer Post – Becoming Our Parents

We have an old refrigerator. It’s not stainless steel, French door or bottom freezer but it has an icemaker I never hooked up because I am paranoid about hoses and connections springing leaks. Late at night, I hear this robot sound when it cycles. We fill the trays the old-fashioned way from the kitchen sink, dripping water on the floor.

On a REALLY boring day, before a foray to the grocery store, a quick reconnaissance of the depths of the fridge is required. This can be scary.

The initial exploration involves probing the freezer in an attempt to ascertain potential resources. This journey though poorly lit depths, extracts various zip locked bags.
Remember the mystery meat you used to eat in the cafeteria in high school or college? Chicken breasts, fish fillets (I think) and old packages of partially consumed bacon or breakfast sausage emerge. These items don’t have handy expiration dates stamped on them. If they can be identified, would they be palatable? I don’t want to know.

Then there are various ice cream containers. The Ben and Jerry’s Karamel Sutra purchased for an intimate dinner party is now covered by a protective coating. The frosty patina is meant to preserve the flavorful bouquet of caramel and chocolate. The sorbet secured for more delicate tastes on the other hand, is a nice counterpoint to the heavily armored creation of the boys from Brooklyn. The veneer here also must be penetrated to serve.

The top two trays of ice cubes are usually in pretty good shape. They will chill the warmest Diet Coke or Pepsi Lite. The bottom tray holds dime sized chunks of ice ideal for cocktails for elves.

Various bread bags scattered among the debris are subjected to further exploration. We bake our own bread and when it is fresh, it is wonderful – no preservatives foul the whole-wheat taste. Unfortunately, if left on the counter too long during warm days, the bread becomes a manufacturing facility for developing antibiotics. In order to prevent this, these provisions take up residence in the freezer where they are buried. Months later, the warm, welcoming smells are long gone.

After excavating the overhead unit, it is time for a strategic tour of the beverage shelves and bins below. This is the most hazardous part of the mission.

Beer in the back of the fridge is not the good stuff. That takes up residence in front. The space in the rear is also the resting place for flat bottles of tonic water. Those gin and tonics were really good last summer weren’t they? They share space with partially frozen prune juice carafes. I mean, it is winter after all.

It is now time to rappel down to the lower bins. Taking the less hazardous route, shuffling and rearranging the fruit bin first, reveals some fresh, some slightly dehydrated and some unidentifiable produce that may have graced a chilled glass of lemonade. Time to pitch that!

A lateral sashay to the veggie bin reveals more desiccated occupants, along with flaccid celery, white rimed carrots and peppers and zucchinis with no backbone. My god it’s been a long time since I was down here! With this done, the grocery list can be updated and the next adventure in commodity purchasing undertaken.

Years ago, my wife and I undertook a similar foray when we decided to clean her parent’s big chest freezer in the basement. We sorted the various packages, laying them on the floor in the rec room, reclassified and tossed the unusable. At one point, we came across four or five Virginia Slims cigarettes tucked in amongst the standing rib roasts. Giggling, we extracted them from the frost at the bottom and concluded they were there, preserved in perpetuity in case there was a nuclear holocaust.

When I look at the stuff that emerges from our fridge now, my only conclusion is that we have become our parents. Who da thunk?

12-2-2014 – Blessing, Kelsey

Sun buffed stunned water
Wind-wrapped sail tips boat to edge
Race for hot toddy

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