Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Clipping off loose threads...

A little moral drama, an impasse, a Sophie's or Hobson's Choice: yesterday I ended the life of a seedling hickory tree growing up with the lilac just behind our house. It was most likely the scion of the old hickory about two blocks away, cut down due to disease this Spring. Was this its only viable offspring, the last of its line? It had grown lushly for about three years, but you can't have a potentially huge hardwood tree two feet from the foundation (so it was him or us). I would not have mourned a weed tree, but a hickory seems almost a native aristocrat. That same day I saw a tulip poplar seedling out front poking through the pachysandra, this time a foot from the garage foundation. Am I being tested?

Random thoughts + Internet access + Wikipedia = instant gratification/huge time suck.

I've been coming up with stand-alone verses (possibly planted in my head by some playful Muse) for decades now. I work on them a little until they sound good, with a clearly enigmatic meaning, but never expand them into a poem or song. Like clouds floating by, they have a shape and existence for a while, but no future.

What recession? The roads and parking lots are jammed, places are crowded, and some stores and restaurants bustle just like in boom times. Maybe under the surface it's like India, with more and more people swirling about, but the wealth is just sucked upward with increasing intensity.

Brother Ron says when I get out to California next week, expect to see the orange trees and apple tree full of fruit, the tomatoes producing a cornucopia, and the flowers putting on a lavish Fashion Week. One large homestead near the creek, I remember, has the entire front 1/2 acre in citrus trees, roses, and even artichokes -- nothing like that around here. I am saddened, though, to see the orange, grapefruit and lemon trees left unharvested, piles of fruit just so much trash under the limbs to eventually clean up. Could anyone be bored with paradise?

Starting to re-read James T. Farrell's classic Studs Lonigan trilogy. Has any student or critic noticed the similarity between the title character and Rabbit in Updike's series? Updike was an acute outside observer, whereas Farrell used his own life and experiences extensively, so the point of view is different, but the theme of spiritual poverty in the under-, working, and lower middle classes rings as true today as ever.

No comments:

Post a Comment