Today is my wife’s birthday. She is 53. We met in Virginia when she was 18 and I was 24. One day I asked my roommate’s girlfriend if she knew any beautiful women. “I do,” she said. “My roommate.” And she giggled and walked away.
The next day after classes, I climbed the stairs to my apartment, messed around in the kitchen, and then stepped into the living room. And there on the sofa was a woman: shy, thin, smiling, beautiful. Her name was Serita.
I don’t remember what we first said. But I do remember that I immediately sat down on a chair opposite her, and that we talked and laughed, and that talking and laughing (and looking at her) was kind of otherworldly.
A day or so later I saw her on campus and we talked again, and that evening we went walking on the hill behind the college dorms. We walked up and back, then sat on a bench, and then I walked her to her dorm room.
Serita and I have been married for 35 years.
(If you scroll down, you will come to a post titled “Wherein My Wife Takes a Turn.” It’s a video. Serita shows up in the third feature.)
It’s July, high summer, and there have been rains and days of blue sky and at night the distant back-and-forth calls of the Barred owls. The yellow beans are foremost, the sweet onions, too, and soon coming are the heavy-set tomatoes and yellow sunflowers. Quetzal and her friend Christine have been swimming at Lucus Pond with the dogs, and baking shortbread, and we have been to the ocean in the early morning and likewise at night.
This morning a crow dropped into the garden for the one duck egg I threw out days ago. He landed, cocked his head and seemed to triangulate, hopped a few hops across the furrows, paused…and drilled that egg through. When I looked with binoculars, I could see egg-shine splashed across the length of his beak. And when he lifted and turned toward Pawtuckaway Mountain, I’m almost certain that shine was his only load.
From the top of Guatemala’s Acatenango Volcano (13,000’) you can see for a long way. Mexico is to the north; the Pacific is to the west; everywhere there are steep-hilled Mayan villages and fields; there is a handful of smaller volcanoes; and holding it all together finger-like are rambling, off-white Guatemalan cities.
I was on Acatenago this past Tuesday just before dark. There were eight of us, and we had been most of the day climbing. But now, suddenly, we were there, we had summited, and whole of this Guatemalan otherworldliness lay before us. Continue reading
The sun is just up where I live, so it’s up to me now. This new day, this new light, this unfolding of unused time. See it? How it slips across the dining room table and on out to the pasture? How is rides the backs of the sheep and the small grasses, the stillness? And on out the lane to the road and turning left and right simultaneously? This new day, this new light. It’s up to me now, no doubt. I can do whatever. I can pout, sing, walk twenty miles, I can do whatever. But it won’t always be thus. Because there is the coming of diminishment, the fact of my lessening, the same new days, the same new light, the same unfolding of unused time…but without me. Continue reading
A porcupine woke me in the night, him and his one-note chatter, and I listened to him and thought about him, and then I got up and went outside to see if I could find him. He was in the middle of our parking area and quite unhappy to see me. When I shone my flashlight on him, he dropped his head and put an eye on me, and we had a kind of impromptu face off. He was puffed up and quilly, black with shades of white, and he held his chin at just above the gravel and didn’t move. Continue reading