Tonight, I want to give you a poem from Dan Beachy-Quick's latest book of poetry, Mulberry (2006), but I don't want to violate his copyright or divert buyers away from his book. And so I will say: buy his book. Read "Record no oiled tongue, diary--". It's terrific, and terrifically lovely.
All day today, I've been mulling a single image from my July. At midmonth, I drove my teaching staff up to my favorite mid-Ohio restaurant. About twenty minutes from Gambier, we discovered that a bridge was out and a road closed (we assumed that these closures were results of our torrential July rains). Usually, when a bridge is out and a road closed, one is offered some kind of detour, but such was not the case along OH-3. We did some quick renavigation (and I thanked my stars that my father handed me the map when I was fifteen and said, "Get us through Washington, D.C." I can navigate in unfamiliar territory with something like calm, even with something like grace and ease.) and with some stealthy backtracking we were on our way again.
The benefit of our route change was that we saw parts of Knox County that none of us--and there were five of us in the car, for the trip up--had seen. It truly turned out to be the scenic route, replete with vast rolling hills, beautiful barns, plentiful herds of cattle, occasional river views.
We ate our delicious dinner--for everything is always lovely there--and climbed back into the car for the return trip. (Having had one of our number retrieved by her father during dinner, we were by that time only four.) Rather than renavigate a possibly swifter trip home, our going was simply the reverse route of our coming. We left Wooster sometime just after 9 and thus drove much of the way home through the deepening dusk, which settled through layers of perhaps the lightest, most luminous grey I've ever seen.
About halfway home, as we slid southward over the highway's hills, I saw to the west of the car a perfect scene, set flawlessly in the four seconds I could see it. A wire fence separated a farmyard from the road. Just beyond the wire fence was an expanse of utterly placid water, not a ripple or a wrinkle anywhere on it. Just beyond this farm pond was a white barn. The magic lay in the fact that the water was so still and the sky so light that the barn cast its reflection in fullest, clearest detail over the surface of the pond. The overall effect was one of otherworldliness at its best and most earthbound: in that pond was a recasting of what we were even then leaving behind. It was the moon to our going.
That scene has tugged my tide back all the day long, not least because it materialized so silently and so fully and with such fragile solidity that I didn't want to risk breaking it by calling its presence out for the other three people in the car. And the one of them to whom I mentioned it later registered no awareness that that passing moment had occurred. There's something bittersweet to me about having such a moment of strange symmetrical loveliness all to myself. Which is why--to come at this idea in scenic route fashion--I'm so glad to be trying to transmute at least some of these moments into posts and poems (and into pictures; if only I'd been able to stop and shoot that image, if only so that I could describe with greater detail). These past months, writing has become a way for me both to mourn (or, on other days, to protest) and also to alleviate some of the loneliness of such seeing. So, thank you, all of you who are reading; I know I don't thank you very often, but when I open the computer to write, I'm thanking you all the time.