By Stanley Plumly
The two-toned Olds swinging sideways out of
the drive, the bone-white gravel kicked up in
a shot, my mother in the deathseat half
out the door, the door half shut--she's being
pushed or wants to jump, I don't remember.
The Olds is two kinds of green, hand-painted,
and blows black smoke like a coal-oil fire. I'm
stunned and feel a wind, like a machine, pass
through me, through my heart and mouth; I'm standing
in a field not fifty feet away, the
wheel of the wind closing the distance.
Then suddenly the car stops and my mother
falls with nothing, nothing to break the fall . . .
One of those moments we give too much to,
like the moment of acknowledgment of
betrayal, when the one who's faithless has
nothing more to say and the silence is
terrifying since you must choose between
one or the other emptiness. I know
my mother's face was covered black with blood
and that when she rose she too said nothing.
Language is a darkness pulled out of us.
But I screamed that day she was almost killed,
whether I wept or ran or threw a stone,
or stood stone-still, choosing at last between
parents, one of whom was driving away.
I did a lot of back-and-forth driving today. To Gaithersburg for lunch with
Jennifer from Reptiles Alive presents a king snake to an eager audience at Rock Creek Park Day.
Here she holds a box turtle, which are very common around here...
...a spotted turtle, which are now rare in this region due to human habitat encroachment...
...and a snapping turtle, which we've seen quite often in local streams and at Great Falls.
This is in fact not an amphibian but a toad.
Jennifer explained that the toxins produced by toads not only don't cause warts but in the case of these local animals don't harm humans.
Here is Reptiles Alive's very active king snake.
And here, just in time for Pushing Daisies' season premiere, are Rock Creek Park Nature Center's bees. (I post them alongside the reptiles in honor of Jack Aubrey, who -- upon discovering that Stephen Maturin has brought a beehive aboard his ship in Post Captain -- asks, "How many of those reptiles might there be?")
Pushing Daisies is finally back! I thought they did a nice job recapping the important backstory, though I wonder if it was too rushed for entirely new viewers who had no idea who the characters were. Spoilers: And I'm a little disappointed that after a season of what I thought were hints that Vivian and Lily were "aunts" rather than true siblings, now we're getting hints that they're heterosexual and really sisters after all. Oh well, they're still interesting and unlike other women on TV.
I'm not sure how I feel about the whole convent business, though the first glimpse of Olive playing Maria in The Sound of Music is utterly hilarious, and her politely calm, indignant response to finding out her belongings will be given away -- "I like my belongings, it's why they belong to me" -- is beautifully played. I suppose these nuns aren't that much more caricatured than the nuns in The Sound of Music itself, but the idea of Lily shutting her pregnant self away to hide the fact that she slept with her sister's husband -- and who is Chuck's father who died, then, anyway, and what's with the eyepatch? -- doesn't quite ring my bells.
On the other hand, I adored the story of the week, with the honeycomb decor and the bees (yay continuity for Chuck's interests) and the villain being a nasty capitalist guy rather than the woman. The costumes, set design and lighting on this show are so much better than anything else on television, maybe ever! That scene where Chuck is "caught" in the honeycomb from the light coming through the windows when she's in the office about to be attacked by the hive is just brilliant visually. And all the main characters have such lovely chemistry -- I loved Chuck diving on Emerson for a hug -- and the whole show is so hopeful about people, even though it's about bringing people back from the dead...it's so completely different from the predominant death-and-medicine-and-lawyers stuff all over television.
Was reading about living in a cosmic bubble and all our scientific theory possibly being wrong, and Jesus possibly being labeled a magician before a messiah, and the possible fate of the Aleppo codex, and a big kitty problem, because all of these are holding my interest better than the latest reports on the economy. And aww, the Cubs lost!