By Marie Howe
Once or twice or three times, I saw something
rise from the dust in the yard, like the soul
of the dust, or from the field, the soul-body
of the field – rise and hover like a veil in the sun
billowing – as if I could see the wind itself.
I thought I did it – squinting – but I didn't.
As if the edges of things blurred – so what was in
bled out, breathed up and mingled: bush and cow
and dust and well: breathed a field I walked through
waist high, as through high grass or water, my fingers
swirling through it – or it through me. I saw it.
It was thing and spirit both: the real
world: evident, invisible.
After an early-morning Uno tournament with younger son (which one of us lost embarrassingly -- oh wait, that would be me), I sent my kids off with my parents for four days in Virginia, where they are going to Williamsburg, Jamestown, Yorktown, Busch Gardens and the water park. This left me and Paul free to go out for Indian food, then I did some shopping and laundry (which I folded while watching Deep Space Nine's "Past Prologue," which I haven't seen in about ten years, and wow does that episode hold up in every conceivable way). So it wasn't a very exciting day for me but it was relatively peaceful.
Every year the Montgomery County Agricultural Fair has a toilet decorating contest sponsored by a local plumbing and electrical company; I'm not sure any of this year's entry are better than the toilet that was fishing in its own bowl a couple of years ago, but here are some of them so you can judge for yourself:
Water conservation toilet, recycling toilet and Royal Flush.
The toilet on the left has a 4H theme; the one on the right is the Hunny Pot.
"Cash For Crappers" and "The County Seat" -- the latter decorated with the insignias and coats of arms of the great state of Maryland.
Fresh Squeezed Lemonade (labeled "Fresh, Yummy, Delicious" on tank).
My favorite, the Toilet Bowl (what my dad calls the worst football game each season).
And my other favorite, the Wizard of Oz toilet ("I'm flushing! I'm flushing!").
In the evening, since we didn't have to worry about the R rating, we watched Appaloosa. I'm really not a fan of Westerns, but I love two things about this one despite it having all the usual What It Means To Be A Man baggage and being largely predictable. One is that Ed Harris tells the story without all the gratuitous bloody action that even supposed purists like Clint Eastwood has thrown into many recent films; every shot involving violence was absolutely integral to the story. And the other is that Renee Zellwegger's Allie may be my favorite woman ever in a traditional Western -- oh, she's needy and weak and selfish, but that is very much true of the heroes as well, and there is no judgment of her sexuality besides the expected befuddlement of men who see women as exotic animals. Compared to, say, Christian Bale's character's wife in the way-too-bloody 3:10 to Yuma, or the cardboard-character rape victim in whichever Eastwood movie that was, Allie is wonderful.