Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Poem for Tuesday and Blueberry Picking

By Stanley Plumly

Mine, I know, started at a distance
five hundred and twenty light-years away
and fell as stardust into my sleeping mouth,
yesterday, at birth, or that time when I was ten
lying on my back looking up at the cluster
called the Beehive or by its other name
in the constellation Cancer,
the Crab, able to move its nebulae projections
backward and forward, side to side,
in the tumor Hippocrates describes as carcinoma,
from karkinos, the analogue, in order to show
what being cancer looks like.
Star, therefore, to start,
like waking on the best day of your life
to feel this living and immortal thing inside you.
You were in love, you were a saint,
you were going to walk the sunlight blessing water,
you were almost word for word forever.
The crown, the throne, the thorn—
now to see the smoke shining in the mirror,
the long half-dark of dark down the hallway inside it.
Now to see what wasn't seen before:
the old loved landscape fading from the window,
the druid soul within the dying tree,
the depth of blue coloring the cornflower,
the birthday-ribbon river of a road,
and the young man who resembles you
opening a door in the half-built house
you helped your father build,
saying, in your voice, come forth.


From this week's New Yorker. Plumly, whose most recent book of poems is Old Heart, was one of my teachers at the University of Maryland, so this poem makes me uneasy -- I've no idea whether it's autobiographical or imagined but it's an unhappy though lyrical thought.

Despite Monday being a holiday, I had to get up early to take the kids to the eye doctor -- when I made the appointment, I hadn't realized it was a day off for almost everyone -- and since we were up and moving and finished with the eye exams by 10:15, we decided to go up to Butler's Orchard to pick blueberries before it got too horribly hot. It was surprisingly crowded in the parking lot and on the tractor rides out to the fields, but there are hundreds of plants with thousands of ripe berries and thousands more that aren't quite ripe yet, so the staff assigned each family a section where no one had picked yet that day and we very quickly filled our containers. Butler's farm market provides recipes, so Paul made blueberry cookie bars and I believe he has plans for pie in the near future.

Blueberries coming ripe on the bushes at Butler's Orchard.

Since I didn't know we were going to go blueberry picking when we left the house, I had only my little Canon point-and-shoot with me, so these are not my best photos. Here is Paul picking berries...

...and here are the kids. (They are not really as tan as they look in these pictures.)

The berries are really this colorful, though!

Adam -- who was wearing the unpleasant disposable sunglasses ophthalmologists give out after dilating eyes -- took this photo of me.

Here he is with his nearly-full container. People bring their own and get them weighed, then get them weighed again after they're full so the container weight can be subtracted from the total.

Lots of other families had the same idea.

I suspect this means blueberry waffles are in my future.

Since we were up near Gaithersburg, we decided to go to Minerva for lunch for their Indian buffet, which we all love. I had the sambar and spicy dal and rice and saag paneer and lots of naan and gulab jamun and some kind of fabulous buttery almond cookie-bread; Daniel, who is not a vegetarian, had the rogan josh with goat and chicken tikka masala and things like that. By the time we got home, we were all full and rather sleepy from the sun, though Adam eventually went to the pool with a friend and I did laundry. I have a doctor's appointment on Tuesday and I bet I get in trouble for eating Mexican and Indian food on consecutive days -- my sodium intake has been terrible already this week!

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