Sunday, February 13, 2011

Poem for Sunday and Virginia Nature

The Ecstasy
By Phillip Lopate

You are not me, and I am never you
except for thirty seconds in a year
when ecstasy of coming,
laughing at the same time
or being cruel to know for certain
what the other's feeling
charge some recognition.

Not often when we talk though.
Undressing to the daily logs
of this petty boss, that compliment,
curling our lips at half-announced ambitions.

I tell you this during another night
of living next to you
without having said what was on our minds,
our bodies merely rubbing their fishy smells together.

The feelings keep piling up.
Will I ever find the time to tell you what is inside these trunks?

Maybe it's the fault of our language
but dreams are innocent and pictorial.
Then let our dreams speak for us
side by side, leg over leg,
an electroencephalographic kiss
flashing blue movies from temple
to temple, as we lie gagged in sleep.

Sleep on while I am talking
I am just arranging the curtains
over your naked breasts.
Love doesn't look too closely...
love looks very closely
the shock of beauty you gave me
the third rail that runs through our hospitality.
When will I follow you
over the fence to your tracks?


Our original plan was to meet my in-laws at the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore for a turntable demonstration, but they ended up having something they needed to do in Hanover. Then we thought about going to the chocolate festival at the National Museum of the Native American, but Adam wasn't all that enthusiastic (Daniel was at robotics of course) and I ran late getting dressed after lunch. So we ended up going to two nature centers in Virginia, one of which we hadn't visited since the boys were quite young -- Gulf Branch in Arlington, which has local animals on the main level, Native American artifacts and a reproduction canoe on the first level, and a log cabin and blacksmith's shop outside near the creek. Then we went to Potomac Overlook Park, which we usually visit for concerts in the summers -- several local folk musicians often play there -- but we haven't spent a lot of time in the nature center, which has snakes, turtles, raptors in outdoor cages, and bird feeders with lots of little local songbirds.

A toad enjoys a heat lamp at Gulf Branch Nature Center. (These are all from there; I'll post Potomac Overlook photos later in the week.)

This barred owl was injured in a traffic accident and can no longer fly, so it lives at the nature center.

We also met this yellow-bellied slider...

...the somewhat sluggish bees in the winter hive...

...and several snakes, all of which were surprisingly active.

This South African lizard isn't supposed to live in Virginia at all, but someone released it and it was found wandering in a nearby backyard. Since it's an invasive species and was undoubtedly a pet, it now lives at the nature center.

Outside the park has a log cabin and, behind it, a blacksmith shop where local kids are taught traditional methods, which was going on this afternoon.

I used to take photos of my kids sitting in the canoe on the lower level of the nature center. Younger son refused to pose, so here I am instead.

I need to remember to take Zane Campbell's "Post Mortem Bar" off my MP3 player, because every time it comes up in the rotation, I remember that I am not coordinated enough to walk and sob at the same time. Paul made (fake) chicken parmesan for dinner, plus Italian herb bread that sat in the bread machine all day and made the whole house smell like food. In the evening I suggested to Adam that we put on Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole -- which we own on DVD but hadn't watched since we saw it in the theater -- thinking maybe he would think I was in the mood for owls after the nature centers, but everyone correctly figured out that I wanted to watch it because Geoffrey Rush does the voice of Ezylryb. Fine, busted, but I really do like that movie -- story's corny but the animation is beautiful and all the voice actors (Helen Mirren, David Wenham, Hugo Weaving, et al) are terrific. So there.

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