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Archive for July, 2011

Dick Christian, the artist in Bantam’s between two buildings artwork, uses only primary colors on his palette board and mixes them to create incredible pastoral scenes.  His palette is literally a board left over from construction.

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#43 Air

Stillness, there is no movement of air.

I waken gasping, choking on windpipe, dry.

In a stupor from oxygen deprivation I throw

off the dry sheet and in slow, lethargic movements

will my limbs to move across the room.

Power surges through the low energy,

efficient model and immediately, air.

Sucking in the coolness, kneeling on the wood floor,

I thank the gods once more for the

breath of life in a torrid wave of heat.

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#41 Leprechaun

Maggie had brought her little skiff onto the shore, putting down its anchor near a large rock.  She picked up her book bag filled with the plastic bags where she would place plant specimens that afternoon.  The dirt at Moon-Struck Island had magical qualities, and the flowers growing were thought to have been brought there by the wee people of Ireland.  Of course Maggie did not believe in the faerie realm that was passed on through generations of the Muldoon family.  She believed that the unusual flora and fauna came from Iceland one summer during its summer solstice when the moon caught its reflection and passed it along, half way around the world, to the itsy bitsy island.  Monarch butterflies settled over the plantings shortly after, and for the entire summer that year, the flowers flourished under their care.

Maggie was ten, brown as a berry from the sun, and filled with adventure.  She had been rowing her skiff along the inlet of the ocean since she was nine, and this was the first time she had taken it to the island.

The day was splendid, warm, but not too hot; bright, but not too bold.  She sat down on flat rock at the edge of a meadow and marveled at the wave after wave of beautiful yellow and blue, red and orange flowers, some were tall, waving in the light breeze, others were close to the ground, tumbling over rocks and sandy soil.  She was hungry from the trip and took her cheese sandwich from the wrapper.  One bite, and she thought she heard a voice.  Turning in that direction, she heard it again, faintly.  It sounded like, “Give me a bite, give me a snack, help me up, and I’ll pay you back.”

Maggie scrunched up her eyes and saw nothing at first.  She remembered that her glasses were in her pinafore pocket and put them on.  Everything seemed suddenly brighter, and she could see the tiny furrows where something or someone was lying in the tiny blossoms and ferns.  She reached her hand down and picked up an unsightly little man with glasses almost as large as hers.  “Put me down,” he said, “give me some crumbs of your lunch if you will.”  She settled him upright on the stone.

“I’ve been waiting for you,” he bellowed.”  “Don’t shout,” Maggie said, “I can hear perfectly well; how did you know I was coming?”  “I was standing on this very rock, just playing my fiddle, when I saw you in your boat.  I was entirely too comfortable and had taken off my waist coat and top hat and buckled shoes, and as I dressed, a wind took and sailed my hat.  I tried to catch it, but fell off and landed where you found me, face down, so that I couldn’t right myself.”

“You poor little man,” Maggie said, “here, let me tidy you up.”  He had his red coat on, and she found his shoes and top hat atop the fern; the fiddle and its bow lay across a crimson bleeding heart.  Once he was buckled and brushed and fed with crumbs and bits of cheese, he played a familiar fiddle tune.  Maggie knew it well and stepped high and low, lifting her skirts and petticoats, twirling in the meadow.

When the day was spent, and the sun cast deep shadows on the meadow, Maggie said goodbye to her little friend.  She promised to return soon and would bring a bit of corned beef with cabbage for his snack.  She asked, “Is there really a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow that you guard here on the island?”  He laughed and touched his nose, disappeared and reappeared.  “I guard hearts,” he said, “the pot of gold is in your heart, and every time you give it away, it fills again and again and again.”

 

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Arethusa Farms is comprised of 350 gorgeous Litchfield County acres, a broad portion of it on South Street, Litchfield.  Their newly opened ice-cream shop makes and sells all of its products on site.  In addition to mouth-watering ice cream, milk and goat cheese are featured – everything is just delectable!  I will be posting pictures of the progress of the artist, Richard E. Christian, a Litchfield CT native who is known for his incredible art of realism and impressionism.  The bucolic countryside is being painted on the wall of the crossover between two brick buildings, and is the focal of a wonderfully crafted brick patio compete with water feature as shown.

We moved to Pitch Road in Litchfield when there were three children.  Every school day, regardless of the weather, I would take the carriage with daughter Margaret to meet the bus, and we would cross the road to Arethusa for milk; once a week we would buy their ice cream.  It is so nice to have them as neighbors again in the tiny Borough of Bantam where there is a continuum walk with carriage and school-aged children; a second generation.

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#39 Sleepover

The young doe had dreamy eyes and a thin frame as she nibbled on the tender plants outside the bunk house door.  I had finished arranging a pot of ferns with wildflowers with drooping pink cones in the center of a white circular table with green plastic chairs when our eyes locked through the curtained window.   I turned and reached for the Canon, and she was gone before the flash.

The bunk house had been built against the great retaining wall, in the midst of a hosta and fern garden with astilbe, wild roses and climbing hydrangea.   We would be three tonight, ages seven and eight and the age of wisdom.

Within minutes of the deer’s visit, giggling girls and their moms ran down the timber-framed steps with sleeping bags and pillows; suitcases rolling behind.  The hut was furnished with  army cots,table and chairs for crafts and cards, bookshelves, and a childlike refrigerator.  Outside a chiminea would soon be lit for toasting marshmallows; the perfect foil for storytelling.

It was near dusk when we changed into night-clothes and gathered our flashlights for a trip to the bathroom, topside.  We walked the mothers to their car and spent little time saying good nights; our thoughts on the sounds of the river, the hoot of the owl, the swish of the bats.  Nightfall.  All that was nocturnal awakened with it.  We hoped the skunk was far away and that our door and window latches held against the night’s predators.

 

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#38 Like Soft Rain

Yesterday, my niece washed my hair.  It was different that any other hair dressing appointment.  She washed it with an intimacy of love.

Hair washing with love demands that the temperature of the water be correct, that gentle pressure be applied to the scalp, intuitive  knowledge for the  rub and rinse.  It requires nothing of the person in the chair, but when applied with love, there is a sweet compliance, a release.  In silence, tender images flash with fleeting memories that beg to be touched.

As Terri applied the color to my hair, we talked about the ritual of hair washing between mother and child.  She told of her experiences with her children, and I told her of mine with my mother.  Often, long years ago, when I was moping and out of sorts, perhaps something had gone wrong at school or my boyfriend hadn’t called, my mother would sense the need to stop the world and allay my hurt by washing my hair, an intimate act, like summer’s soft rain falling on skin warmed by the sun.

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