Sunday, June 29, 2008

Midsummer Miscellany

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My main project, a short story submitted for a competition, is away in a shudder of electrons, so now all the ancillary things come out of the corners. I am a queen of multi-tasking. I once had to report to a woman who frequently shouted at me: "single-threaded focus" as if this were the only way to think or to work.

This morning the writing was meant to come first, but then the cats had to be fed.

In feeding them I discovered that Button has moved her kittens again. From the relative convenience of the garage--convenient for her and for me-- she could feed them and keep them warm and I could begin socializing them and finding homes for them. Now she has them in an out building with half a roof and a jumble of timbers. It seems for all the world like a post apocalypse film set with barbed wire and fencing wire making a defensive perimeter.

I was onto page 4 of my story when there was an opportunity to help out with the calves. I could have said no, but I was into my boiler suit and out the door so fast that I nearly riffled the pages off the table.

Out of my boiler suit and wellies and back to the story. By this time my coffee is cold and I'm hungry, so there was a kitchen interlude. And then shortly before midday I got down to the business at hand. In less than an hour I had fretted and re read and edited as much as could be done. I submitted it and checked that it had gone where I thought it had.

I won't hear about the story until October, so I cannot sustain a fret for that long. Into the comparative serenity of post-short story push swirled: grocery shopping, recycling, picking up the pieces of the latest house project, picking up and microwave-drying rose petals for one of my art projects, and a walk in between rain showers to the end of the farm road and back.

As I head toward the first bend in the road, I note a pair of tiny furred ears near the top of the junk heap in the out building--at least one of the kittens is in the penthouse suite.

The first field of cattle show no interest in me.

Round the bend of the road, passing the old cottage I notice the rose bush that was once someone's pride is awash with pink roses. I collect the petals from one of the roses that has blossomed and is about ready to fall to earth.

The next field of cattle are watching me with intense curiosity as I walk toward the end of the road along the slight uphill straightaway. As I get closer, they divide--the anxious half run away; the curious ones come closer and parallel me as I walk up the road. The cautious ones circle back to join them and then they all stretch out loping across the field much like children on the playground running in mock terror for the sake of the run.

I stretch my legs into the walk and breathe in the well-scrubbed air. If not for the breeze, it would be almost warm. Even so, a good time for a walk: An interlude between showers. I reach the end of the farm road, where it meets the A836. On a Sunday late afternoon it is quiet. I could stand for some minutes before a car would go by, but I have no interest in that.

I turn and start the downhill part of the walk. On my left the cattle are knotted into the corner waiting for me to get closer so they can run again. On my right is the barley almost ready to "shoot"--to have the awns turn golden and add their sussuration to the breeze. They make a gentle sigh now. In a day or two they will start maturing into a harder seed and begin the progression from green-gold to golden to the soft brown at the back end of the season.

I have given myself a day of reading before I pick up my own pen again.


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