Friday, October 30, 2009

Tricks and Treats

The rain falls steady on my world, and 'tis true, to some extent, this season.  It is not truly cold yet, but the garden knows what my skin cannot.  In the garden there is memory, trained as curled as any vine, the long tail of ancient consequence, and its reckonings I share.  I agree with the mottled plants, the huge fallen Tulip Poplar leaves covered with the ravages of their short time up high, now, for the first time this season, somewhere I too glance with reckoning: my feet.  They: burned through and burnished with the accretion of a season of viruses, and new labors for their aging tree.  But I cannot shed my accretions, and so must sing with only emotion, this newest of seasons, my new scars, set down, and forever upon my skin.

How lovely, of course, this season.  The mouldering remnants of the still hot world, with the fruit of the forest and field, piled high: on sale of course.  The new colors of women's scarves and hats and boots, and the just beginning hint of a day still early, but lit by the fabled lights of man, near twilight.  The loneliest, loveliest time of day.

I drive to a new job sight, a home a friend has recently bought, and we pull, him in his truck, and me behind him, down a long drive, crackling against the limestone gravel that is the gift of my towns bedrock.  I comment to myself, since nobody is in my vehicle, goodness what as beautiful lot... the lawn and surrounding woods make a lovely secret place to live the fantasy of home and hearth.  I look over, across the lawn and see a doe...  a lone deer, tall and alert, but chewing something in the interstice of wood and lawn.  She looks as mysterious as the winter seems in it's approach.  I always forget the feeling each month brings.  I never can remember... since, I suppose, these are deep and inarticulate things, not well worn by the mechanisms of logic and philosophy.  I stand before weather, and cold, in the warm lit, remainder of a summer like yard with that doe: and can only know: for each of us time will bring what it will... but neither of us will choose the winter.

Of course, each winter brings so very many gifts.  The frost heaves the dirt in mysterious and wonderful ways, and heaves a kind of enterprise into me along with it.  The hunger for the warm abandon of different climes brings a frame of mind not available in times of ease.  The cyclical setting forth of supplies for the day, and buttoning of coats and adjusting of hats, is it's own dance, with it's own kind of sensibility and mystery.  The cold hands of a lover, cold lips, and shivering sound of a woman, as she half laughs and half shivers, is something lovely in a manner that almost makes it worth the cost of being a man.  And other things, surely, pay the debt in full.

The smell of firesmoke is something, regardless of its danger to my health, that I always consider a kind of incense of the winter.  The whole of the world tinged with its lovely preservative, meaning, and intimation, of food, warmth, longing, and everything else a children's book, from the perspective of an animal might call a "man thing."  Being a "man thing" does smell a little of danger and death, but also the life supporting genius of fire.

Ultimately, I usually dread the hottest months of summer, and love the Spring above all.  But a longer summer would drive me crazy, with super hot days, and azure blue skies, and the oppressive all consuming light of our nearest star.  The autumn does not only mean the winter, of course.  It also means the approach of my deepest time of family, at Christmas, and some changes in my work life, and practices, which come in handy, all things considered.

Also, all too soon, the Spring returns, with it's deadly threat of tornadoes, and all day thunder storms, floods, and hosts of golden daffodils.  And what would Spring ever mean were it not for these Poplar leaves at my feet?


Harlequin said...

this is just plain beautiful; I especially liked the idea ( and look, feel and smell ) of woodsmoke as incense.... lovely.

Wine and Words said...

"In the garden there is memory, trained as curled as any vine, the long tail of ancient consequence" The seasons ARE earth's memory. This was really lovely! I wanted to be there, but seeing it, smelling it, feeling it through your words was the next best thing. Why, however, is hearth and home a fantasy?

Ande said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ande said...

I also more or less dread the hot days in summer. Strangely enough, Sweden has the same blazing days you describe. I can't do anything and that kind of heat is for me oppressive.
I can see what you mean by spring. You seem to enjoy autumn, too. I love it here. The encroaching darkness with its earthly smells and chilly woods is my favorite season. Quite funny, they are letting the sheep's and goats live on their own in the woods for a longer time this year.
I saw several he-goats with thick winter coats yesterday, looking like savages in the woods; eating, fighting etc (different goaty things?).

Andy Coffey said...

Thanks Harlequin,

Gosh I need to mosey over to your blog. Haven't been there in a while. Whiskey, Ham, Latikia Tobacco, and Winter go rather well with smoke... yes.
Your pretty lovely yourself.

Andy Coffey said...

Wine and Words,

Yes I a somewhat obsessed with rather inarticulate discussions of information theory, and it goes without saying that pointy headed plants do it (whatever "it" is) in better style, in the garden, than people in the classroom (or even in my beloved books.) Boo hiss, sometimes we suck.
Your challenge about hearth and home is probably deserved. I have a tendency to abstract things that don't require such treatment. Thanks for the reminder.
Love seeing you here. Without reservation.

Andy Coffey said...

I love your pictures of animals, and the sense one gets reading your words that you live in a rural locale, where people understand themselves to at least some extent through their "animal friends." And food.

What lovely alchemy a goat brings to the rough hewn world, it's its milk, and wool, and of course their goatiness.

Thanks Ande.

Ande said...

Yes, what I like about the place is that it is a curious mix. It actually lies inside a pocket of the city. It is Sweden's fourth largest town, and I live 10 minutes from the city centre. But somehow the place has been able to keep a traditional farm (designated by the town to teach city kids about animals). We live just by larger tracts of parkland, too. So it feels like nature. Quite empty.

Feels kind of strange (and fun) walking from meadows and woods with goats, horses and hogs (resting in the mud, looking content) to car filled parking spaces and a mall not long from it. And crowds.

Lydia said...

Came via Jukka's blog, as I appreciated your comments there.
Your blog is very fine indeed.

Jenny said...

Hi Andy,

I really dig the way you notice all these changing details around you, that you see both the viruses and the lovely woods.

The description here is a pleasure to read. I am not into hot summers either. Fall suits my temperament much better and early spring, just before everything start to bloom. The times (things in general) of transition always appeal to me.

Thanks for this post!

Andy Coffey said...


Hey, I talked to this Swedish guy from Stokholm today, he was pretty intrigued that I have been chatting with the two of you (I think he could tell that I think talking to you guys is really fun and cool, and he was just making sure that he wasn't misunderstanding the strange excitable man TOO much...) I hadn't realized, for no good reason, how close Uppsalla is to both Stokholm, and the airport. The Swedish businessman works with a local Pharma Company in Bloomington. He told me that Uppsalla is slightly larger than Bloomington, with a great University, which is where I take it Jenny takes her classes. It'll be fun to visit one day.
I didn't tell him your feelings about Stokholm, partly because I am sure I would love Stokholm, being an ignorant hayseed and all. There are advantages to ignorance, Ande. Your lookin' at them.
Thanks for your comment.
Your home, does sound a lot like mine, in some ways.

Andy Coffey said...

Hi Lydia,

Well... thanks for being here. I love seeing new faces and hearing about peoples lives. It's funny how the followers names on this blog are so very far from the depth of feeling I have for them. Each of these people have taken an interest in my life, to some extent, beyond what is typical even with a family member. It's a really moving thing. And of course, given what most peoples attitude, around me is about strangers, each tip of the hat from one of us to another, is more or less to me a small miracle.
So glad to see your name, and look forward to learning more about your life.

Andy Coffey said...


I love the way you tell me just what you love. Most people certainly do not. I learned about those viruses a long time ago when I had an epiphany that the leaves actually somewhat intentionally host a bunch of different viruses, a community of disease, you might say, to protect themselves from any one "300 POUND" monster. So all the monsters are just a few fractions of a gram. Pretty smart of the leaves, don't you think.

There's also the point, that their scraggly selves just look pretty cool, even and especially as they are dying.

As I mentioned to Ande, above, I loved talking to this Swedish guy from Stokholm today. He was so intrigued at my pleasure in talking with the two of you. It was fun to shine a little silly love toward Sweden in my eyes. Such an experience can't be that normal for the businessman.
He warned me, "yes... visit Sweden...but please, do it in the summertime."
I PROMISED Jenny. So I guess my hands are tied.
Thanks for your perennial faithfulness to my writing.