Sunday, November 02, 2008

Perambulating Thoughts

Hello everyone. It’s been a while, I know—mostly due to the fact that the internet in our house is a wild and skittish thing, and will disappear at a moment’s notice. My computer is equally touchy, and will freeze as soon as the signal disappears. The end result is I’m reading emails, reading blogs, but not doing much writing. Many apologies.

The other reason I haven’t written much is the fact that my days are pretty similar: I go to work, I come home, walk the dog and fill up my evening with television, sewing, reading or writing. That’s pretty much it.

And today I forgot about daylight savings time, so I arrived at church an hour early…oops. Luckily I had a good book with me to help me pass the time.

I grew up around new developments: a few years after we moved to GB, a new suburb was developed next door, providing new and exciting vistas of play including “the clay pits” and also actual grown-up sized houses to play house in, until the realtors chased us out. A few years later the farmland to the west of us was converted into a suburb and once again, it wasn’t so much a construction site as a paradise of potential playgrounds. Even the actual playground that was built was less interesting than the muddy, rocky, watery lots that would one day contain half-million dollar homes. The streets nearest to us turned into houses and yards very quickly, but the pavement continued on through a prarie that had once been farmland, terminating at the edge of a miniature forest.

Once upon a time a younger version of me used to take a different dog to play in these forests, every day, all summer long. My imagination stretches it out over years and years, but I think I’m only remembering one halcyon summer, the one before eighth grade.

Now there is a new development within walking distance once again: New Town, where a friend has just bought a beautiful three-story townhouse. It’s a lovely community, planned so that there are restaurants and a Trader Joe’s within walking distance, little parks scattered throughout the neatly stacked homes. On the outskirts are those familiar streets—finished blacktop dead ending into forests, promises of more houses and offices to come. This is where Kizzy and I walk. Mostly because I prefer the natural sounds of the wind whistling through the trees over the artificial speakers pumping EZ-Rock into the main shopping thoroughfare. These are oak trees, the second or third wave of trees in the life of a forest, oaks that could live to be hundreds of years old…if we let them. I am mildly grateful for the streets and the manmade paths that let me approach the forest, and sad too that these convenient roads mean land that will be paved over, built upon and forever “developed.”

At the beginning of the summer, Kizzy and I discovered a new path, one that wound behind the coffeehouse into the forest. A new street was going in, and it had been bulldozed into an odd shape, but we made it over. Sticking out from the pile of rubble, however, was a deer’s leg, and a piece of hide. Rather than moving the carcass out of the way, the bulldozer operator had just shoved it along with his load so that it was partially buried, partially sticking out—one pathetic leg in the air, like a ballet dancer wearing a black slipper.

Today we saw that deer again. Time has worked her magic—time and other critters, for the bones are largely unearthed and scattered around the bulldoz’d mound in the earth. Now rib bones are evident, a broken pelvis and a skull—identifiable, but nothing that would excite the interest of a naturalist. But the mound of earth, ah, the rough bubble of dirt that was shoved up by the urgent movements of a machine, that was covered in a green coat of grass, more verdant and lush than anything else in New Town. None of the chemical and watermain fed lawns could compete with the little circle of green that marked where a dead deer once lay. It was beautiful and sad at the same time. I guess you can’t stop progress. But you can stop to watch.

On the way home I discovered that the bushes which surround the New Town bank are bayberry bushes…fairly bursting with berries. I picked a couple handfuls and I’m going back tomorrow…I’m going to see if I can make some of my own candles, colonial-style.


Samantha said...

Ah crap. Daylight savings already?! Now I have to rethink how far back you are...5 hours now right? Crap.

Diane Fields said...

lol. i understand how you feel Samantha because i have friends in Europe whose hours are totally different.