far too much writing, far too many photos

One advantage of wearing clothes: they keep us warm in cold weather. Also, they cover up certain bodies that maybe shouldn’t be running around uncovered.
A disadvantage of wearing clothes: they tend to get dirty, necessitating washing.

One advantage of washing clothes: once they’re dry, they can be worn again.
One disadvantage: if you’d rather not look like you came home from a major bender and wound up sleeping on the floor, fully dressed, some clothes will likely need to be ironed.

One disadvantage of ironing clothes: it consumes hours that could be spent doing, well, just about anything else.
An advantage of ironing clothes: it provides the perfect guilt-free opportunity to crank up the TV and tune in daytime broadcasts of the World Cup.

A disadvantage of watching the World Cup: it eats up big chunks of time that could be spent in genuinely productive activities.
One advantage: it provides the perfect opportunity to iron clothes.

One disadvantage of ironing clothes: moments of carelessness can result in painful, unsightly burns on upper extremities.
An advantage: It gets rid of annoying piles of laundered non-wash-and-wear clothes.

One disadvantage of washing clothes: if one doesn’t want to stand ankle-deep in a stream pounding garments on rocks, piles of money will have to be donated to laundromat owners or washer/dryer manufacturers.
An advantage of washing clothes: they can be worn again.

A disadvantage of wearing clothes: they keep us warm in cold weather. Also, those lacking what some might call fashion sense sometimes provide wholesome entertainment for the rest of us.
One disadvantage of wearing clothes: they tend to get dirty. And so on.


Dusk — Montpelier, Vermont

España, te echo de menos.

And that pause, that last quiet fourteen days of silence, is the longest this journal has ever gone without an entry. I think. Far as I know.

ure went by quickly on this end. Life’s been jammed with, er, stuff. Going on. Some of it stuff that’s felt good, and some of it, well, you know, not quite so wonderful. The less than wonderful stuff passes, though, and Vermont’s grown more and more beautiful with every passing day, the warm season finally taking hold over the course of the last week.

So. What I’ve been doing: Plenty of work. A mountain of work. (My work, mind you, labor I want to be doing, so I do not whine and/or bitch.) And the more mundane warm-weather homeowner’s toil. With the bizarre overabundance of rain during May and the first half of this month, the lawn alone — the ocean of grass that gets mown here on my hilltop — occupied a fair amount of time whenever the weather eased up enough to allow the pushing of the mower. Plus, some big, beautiful highbush cranberry greenery outside the kitchen door underwent an infestation of cranberry blossom worms, which resulted in a fair amount of time spent out there cleaning it all out, a time-intensive affair since I opted not to go the bug poison route. After which an invasion of brown beetles took over for the many dead worms, gnoshing out on the same greenery and ranging far beyond. Resulting in more time out there killing local representatives of the bug kingdom. Me triumphing, of course, the greenery recovering and looking fairly smug.

There’s more. As I said, life’s been jammed. But it’ll have to wait. I’ve got stuff to do.


Along East State Street, Montpelier, Vermont

España, te echo de menos.

Yesterday evening, driving back from Montpelier, evening shadows stretching across the road, everything so lush and green it almost seemed unreal. As I passed North Montpelier pond, I saw two kayaks out on the water, two more still on land, the people on the shore preparing to join the paddlers already out on the pond.

Each kayak was a different color — one white, one yellow, one red, one green. Bright, eye-catching shades, all of them, contrasting with the intense blue of the sky reflected in the calm water. And I noticed the two individuals getting ready to push their kayaks into the water were short and hefty. Portly, one might say, extremely so. As were the two already out on the pond, looking like they might have had to bend the laws of physics some in order to fit into their kayaks. Not an image you see every day.

And then I was by, heading home, the evening moving slowly toward twilight. The end of a beautiful early June day, with blue skies and sunshine from start to finish — feeling especially excellent coming after a cool, rainy weekend. This morning started out with clear skies, clouds eased stealthily in. The wet blankets in the local weather biz claim those clouds will bring rain later today, that the rain will likely continue well into the weekend, maybe beyond. Time will tell.

On with the day.

España, te echo de menos.

Four days ago, Friday: two trips to town, two interesting return drives.

First: Two p.m. Route 2, heading out of Montpelier. Behind a fast-moving truck — looking like a dump truck: same wheel base, same kind of cab, but with a bed half the length or less than standard issue. We cross the bridge where the limit goes up to 50, the truck driver gives it the gas. With the increased velocity, stuff begins flying out of the back, mostly short strips of plastic, like the stuff used by surveyors to mark trees. Yellow mostly, now and then pink. Punctuated by bits of white paper that fly up out of the back, swirl off to the side of the road in the truck’s wake. Whatever they’ve got back there, no one threw a cover over it, it launches colorful litter all the way to East Montpelier, me feeling unhappier about it with each passing mile. I moved close enough to get their plate number, passed them when they slowed at the junction of 2 and 14 in East Montpelier, got the company name and town..

Back home, I gave them a call, trying to remember the last time I’d done something like this. (Answer: years. Maybe years and years and years.)

A woman answered, speaking with what sounded like a faint English accent. (Go figure.) We swapped hellos, I gave her a quick rundown of my drive behind the truck, asked if they would consider throwing a tarp over the back next time they had a similar load. Her response: flat-out denial. They only carried mulch and loam, she said, and they always covered the back of their trucks. What I saw, according to her, could not have happened. After a couple of minutes of that, I got firm. Wasn’t my imagination, I told her and I was not calling to chew them out, just to ask for good will and consideration. I could have called the State Police, I pointed out, but gave the company the respect of speaking directly to them instead of passing it off to the law. Her manner changed with the words “State Police,” her tone softened, she became more tactful. I gave her the truck’s plate number, she said they’d check into it, we wished each other a good weekend and rang off.

Later, around 8 o’clock. Just beginning the drive home, I pass an older guy who has his thumb out. On impulse, I pull over, clear a bunch of stuff off the passenger’s seat, get the door open just as the guy reaches the car. I say hello, ask where he’s going. Barre, he responds quietly. I tell him we won’t be traveling the same route for long but I’ll be glad to give him a lift to the fork in the highway. He settles into the seat, pulls the door shut, and a wave of body odor fills the vehicle, intense enough that I take a moment to make a mental adjust. The guy looks to be around sixty, is thin, unshaven, with a prominent adam’s apple. He wears work clothes — old, a bit threadbare, but neat, the pants pressed — with heavy shoes, a quilted vest, a lunch box.. He leans away from me, shoulder up against the door, speaks quietly, sparingly, doesn’t look me in the eye. I fill the space between us with some polite talk and a question or two, his responses are minimal. He reminds me of an older, smaller, more gaunt, more reticent version of Henry Fonda’s version of Tom Joad.

A minute or two later, we reach his disembarcation point. I pull off the road, let him out, say good-bye, wish him luck, again doing most of the talking. The door closes, I pull back out onto the highway and head home, the lingering odor strong enough that I open a couple of windows. Last I saw of him, he was walking off in the direction he needed to go, thin body moving tentatively in the fading daylight. And then he was out of view.

España, te echo de menos.

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