far too much writing, far too many photos

Earlier today: me in my car, driving north on Route 14. A nice country two-lane, Route 14, winding through beautiful countryside. I passed a farm stand that sits by the road a couple of miles from here, adjacent fields of corn standing green beneath pure September sunlight and clear blue skies. No traffic ahead or behind. Just me in my little vehicle riding this strip of asphalt as it followed its cheerful course through the area’s rolling terrain. And a big, goofy smile spread itself over my face.

This tendency of mine to be so easily pleased by life sometimes gets me wondering if I should be concerned about the possibility of excessive simplemindedness. I tend not to wonder too much because I know how comparatively dark and troubled my frame of mind was in earlier years, how turbulent and dramatic a life I created for myself back then. And I know how good it now feels to be alive and in the middle of this existence.

I was headed to a medical appointment with my new G.P., a woman I’d gotten connected with over the summer. I haven’t had a G.P. since I left for Madrid in 2000 — when I went overseas, I let my then medical plan lapse and with it the doctor I’d had through that plan. A good guy, and a good G.P. And now I’ve got another good one. Smart, friendly, competent, unpretentious. And I have to say, I like the clinic she works out of. I show up on time, they take me in for my appointment pretty much immediately. A nurse takes my weight (today, minus boots, keys, pocket change: 145), ushers me into an exam room where she takes my vitals (today: temperature – 98.8; blood pressure – 90/54; sorry, didn’t get my pulse reading –- I must have one ’cause the nurse didn’t looked alarmed), writes it all down, leaves the exam room. Two, three minutes later the doctor walks in.

I’m there for a short check-up. I’m poked, I’m prodded, I’m handled, everything goes smoothly. For the finale, she decides to give me a prostate exam and I’m reminded all over again why I don’t enjoy anal penetration: the insertion of things up my bum brings me no joy or pleasure. (”At least,” my G.P. pointed out, “I have small fingers,” a blessing I will concede.) But seriously –- if I were gay, I’d be in trouble.

It’s over quickly. I skip back out into the still-beautiful day and drive back home, thinking about a call I received from my brother earlier today. It looks like the court case I mentioned here a couple of days ago is suddenly picking up steam after three years of moving at a glacial pace, and certain recent revelations have drastically turned the situation in our favor. My brother’s all excited, we’re both pleased at the prospect of this thing finishing up and disappearing from our lives in the foreseeable future.

I drive by the farm stand, my eyes fasten on the sign advertising their soft ice cream, the wheels start spinning in that teeny brain of mine. I get home, make a big plate of spinach ravioli and consume it as I pull together this entry.

It’s now 4:30. The sun is tilting toward the trees to the west of the house. Out the front window, the valley stretches away to the north, sunlight and afternoon shadows outlining the contours of the ridges that rise up from the valley floor.

They’ve got blueberry soft ice cream at that farm stand –- vanilla ice cream with real blueberries blended in, berries grown there in the fields by the stand. This is sounding extremely good to me right now. I think the time may have come for a dessert break.


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