Friday, August 28, 2015

The fairest time of year

The temperature's in the mid-70's; heavy rain stayed south of us; more colors are showing in the leaves; while thistle is (thistles are?) a mix of flowers and seed heads. This all goes nicely with the Minnesota state fair as Summer flows into Autumn. That means it's time for shopping for this year's pots of chrysanthemums, probably with a different color combination, and to look for wooly worm caterpillars to see if they support the prospect of a warm El Nino Winter forecast.

Autumn planting
Autumn planting
Photo by J. Harrington

Soon it will be stew and chili season, accompanied by homemade bread. Meanwhile, we're still dealing from time to time with the smoke from western wildfires, but I can't begin to figure out how this morning's waxing gibbous 98% full moon, which ordinarily is a creamy white, was turned orange by thin gray smoke covering the sky. I remember that yellow and green make blue and red and yellow make orange, but I must have missed class the day they taught how white and gray make red. This morning's moon was a much darker shade of orange, and a whiter shade of pale, than this. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go lie down. I'm still adjusting to the idea that some Minnesota school years can start before the state fair. O tempora, O mores!

shaded full moon
shaded full moon
Photo by J. Harrington

Butter

By Andrea Cohen
I’ve never seen the land
of milk and honey, but at

the Iowa State Fair I glimpsed
a cow fashioned of butter.

It lived behind a window
in an icy room, beneath klieg lights.

I filed past as one files
past a casket at a wake.

It was that sad: a butter cow
without a butter calf. Nearby I spied

a butter motorcycle, motorcycle-
sized, a mechanical afterthought

I thought the cow might have liked to ride.
You don’t drive a motorcycle; you ride it.

But not if you’re a butter cow, not
if you’re a butter cow who’s seen, if

not the land of milk and honey, the land
of milk, and dwelled within it.

It had a short life span, the butter cow.
Before it died, I looked

deep into its butter eyes. It saw
my butter soul. I could

have wept, or spread myself,
for nobody, across dry toast.


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