Sunday, September 20, 2015

A visit to the past

If seasons ran on a stop watch, today would present a huge temptation to hit "stop." Bee's are buzzing and foraging on the remaining flowers. I actually saw a couple of monarch butterflies landing on some roadside ditch milkweed. The midday temperature is right around 70. If I were trying to fly-fish, I might find the breeze troublesome, but not difficult. The Daughter Person invited a handful of friends for brunch. Rather than seem unfriendly and leave shortly after the guests arrived, my Better Half and I left early for our rendezvous with the Almelund Apple Festival and stopped on the way for coffee at Taylors Falls.

One of the fundamentals of community and economic development is to build on local assets. Chisago County has a notable asset in its well documented (Vilhelm Moberg - The Emigrants) and preserved history of Swedish settlement. The Apple Festival benefits the Amador Heritage Center which helps preserve that heritage. (Coming from Boston, I like to believe I know something about heritage.) Today's beautiful weather, and a lifelong love affair with apples, led to our overdue exploration of the festival.

Amador Heritage Center Swedish Immigrant Log Farm
Amador Heritage Center Swedish Immigrant Log Farm
Photo by J. Harrington

vendors setting up in the breeze
vendors setting up in the breeze
Photo by J. Harrington

dried flower bouquets for sale
dried flower bouquets for sale
Photo by J. Harrington

Porcupine Creek bluegrass band on log house porch
Porcupine Creek bluegrass band on log house porch
Photo by J. Harrington

apples really don't fall far from the tree
apples really don't fall far from the tree
Photo by J. Harrington

Once we'd explored the festival and purchased some beeswax candles and a few knick-knacks, we took a scenic road toward home, along which we discovered a good-looking sumac grove with lots of seedheads. The original batch of sumac-ade had turned out well, once the tartness was adjusted, so more was in order and there are relatively few sumac stands with terminal clusters remaining, so we promptly foraged a dozen or so clusters. During snow season, defrosted sumac-ade will be a pleasant reminder of warmer days, as will apple pie.

North of Boston

By Maggie Dietz 
Hoarfrost coats and cuffs
the playing fields, a heyday
of glistening. So there’s hope
in my throat as I walk across them
to the woods with my chest
flung open, spilling its coins.
The light so bright I can hear it,
a silver tone like a penny whistle.

It’s fall, so I’m craving pine cones.
Hundreds of maples the color
of bulldozers!
            
          But something strange
is going on: the trees are tired
of meaning, sick of providing
mystery, parallels, consolation.
“Leave us alone,” they seem to cry,
with barely energy for a pun.

The muscular river crawls on
its belly in a maple coat of mail.
Muddy and unreflective, it smells
as if it too could use some privacy.

The sumac reddens like a face,
holding out its velvet pods
almost desperately. The Queen
Anne’s Lace clicks in the wind.

A deaf-mute milkweed
foaming at the mouth.

Back at the field I look
for what I didn’t mean
to drop. The grass is green.

                            Okay, Day,
my host, I want to get out
of your house. Come on, Night,
with your twinkly stars and big
dumb moon. Tell me don’t
show me, and wipe that grin
off your face.


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