Wednesday, March 16, 2016

In place of home

Gusting winds, temperature in the low 40s, scattered rain, snow up north -- this kind of Minnesota March weather makes me feel "at home" in the season. We've had a really productive day around here. The "tax organizer" is completed and delivered to the accountant; fishing licenses for this season are now in the possession of The Better Half and I; I finally got to see one of my photos from last month's exhibit on display on the wall of the local coffee shop [it's the one of the Winter tree in the upper left]; and, despite being neglected for a couple of weeks, my sourdough starter seems to be responding nicely to yesterday's feeding. Tomorrow will be baking day.

"That's What Eye Saw" elements at The Nesting Grounds
Photo by J. Harrington

On top of all of the preceding, I've started to put some thoughts together for an essay about what's "home ground" for us humans and how that may relate to hiraeth and whether some or all of us are susceptible to being "imprinted" with our home grounds. I don't have, and may never find, answers to these questions, that's what make an essay so interesting. Annie Dillard explores some of these themes in Pilgrim at Tinker Creek and An American Childhood. Pursuing questions instead of answers probably applies to poems also, or else Robert Frost wouldn't have written or said “No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader.” Minnesota weather, particularly in March, is often full of surprises and raises the question of how much weather is a part of being home.

Unusually Warm March Day, Leading to Storms

By Francesca Abbate

Everything is half here,
like the marble head
of the Roman emperor
and the lean torso
of his favorite.
The way the funnel cloud
which doesn't seem
to touch ground does—
flips a few cars, a semi—
we learn to walk miles
above our bodies.
The pig farms dissolve,
then the small hills.
As in dreams fraught
with irrevocable gestures,
the ruined set seems larger,
a charred palace the gaze
tunnels through
and through. How well
we remember the stage—
the actors gliding about
like petite sails, the balustrade
cooling our palms.
Not wings or singing,
but a darkness fast as blood.
It ended at our fingertips:
the fence gave way
to the forest.
The world began.


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