Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Election season, plus #phenology

Coots, not "old coots" like yr obt svt, but the kind that float on the water and fly like waterfowl, are gathering up for migration. I suspect it's just seasonal and has nothing to do with any anticipated outcome of today's elections. For the record, I VOTED early today.

a November marsh full of coots
a November marsh full of coots
Photo by J. Harrington

Because the Republican candidate for the Minnesota House district in which we live was found to reside outside the district, our local election season will extend into mid-February. Since the legislative session starts in January, that will leave a number of us subject to taxation without representation. Thanks, Republicans! At least we probably won't have to put up with an extended period of negative ads.

I'll probably get hate mail from snow lovers, but, in the interest of protecting and extending our spell of unseasonably warm and mostly sunny weather, after voting this morning, I hustled our snow blower to the shop for "seasonal service." In the past, I've volunteered to buy a new snow blower every year if that would serve to make snow blowing unnecessary for the year of purchase. When we first bought our "grown up" snow blower, I think it got used twice all season. Frankly, I can live with that but don't let the Better Half or the Daughter Person know that's what I blogged. This year, I'm hoping the blower gets serviced and back in its stall before the snow flies. I elect to enjoy this weather while we have it.

My Mother Goes to Vote 

We walked five blocks
to the elementary school,
my mother’s high heels
crunching through playground gravel.
We entered through a side door.

Down the long corridor,
decorated with Halloween masks,
health department safety posters—
we followed the arrows
to the third grade classroom.

My mother stepped alone
into the booth, pulling the curtain behind her.
I could see only the backs of her
calves in crinkled nylons.

A partial vanishing, then reappearing
pocketbook crooked on her elbow,
our mayor’s button pinned to her lapel.
Even then I could see—to choose
is to follow what has already
been decided.

We marched back out
finding a new way back down streets
named for flowers
and accomplished men.
I said their names out loud, as we found

our way home, to the cramped house,
the devoted porch light left on,
the customary meatloaf.
I remember, in the classroom converted
into a voting place—
there were two mothers, conversing,
squeezed into the children’s desk chairs.