Tiny Stories, Tiny Tales

I heard the auctioneer from afar

Today, after my dear husband departed for the pleasures (computer conference geekery) of Spain, I headed out to Big Rock. My first thoughts on getting out into the country? "Oh Lordy. I need a cigarette." Yes, the country makes me a twitch a bit. The lonesome stretches between houses I once found artistic. Now, not so much. I'm a townie and I think, have always been. But since I lived in the country back then, I made it artistic in my mind. Now I don't need to. I didn't buy any cigarettes but picked up my mother and we headed over to the Big Rock Plowing Match, home of winners.

Low and behold, jars of canning. I oogled them and examined the pickles in jars. My mother felt she would win the jam competition if she ever cared to enter her raspberry jam. If she ever made it again, that is…

I wish I had pictures of some of the knitting and crochet and crewel entries but the pictures just didn't turn out. My hand was full of shakes apparently. After perusing these crafts, mom and I headed outside to look at the bizarre and wonderful stalls of the Plowing Match.

I was a little shocked at mom holding a pie, much less being the escort of a headless gentleman but all these things are taken in stride at the Plowing Match.

We strolled through the stalls, I prodded at some gorgeous salmon colored wool roving, and we stared at an old horse drawn hearse wagon in earnest. I meant to take a picture of that but forgot. Oh well. A horse show and making over a baby corgi 5 weeks old was how we ended the Big Rock Plowing Match '07. It was a lovely day and no one from the dismal past appeared. I did see a few friendly acquaintances: the post office ladies and one curious woman, Joyce, known for her interest in used clothing, used goods and prophecy. I didn't sneeze once! and I got a pork chop dinner, something this townie can never find in town. That's the country for you. Full of pork chops.

 

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A Tale of Two Worlds

I walk past a window on my way to get a glass of water and note the snow falling outside.  As I fill my glass at the sink, my thoughts have already turned back to my work on the computer. I’m wrestling with the household budget, when I’ll fit some reading in, how to get on with my writing work, when I’ll exercise, when I’ll catch up with email correspondence and the list goes on and on.

Anytime I stop my work and look up, past the chatter in my mind, the snow catches me off guard as if it’s the first time I’m seeing it. I debate whether I can put off the grocery store to avoid driving in the snow.

This is the world of the everyday. It’s full of a thousand petty cares, some essential to living, others not as much but all in a lump group, tugging us along.

But there are times my mind needs something more refreshing, and it’s time to take a break. And that’s where music comes in—as powerful as Circe creating a circle of magic with her staff. I pick out music without words (or words I don’t understand). Today is Rimsky-Korsakov, tomorrow might be the film Phantom Thread’s soundtrack, or a piece of jazz played by Lucky Thompson.

As Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Snow Maiden starts, the circle opens. I come out of the everyday world and enter somewhere extraordinary, where beauty converges with life and cares and worries exit for a time. And all it takes is a little music, a little snow, and entering the moment that is now.

I watch the snow falling, noting the wind direction as the snow blows southeast and then drops and then exhales again southwards. I note the density of the snow, how it’s light and sparkling and then downy, heavy, and wet.  My thoughts finally still and I turn off the music. A heavy relief passes over my body and mind and I am still, watching the beauty of the world.

The Fog Rises Up and We Come Down to Meet It

This winter has frozen and thawed. And then frozen and thawed once again. With the most recent exhale of cold, fog rises up from the melting ground and wraps my town in a trance.

It softens the ragged tops of trees and transforms the dead yellowed grass into a carpet spreading out into unseen lands.  With foggy foreshortened vision, the world becomes finite and in the smallness, my wonder grows.  Trees become gloomy gods, bushes hunch over like mysterious beings with secrets hidden in twiggy souls. The sky blurs out and the land rises up to meet it and everything is reformed or brought down to its most basic form. It is easy to become lost and confused.

I walk the perimeter of my neighborhood park. We become redone together.  The playground becomes enchanted, strangely unknowable as the slides and swings soften and distort.

The ballpark’s high chain link fence however, becomes more sure.  The metal darkens and braces and holds against the diffused white light.  I stare at it through my camera lens, delighted by its ferocity while everything else around it wavers and melts.

A train passes over the hill and I can see nothing, it has been whitened out, but I can hear the busy clack of the iron wheels running on steel rails.

Geese fly overhead for a minute and then vanish.

I press on and the mist parts as I walk and so we walk together, softened, softening with the night closing in behind our steps.  The night takes everything behind us, rebuilds it like it wishes and then I step into my home and close the door.

Rain falls a few hours later and the fog mounts up, gently pressing at the windows but by morning, it is all gone and only little bits of ice remain on the walkway.