Two pileated woodpeckers chip away on a dead fir. Where I stand
it is raining bits and pieces of the old tree as long sharp beaks
hammer with precise repetition in the solitude of the forest.
These two with their red-crested heads continue the hard knocks and
go on to climb higher, the noise of beaks and feet and falling
wood chips still heard in the distance as I go on towards Gazzam Lake.
In a village outside of Pont Aven we are greeted at the creperie
by the family Valmes. Mother and father, sister and her husband,
their daughter and her husband Faberce, and Danielle and Fabion.
It is a surprise to see all of the family together.
The mother and father do not speak English. The brother-in-law
is retired Royal Navy officer and he has been to New York, Los
Angeles and New Orleans. He knows some English. We talk using a
small dictionary Francais Anglais English French. He shows me
his hand that once held a lance in a war in North Africa.
I want to know more of this French war he speaks of but I do not
know the language and the little dictionary we hold will not contain
all the words needed to talk of wars and ships, the economy of
governments or imperialism in Africa.
Monsieur of Brest sits next to me eating his crepes with lanced
hands holding the knife and fork. He shows me how to eat the crepe
and recommends the saucisson campagne, the sausage of the farmer who
makes it in the countryside. He translates the phrase as sausage
of the farmer. I look to the book for a word to word translation
sausage of the countryside. With his healed hands he demonstrates
the act of the farmer stuffing sausage. We drink the cider that was
also made by a farmer from this countryside.
Here the daughter of Angeles carries on the traditional business
of her mother as her mother before her did. The batter is poured
on large flat heated plates and spread with long spatula in a circular
motion until it is amazingly thin. At just the right time it is
flipped and the egg, if an agg was ordered “crepes oeuf”, is opened
over the crepe and the egg falls in the middle. The white is spread
over the crepe until it too is very thin and the heat permeates the
crepe and cooks the egg. Cheese is sprinkled over it and then folded
from all four corners. Served fresh from this woman of the countryside.
Learn to take metal, this time copper, texture the surface with heat and
design. A simple beginner project to cut your initial out of the piece with
a jeweler’s saw. My J not a plain J, a big J with curves and a slant to the side.
The edge most be filed and made smooth. My mind is in trance from this
method. I keep filing until I almost cut myself. What a surprise to create
a weapon instead of jewelry. I ask the teacher, “What came first, jewelry
or the sword?”
Short drive ahead to the bridge in Alabama. Structurely sound destination after all morning at the museum in Montgomery. State flag criss cross in red paint, the hands of children.
A group of students move quickly through the displays, the guide stopping for a moment at the cotton gin. In the next room a KKK robe complete with hoodie.
Follow that cotton trail down to the market square, dressed in cotton shorts and tops, to profit from the unknown. Slaves were traded here under a necklace of lock and key.
On the other side of the street is the state capital building. One block to the south, the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, where plans were made.
Where others walked not so long ago, we drive the Freedom Trail, and finish where they started, the Edmund Pettus Bridge, named for a Confederate General and KKK Red Dragon.
On a building wall situated in the middle of town is a huge sign “Honor the past. Build the future.” Forgive the past and know that there are many dishonorable events.
My last day of work was Wednesday. I am saying farewell to twenty eight years of coaching. Next to nothing compared to life. Always telling people what to do. Now the real life begins. Farewell to the people was not easy. Some said goodbye to me and some did not. No tears, just smiles and recognition. Will I recognize you later on the streets, riding the ferry, or in a pool?
After breakfast I want to show Greg the lake. It is late in the morning. More people have put in boats. The sun is on the lake where we stand to decide our day. We can walk the loop around Lightning Lake. No, that will be in the shadow, Greg wants to be in the sunlight. Let’s go this way I say, we can go to the bridge. Not if its in the shadow, Greg says.
Along the trail there are patches of shade, there is grumbling along the way. We go beyond Rainbow Bridge where there are spots of sun. Greg wants only to be in the sun. He stops by a boulder on the shore and falls asleep. I walk further watching the shore and Greg, then turn back to join him. Around his boulder are plants, small seeds of sedge and lupine, and tiny birds that come to eat.
Suddenly there is a piercing sound almost like a coyote in the distance. It fills the woods with its call, startling me from my study of flora and fauna. It collapses back into silence. There it is again, this time the mind memory of the loon, the unforgettable voice of the loon. Across the lake it glides along the water, stretches its neck to call again.
hear the sound of a loon
that calls to its mate
waking the dawn
Lightning Lake is in the E.C. Manning Provincial Park in British Columbia.
It is fun planting a garden in Texas. Then the rains come and wash it away and what was a line is scattered about. See the little sprouts making their way especially the beet sprouts which are gone the next day. Keep the deer away, the slugs and raccoons, all the other garden predators that will be coming here soon. The garden was planted, I had taken great care to aline all the rows so I can watch it grow, or not.
NaPoWriMo prompt to write a story and run it backwards. Either way I have trouble gardening in Texas.