Friday, February 8, 2013

Blog Moving Day

I am moving my blog to my website, I hope you'll visit there to read new posts. I won't delete this blog until I'm sure everything's running smoothly, but I have imported all ¿Se enseña aquí? posts to the new blog.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Still Noticing, Collecting (Detour 13)

We spent the third weekend in January at the coast, an extended family tradition--long walks, seafood, puzzles, wine. Walks remembered and compared; stones retrieved from tide pools, examined, mulled, returned-- dropped gently, perhaps, or absentmindedly; or flung full-armed into the further surf, that pitcher's arc none of us ever truly mastered. Remembered others' beach traditions (blue glass planted for future harvest, after it might be polished by a winter's waves) and thought about collecting, noticing-- why we bother, what it means.

From Detours (Burnside Review Press):


If you throw blue glass into a field, it disappears like a stone in water.
Waiting, if the edges are sharp, for the unsuspecting foot. If it's beach
glass, already closer to a pebble than to the bottle scrap it was, it
settles unnoticed between roots, slipped by a mower blade, perhaps,
months later, or left alone, a single rock that isn't, where you think
it's not. But if you hold it to your eye, you can't see through--it's not
a lens, only a piece of old glass someone picked up, on an island in
Maine, say, on vacation, or inadvertently with the treads of a shoe, or
somewhere in between: seen inadvertently, then saved.

I'll be reading from Detours at the third annual Wine and Word Celebration at Winter's Hill Vineyard on February 16.  The tasting room is open 11-5; we'll have readings and word tastings on the hour, starting at noon. Also participating are Karen McPherson, Micaiah Evans, Cole Danehower, Eric Lindstrom, Jim Gullo, and Pedro García-Caro. Books, wine, and good company!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


There generally isn't a lot of ice where I live now. Enough to skid out in the dark, but not much to photograph--or to describe, since black ice seems to demand an absence of description. It's an unseeable hazard, or a cold mirage, flip side to the illusory oasis all those cartoon desert stragglers seem to see.

Not quite ice as arrested motion--river ice, lake ice. 

When I was a kid, we used to skate on a nearby shallow lake. I remember a brief flirtation with speed skating--arms pumping, head down, amazing grace, exhilaration. Then wipeout, sprained ankle, hot water soaks, purple bruising, crutches. Toes so cold it still surprises me some days to find I still have ten.

Or ice as reasserted motion: thaw. We spent an hour once, maybe longer, watching the front slip of ice-turned-slush break up across one of the waterfall creeks in Ithaca. Lip after slip of softening, sloughing, lost ice. And then another, and another. Another. It was mesmerizing. (And yes, we did have television then. Just.)

Earlier this month, in Boston for the MLA convention, I huddled indoors, taking full advantage of the convention center-mall-hotel-enclosed walkway complex that meant we never had to go outside. But that gets old. It can't be healthy, even if it's warmer.

So I went for a quick, near-sunset walk along the river. It was supposed to be a speed walk (arms pumping, head up, no sprains). But I found myself taking ice pictures instead. 

Grainy, soft, unremarkable, curious, not-quite-transparent, nowhere close to spring pictures. 

What if the water were still moving underneath? pictures. 

Look at the rocks people have thrown to test the ice pictures. 

How soon do you think it's going to get dark and does ice hold shadow as well as it holds light? pictures. 

Even invisible ice demands description pictures. 

And so forth.