Friday, September 20, 2013

In Which I Ride In A Poetry Fog

Moon over water tower, seen on Blair's Ferry this morning. Now, isn't that cool?
Water in Dry Creek, a new sight this morning.

Your bicycle correspondent was in an odd mood last night and this morning. Not a bad mood, just an odd one.

In fact, the rides have been very pleasant—this morning, in particular. It was the day after overnight thunderstorms, and if you know Iowa, you know the day after a storm can be beautiful. Despite clouds, that’s what this day promises to be.

No, the oddness comes from metaphors dancing in my mind. On the way home yesterday, I passed by Elmcrest Country Club—as I do every day that I don’t take the trail ride home. The club has tennis courts that are hidden from view, but near enough to the street that you can hear that distinctive “thonk (pause) thonk” sound a tennis ball makes as it is struck by a racquet or thumps off a court surface.

I don’t mind that sound, but I found myself wondering how a writer could describe it. What metaphor or other comparison would capture something as distinct as that particular sound that seems to be made by nothing else?

It was worse this morning. For one thing, the weather has cooled and the morning was just breathtakingly fine. Before my commute, I spent a few minutes doing routine service to Francis—greasing the chain, checking the tire pressure and then pumping both tires up when it turned out I should check the tire pressure more often. I wasn’t rushing the task, and somehow the simplicity of it had me tuned into the world around me.

I had an empty bottle of bike lube. I walked around the house to the backyard to toss it into a garbage can there, and walked about 20 yards too far, carefully stepping on the walkway stones to avoid the damp earth, breathing in the morning air, admiring the sudden lushness of a parched land that has been blessed with its first deep drink of …

There, you see? Hang on. Events will conspire to make it worse.

After gazing at leaves for a while as if I were a stoner on a high (is that a simile or metaphor?), I retraced my steps, and when I got to the side garden by the wall in front of the house, a silent little shape flitted into my field of view, hovered briefly maybe 10 yards in front of me, and then zigzagged off into the setting full moon. I wrote on my other blog how, after a rare recent rain, I mistook moths on some hostas for a crowd of hummingbirds, but this was not a mistake. The iridescent shininess of his body, the upright posture of his flying—I could, only briefly, see his curved, sharp beak, but I saw it. This was no insect. This was a bird—probably, by the brightness, a macho bird, although with some species you can’t tell, and I haven’t used Google to research hummingbirds to see if the females are also bright.

Because I was just too busy enjoying this one.

And that moon! The sky was mostly cloudy grey, with just a few milky blue breaks in the west. An almost full moon was setting at 7 a.m. this morning, and it looked like a golf ball resting on a bed of cotton as it slipped through a blue patch towards a cloudy horizon.

Darn you, Carol Tyx! Again, pushing my other blog (y’all click now, you hear?), I attended a program of hers yesterday in which she described her poetry writing style.

I’m no poet, but I do write. One thing she said is that she tells her students that she sometimes suffers from a literary hangover, where she stayed up too late the night before reading a book she could not put down.

I didn’t stay up late last night reading. Instead, I wrote the post about her program and was in bed by 10:30. But, my brain must have been slightly fried by the exposure to poetry. After the hummingbird, I was entranced by the sight of water in Dry Creek (it has been dry for weeks), by the moon several times, by geese and squirrels and crows that scampered and squawked and otherwise provided unintentional distraction to the mind suddenly aware of its love for the simple, natural world around. The smell of wet soil perfumed the air, a smell I have not encountered a lot recently in this dry patch of the world.

It was cool this morning in every sense of the word. The ride was nice. And I think I was also suffering from a slight poetry hangover. That was OK, too.

Feather on the steps of Warde Hall when I got there this morning. Why did I photograph it? Because I can, man. I promise no illegal (or, for that matter, any fun legal)  substances were consumed in the writing of this blog. I'm just stoned on poetry.

No comments:

Post a Comment