October 2, 2012

Bright Spots

Happy fall, says the sign at the Locktown Grange, and so say I.

Today was the kind of day when city rain soaks through your shoes, leaving your tights damp. Beating a few eggs for dinner feels like therapy. Now, zucchini is cooking on the stove, and a pot of water is set to boil. That zucchini, sizzling away in a cast iron skillet, is my bright spot today. So, too, are those eggs, soon to be scrambled, as is the scoop of ricotta that will go with the whole mess of it. Then the couch, and Parks and Recreation, and every other little joy that comes from closing the door on the wet, rain-soaked world and coming home.

These photos are from a walk I took over the weekend while I was out at my mom and step-dad’s farm. That’s a horse, up there, who lives around the corner. Leaves floated onto the blacktop every time the wind blew, and dry, brown-stalked dandelions stood by the side of the road, tall and scraggly save for the clusters of seeds, dense and puffy as cotton.

Before my walk I searched my high school bureau to find a pair of socks. Among the mismatched pajamas and flea market half-slips was, to my great delight, a note and a stack of tea bags from my beloved high school English teacher. She wrote:

How often, in a poem, do we mangle the real beauty we were moved by? How poorly in our art do we reflect our world…and yet, we cannot stop trying. We are driven to create, write, sculpt, and share our crude reproductions of the fine and perfect stuff of our lives.

They were words unearthed at just the right time. I thought about them all through my walk, looking up at the changing leaves, at the blue jay that stirred inside a thicket, and at the vast overcast sky. I hope her note might be a bright spot for you, too, whatever your (fine, crude, perfect) creation may be. It is always worth a try.

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Comments

  • CW: This post really makes me miss home in Ohio! I recently moved to Reno, which lacks both vegetation and rain. All the green stuff here has been planted, which just makes me sad. I only miss the rain about once a month though!1 year ago

  • Cadi: Your description of a lovely early autumn weekend is MY bright spot today! It was a scorching 101 degrees here in wine country, I’m wanting a drizzly weekday that dampens my tights very soon, and a walk in a countryside ablaze with fall!

    I’m going to chew on that quote from your English teacher for a bit. It definitely has my attention and my curiosity piqued. Such true, wise words. Thanks for sharing them with us!1 year ago

  • geek+nerd: What a magical find! Wonderful glimpse of your day, Sarah.1 year ago

  • Julie: You make a soggy fall afternoon seem downright magical! If I’m a summer blogger at heart, you are most definitely the queen of autumnal musings. And what an amazing English teacher you had!

    P.S. Is it my imagination, or does it look a little different around here?1 year ago

  • Katie @ cakes, tea and dreams: I love these bright spots. In a week where I need some, thanks for providing a little magic.1 year ago

  • Amy C: Lovely!

    First of all, HOW GOOD is Parks and Rec? I think it is “literally” one of the funniest shows I have ever seen (oh how I adore Rob Lowe!)

    Second, I’m headed up to Woodstock next week, and am so looking forward to those long country wanders. Horse pastures, blowing leaves…sigh!

    Third, don’t you love rummaging through old drawers full of past items? Finding some of the things I saved from high school – silly notes from friends, ticket stubs, a beloved scarf, and all sorts of little items I thought were so important at the time, but are nothing more than junk now – it’s a great way to pass a rainy afternoon :) 1 year ago

  • Art & Lemons: Oh how I wish I had had your high school English teacher, what a lovely little note to rediscover. I like all the bright spots you found and shared. Thanks!1 year ago

  • Elizabeth: Oh your pictures look a lot like here but we are mostly red and yellow and orange and even a few already bare. It has been a dry fall so far, good for colors and harvesting.

    PARKS AND REC! YEAY! It IS literally the best show on TV. In preparation of the new season I rewatched all the previous on DVD. My daughter and I watched on HULU at the kitchen table while eating dinner…lovely big garden salads with feta cheese and olives and kidney beans and Bac’un bits.

    Nice you can revisit your growing up home.1 year ago

  • ML Bishop: posts like these are why we love this blog so much! :) 1 year ago

  • camilla: lovely lovely post. there’s nothing I like better than a country walk in the rain in my wellies and you took me with you today.1 year ago

  • Doris: I need to look up Parks and Rec, we don’t have it in Germany (yet). What a lovely post, Sarah. And what an amazing English teacher you must have had. This comes to me at a time when I rediscover a picture I painted nearly 20 years ago. I looked at it with fresh eyes just last night and everything came right back to me – the time, the feelings – all those memories. For some reason this picture reminds me much better of that particular time in my life back then than any photograph could. I too could not stop myself from trying to recreate the beautiful flowers that I saw back then.
    We are not perfect, our art is not perfect, but it does not matter. It’s the stories behind our art that count.1 year ago

  • Anna: I love her note; what a great teacher to have had! And how great to have unearthed it unexpectedly like that. Happy fall!1 year ago

  • molly: I could not imagine how the title worked in until I got there. And then BOOM. Brilliant. Just plain evocative. And true.

    Feel better, Sarah. And until then? Off to check out the squash and lentil stew…1 year ago

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Why not seize the pleasure at once? How often is happiness destroyed by preparation, foolish preparations.
- Jane Austen