Monday, November 24, 2008

Late November evenings

I do a lot of sitting these days as I wait (most impatiently) for this injury to heal itself. I think I'm making the most of my sedentary days and nights by reading (oh, and playing online Galaga while I sulk about not being able to run). I'm enjoying Jonathan Franzen's early rantings, pre-Corrections, some Wallace Stegner, every article ever written about a certain specific running injury (plus, how not to get fat while you have one). I'm rereading Aldo Leopold's Sand County Almanac for the third time, skipping the parts about killing wolves and enjoying his poetic imagery of Wisconsin's savanna. I pulled out some of my favorite poets earlier this weekend and remembered that I used to read more poetry before I moved to Missouri. I need to work on that.

I can't walk up hills these days, so I can't really go into Ozark woods after leaf fall as the yellow-rumped warblers move in. So, I'm packing my bag tonight and heading south for the week, the low, flat land of the pine where I can wear short sleeves and walk without causing more harm to my stupid injury. Enjoy the following Wallace Stevens poem, from an incredible collection that represents one of my favorite Christmas gifts from several years ago. A special prize if anyone can guess where the picture was taken.

The Reader

All night I sat reading a book,
Sat reading as if in a book
Of sombre pages.

It was autumn and falling stars
Covered the shrivelled forms
Crouched in the moonlight.

No lamp was burning as I read,
A voice was mumbling, "everything
Falls back to coldness,

Even the musky muscadines,
The melons, the vermilion pears
Of the leafless garden."

The sombre pages bore no print
Except the trace of burning stars
in the frosty heaven.


beetles in the bush said...

Blackjack oak, so it looks Missouri-ish, and that 'bald knob' looks White River Hills-ish. That's about the best I can do. Enjoy Louisiana!
regards -- ted

cedrorum said...

If you haven't read it already you may like Pinhook:Finding Wholeness in a Fragmanted Land by Janisse Ray.

Allison Vaughn said...

Close...I went backpacking in the Wichita Mountains of Oklahoma 2 weeks ago, a landscape not managed with fire but by grazing with bison and elk. About thirty feral hogs trotted past my tent the first morning, dammit. Have a great thanksgiving! And thank you for the book recommendation! They're always welcome!

beetles in the bush said...

Okay, pretty close.

Btw, you have been tagged, if you want to play along. Blame Adrian ;-)

regards -- ted

pablo said...

Yeah, those wolf-killing passages in A Sand County Almanac are difficult, but as I remember, it's what turned Leopold 180 degrees, wasn't it?

Allison Vaughn said...

You're absolutely right. Hence, the title of not only his biography but the most recent book on the roots of environmentalism: A Fierce Green Fire. I have a hard time with death, in general, I guess.