I was wide awake before my eyes read the time on my cell phone and I knew there was no getting sleep back.
It is strange to be homesick for a place you’ve never lived. I am back here, though, back at this place I have called home for more than two decades. I have been reminded repeatedly to pay attention and listen. I can take that absolutely literally and be astonished by the crow having a love fest of sound behind me. I can also say I am noticing I let my coffee get cold again before I could fully enjoy it. Or the motorcycle, I am guessing from the sound of Japanese origin: I just heard that.
I can also tell myself to pay attention to what is in front of me now in my day rather than continue to lean into what was there for me last week.
I seriously drenched myself in physical literary loveliness.
It was like a binge on word-love. It was a healthy, hearty binge yet it was a binge nonetheless.
I texted a friend in Bakersfield, “This is ridiculous. I am driving past small town after small town of wonderfulness.”
This comment was from someone who loves the urban lifestyle and has adapted to the Bakersfield way of life as well. Small towns – village or hamlet style – are not my usual favorite.
What can be said by just happening by the birthplace of WEB Du Bois, Susan B. Anthony, and Edith Wharton’s summer home all in an afternoon? For reference – we are talking about the founder of the NAACP, a legendary suffragette and a Pulitzer Prize writer who was at the forefront of the literary scene during the gilded age of America.
I return to Bakersfield and as I drove my daughter to school this morning, came upon this bouquet of shopping carts. I looked out the window of my car and said, “Look, look at all the colors! Oh, this is a photo that wants to be taken!” The early morning light drenched the gossiping shopping carts with showers of new beginnings.
I see it as a different sort of literary loveliness.
Who am I to judge the value of The Mount or a tidy Victorian home on Great Barrington, Massachusetts with a shanty town of shopping carts, surrounding a cracked mirror and overgrown grasses?
Both and all are poetry, simply different flavors and available to be seen only by the eyes who are ready to see them.
Frankly, I found Edith Wharton’s Mount to be pretentious and boorish. The pet cemetery was charming but oh, the social good that could be done with such abundance – given the right administrator, perhaps. I enjoyed the more modest home of WEB DuBois as well as another home I visited last week, one which belonged to Harriet Beecher Stowe.
I mean to leave you with one noticing, however, rather than a listing of places I have been recently.
There is poetry in all of it.
There is poetry in the arrangement of trash, in the remains from today’s poverty, homelessness and drug addiction.
There is poetry in conspicuous consumption.
There is poetry on wide open country lanes and crowded, multilingual neighborhoods.
Our eyes and our ears and our observations – and the opinions we bring to the page that make the difference.
What poetry are you experiencing today?
If nothing comes to your awareness, look differently.
Poetry may be in the glasses beside the keyboard, the coffee mug, the barking dog, the lace curtains.
There is poetry in all of it.
This post is Number 13 of 30 and was inspired by the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I fell behind due to my travels and am hoping hoping hoping to catch up. Please give me some extra TLC via commenting, etc - as I will need it as I write write write for the next week or so!
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