2 responses

  1. Good morning, Patrick!

    After the winter in Medford MA and quarantining there from mid-March on, I’m back in Maine starting another 14 days of same. Not being a covidiot, I’m just fine with that! I arrived Friday and have immersed myself in the routines of bringing my hole in the woods back into the privileges of inhabited space. The silence is simply magnificent. While I love my boisterous, cuddly granddaughters to the point of distraction, I can do without the sixteen hours a day of thunder-drumming as they traverse the spaces they occupy above me — living room, hallway, kitchen, and bar. Swear to God, though 5 and 9 they’ve yet to learn to walk; it’s always running and acrobatics.

    Only in April was I able to escape the noise when next year’s wood was delivered, four cord of fresh-split red oak. My job the first day and second was to get it off the street, curb, and sidewalk up on the edge of the raised lawn behind a three foot retaining wall. Then, sixteen sticks at a time, between 30 and, once, fifty loads a day, I wheel-barrowed it the 200 feet up the hill to the new woodshed temporarily holding the paper yard waste bags (32 of them, two bushels a piece) protected from rain until the April 27 pickup. Then the temporary pile I created could be handled the fourth and fifth times so now it’s all tucked away. After three rows of new wood seven feet high on the shed’s right side, I moved the remaining old wood from the back of the left side to the front of the right side for easy access next fall, and then filled the left side to the brim with five huge rows of new wood. I’m nuts, I know, but I love cutting wood, splitting it, AND stacking it! And it kept the punctuated thunder of their feet at bay.

    Being here three days now I am deliciously sore. I have been inordinately — yet very, very slowly — busy. For example (I crossed ii tasks off yesterday’s list), redoing a stone pedestal supporting a deck that its weight had driven eleven inches into the long winter’s alternately thawing and freezing mud, was a three hour task this time as compared with last time a dozen years ago. Crawling — slowly and with two unfixable shoulders and rapidly-fleeing upper body strength — under a deck 30 inches above the ground, moving a really heavy bottle jack around, dealing with large wood blocks, readying a new stone in that confined space, insult-to-injury getting out from under when I realized my safety cell phone wasn’t on me, is just one example. But I really like using my brain manipulating objects in three-dimensional space. It beats warping it (however pleasantly) with thc, as opposed to having to focus only on conceptual stuff. (Deep sigh . . .)

    Not that concepts and metaphor aren’t all bad. Far from it. Which brings me to a thought or two about this morning’s haiku.

    First a word, onomatopoeia. It’s been in my mental vocabulary (mentally mispronounced and misspelled, however, as I learned having to look it up just now!) since I was a boy of twelve, and was schooled (although not completely enough) in its meaning when I tried to explain to my summer camp counselor how the slap-and-retreat sound of wavelets hitting my canoe on Rudd Pond sounded just like the word ‘water.’ In my thinking, Patrick, pollywog is also onomatopoetic. It sounds wiggly, slimy, slug-like. Furthermore, all the “k” sounds in the German contradict the fleshy reality of tadpoles. Therefore, in my humble opinion, the English version is a tad (tee hee) more poetic conceptually than auf Deutsch.

    Whaddaya think? ;-)

    And stay well . . .


    • I feel like I can’t possible do justice to your comment. First, I love how children can’t walk anywhere. They just can’t. Life is so exciting and it’s like they know they have to hurry while they’re still kids. I fondly remember jumping off of hillsides, sliding in mud and rolling through weeds.

      I haven’t gotten next winter’s wood yet, but it’s due. We used about half of what we’d normally use. Climate change.

      I’m still getting calls for carpentry and spent the last week, part-time days, replacing rot and the sills of rotten windows. I’ve agreed to do work outside and in unoccupied spaces, but am still skittish to do indoor work. On top of that, I no longer take the same enjoyment in carpentry. Jobs are becoming tedious. I’d rather be devoting myself to writing full time. I may transition this year. We’ll see. Got to finish my novel. I’m just over 80000 words with 100000 as my goal.

      As to onomatopoeia, I have spent a lifetime misspelling that word. The first thing I have to confess about my haiku is that I’m not satisfied with it. It doesn’t go where I want it to—only halfway there, so I might fiddle with it before the end of the day. “Cold as icicles” is redundant and “busy” is a weak adjective. I also don’t like “pool” and omitted it in the German translation as implied and unnecessary. I put it on the blog because my schedule forces me to commit—to something. That’s not a bad thing but check back in in. Interesting that you prefer the English translation. The one thing I like more about the German is the off-rhyme of “zapfen” and “quappen”. Reminded me of one tadpole following another. :)


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