Bookends

I left the bubble last night, headed for Chelsea and one of the Tuesday Food and Film nights that the Chelsea Library is hosting together with Slow Food Huron Valley this month.  About 20 years ago Chelsea was a tattered down-on-its-heels little burg that seemed ripe to be another small-town casualty of suburbanization. Somehow, though, it turned around.  With its beautifully restored clocktower bathed in golden light, sun setting behind the Jiffy Mix silos, huge American flags flying against a clear blue sky, I don't think I've seen a prettier little town. 


In that hazy summer light I got to drive out pretty Waterloo Road to where Mill Pond Bread looks over Sugarloaf Lake.  When I opened my car door I felt like I was walking into a bread-scented cloud.  What a great feeling.  John Savanna was standing there in front of fiery ovens with a bakery full of his hand-made breads, his famous "twists" of many flavors, and 4 teenage helpers packaging things up for the Wednesday market.  The loaves of cherry walnut and the garlic cheese bread that I bought were still hot.  There were hundreds of loaves of bread and beautiful pastries everywhere; John couldn't tell me how many.  Each one made and shaped and sprinkled and brushed and packaged by hand.  Who does that any more? 


John laughed when I asked if I could take a picture of him -  "I don't know why you'd want a picture of me."  So, it's normal to him that he's making something extraordinary and doing something that almost no one does any more.   But he graciously agreed anyways. I know I'm the one being ridiculous.  But people are so often nice about it. It just encourages me. 


Cathy King from Frog Holler Organic Farm (starting their first ever CSA in July) was the featured guest at the Food and Film night. I learned that they started growing little specialty greens in the 70s, back when people thought "mesclun" was something that you did for fun.  To avoid any mix-ups, they called their greens "spring mix" just like they do now.  I also learned that about 15 different green things go into that mix - 4 or 5 lettuces, spinach, radicchio, escarole, fennel, other herbs, and, get this, flowers.  They grow flowers to put in their salad mix.  Who does that?  Who cares that much about their salad to grow flowers just to put in to make it beautiful?




Integrity
by Adrienne Rich
 
  the quality of being complete; unbroken condition; entirety
~ Webster


A wild patience has taken me this far
as if I had to bring to shore
a boat with a spasmodic outboard motor
old sweaters, nets, spray-mottled books
tossed in the prow
some kind of sun burning my shoulder-blades.
Splashing the oarlocks. Burning through.
Your fore-arms can get scalded, licked with pain
in a sun blotted like unspoken anger
behind a casual mist.

The length of daylight
this far north, in this
forty-ninth year of my life
is critical.

The light is critical: of me, of this
long-dreamed, involuntary landing
on the arm of an inland sea.
The glitter of the shoal
depleting into shadow
I recognize: the stand of pines
violet-black really, green in the old postcard
but really I have nothing but myself
to go by; nothing
stands in the realm of pure necessity
except what my hands can hold.

Nothing but myself?....My selves.
After so long, this answer.
As if I had always known
I steer the boat in, simply.
The motor dying on the pebbles
cicadas taking up the hum
dropped in the silence.

Anger and tenderness: my selves.
And now I can believe they breathe in me
as angels, not polarities.
Anger and tenderness: the spider's genius
to spin and weave in the same action
from her own body, anywhere --
even from a broken web.

The cabin in the stand of pines
is still for sale. I know this. Know the print
of the last foot, the hand that slammed and locked the door,
then stopped to wreathe the rain-smashed clematis
back on the trellis
for no one's sake except its own.
I know the chart nailed to the wallboards
the icy kettle squatting on the burner.
The hands that hammered in those nails
emptied that kettle one last time
are these two hands
and they have caught the baby leaping
from between trembling legs
and they have worked the vacuum aspirator
and stroked the sweated temples
and steered the boat there through this hot
misblotted sunlight, critical light
imperceptibly scalding
the skin these hands will also salve. 

Adrienne Rich
 

 

Copyright 2011 - The Farmer's Marketer