Our Town

April 6, 2016

I awoke early, anticipating rain, and the day to come. To my surprise, there was a brilliant sunrise peeking under clouds. I drove into the light, to the convenience store to get my morning coffee. When I got out of the car, I noticed a truck driver pointing to the west. There was a black and purple sky backdrop, and a double rainbow rising up into a concatenation of racing clouds.

In front of the rainbows, a redbud tree kick line on the hilltops was backlit and neon bright, and the taller softwood trees’ budding leaves blazed with green light, like the earth was a stage for a Rockettes production of the American masterpiece “Our Town.”

Five minutes later, without thunder or lightning, sheets of rain smothered the rainbows and charged east, and I stood in the cold rain and felt cleansed. I shivered in relief, as I wouldn’t have to shower this morning. And because I am a Midwesterner, I thought of the fall and winter to come. No wonder we drink coffee, take stimulants, quaff alcohol.

As a talebearer with a renewed poetic license, allow me to hurl some pith: April Showers brings her naked girlfriend May, flowers.

I write this in the eye of the first storm. Not a leaf or a branch stirs. The eastern sky is black. The songbirds have emptied the top half of the feeder, which I refilled the evening before.

he hardwood tree in front of my office window (I haven’t identified it yet) has several large holes in its trunk and each hole hosts curious bird heads poking out. Soon it will be a condo with a baby nursery.

The flowering trees and the attendant honeybees, the stained-glass green of the grass, the fish smell of the rain, the night shift of the spotted moths, the finery of the first tiger swallowtail butterflies: this is so sexual and sensuous as to be maddening, deafening, overwhelming.

Winter is a cold, flinty man, like Scrooge. Summer is a hot war, like a yowling Maggie the Cat on her fiery tin roof. Autumn is old people leaf skiing. Spring is a woman, sapid, curvaceous, bejeweled, bedazzling, fragrant, soft and yielding, budded.

In the wonderful Bernardo Bertolucci film “1900,” an aging Burt Lancaster (if you haven’t seen “The Swimmer” and “Local Hero,” you are a seriously deprived person) plays an elderly Italian man who has climbed a tree and refuses to budge. His family implores him to come down. He replies—bellows, really—“I want a woman!”

Amen, brother.

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