– What I am thinking about this week

Lee did not ask me or anyone to follow him in writing, but I read his post, and what can I do but be prompted?

Thoughts, especially written-down ones, propagate thoughts. That is one thing I am thinking about right now.

Today in the grocery store I stood in line near an old, yet very well groomed woman. She was tiny and precise: short, thin all over, ironed black shorts and ironed white summer blouse, black framed sunglasses proportioned for her face, short hairdo the color of dried grass with a little pink to it. She paid by check. “I don’t do bank cards,” she said to the clerk. It’s a family-owned grocery store, and they accomodate habits like these. In her cart she had two of many things: two boneless chicken breasts, two russet potatoes, two yogurts. I looked at her left hand, which was bony and veined of course, and she wore two or three bands on the ring finger, one heavy with stones. Her hand seemed to droop, perhaps simply from that fatigue that strikes us all at 4:30pm, but the view of those rings and all the food twins in her cart put this phrase in my head: heavily married.

Revision is an open wound. As long as a piece or project is underway and unfinished, it is susceptible to every influence that comes near it. That’s good, but also hard to experience, and manage. On this, I will have more to say in the future.

The little toe on my right foot is swollen and black and blue. On Saturday I cracked my bare foot against a door jamb. It didn’t hurt so much then, but it hurt later, and it still hurts. Last night Jimmy said maybe I should call the doctor. I told him how Caroline Ingalls, the mother of Laura in Little House on the Prairie, which I am rereading now, sprained her ankle when she was helping Charles build their new log house. It swelled, and every night she treated it herself, by soaking it in hot water and wrapping it tightly in rags. “Let me remind you,” Jimmy said, after he helped me peel off the tape I put on to bind the sore toe to the adjacent sturdy one, “that Caroline Ingalls did not have nearby access to medical care, and you do.” There is some honor in carrying on, which I will do for a couple more days before giving in.

I am fortunate that I do not need to lose weight. Mine is normal for my height. However, everywhere you look are messages about the obesity crisis. Are all the stern warnings about food and the body akin to the temperance movement’s warnings about alcohol? Is this just a sign of our times? At the Arboretum, I was looking at bodies both thin and overweight, and I wondered if our concern has as much to do with scientific evidence as it does with a kind of fear about the uncontained body. A spill, of sorts.

After the semester ends, we need to walk around in a stupor for a few days. My brain has been like an excited puppy all semester. I’d like it to be a sleepy old dog for a while.

Why don’t boys like reading the Little House books as much as girls do? It describes log cabin building, gun cleaning, hunting, and horse riding. There are Indians and wolves. Of course, there is frontier housekeeping too: cooking over a fire, drying laundry on prairie grasses, minding baby Carrie. And the protagonist is a girl.

In reading the beautiful and steady description of the Ingallses making their life in the Western territories, I return to my blueberry project on Elizabeth Coleman White, even though she lived all her life in one place (the New Jersey Pine Barrens). She and Laura Ingalls Wilder were contemporaries — I just found this out on wikipedia — born only four years apart. They grew up in the same American moment. Both of their families farmed. The Whites, however, stayed put and were well off. The Ingallses wandered and homesteaded. Still, both girls were born shortly after the Civil War and lived through the industrialization of America. They died three years apart, in the 1950s.

What’s there? I don’t know yet. I read, I follow.

One thought on “– What I am thinking about this week

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