Monday, August 6, 2012

Somewhere, in the distance, a bittern is clanking. Last night's rain drips from the roof edge; the barn dog wuffs for breakfast; cicadas rattle among the maples. And now, to the barn dog's disgust, a pack of fox pups has begun yipping.

Early morning in early August in early 21st-century central Maine.

Now I am opening the copy of Rilke's selected letters, which I bought last Thursday for a dollar at a used-book sale outside a general store in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom." This is what Rilke has to say to me: "Looking into the interior of a house as into the flesh of a fruit is an experience I have had somewhere."

But I, too, have had that experience, mostly when walking through a city neighborhood in the winter dusk, when lamps are lit but blinds are still undrawn; when I, the wandering stranger, seem to step into the frame of these mysterious other lives. Reading Joyce's The Dead gives me the same sensation of detachment and participation.

Odd to be reading such a city-in-winter sentence when I am leading a country-in-summer life. And yet he does mention fruit. Perhaps that is the summer link.

Yesterday I picked a pail of blueberries and a pail of raspberries and a pail of blackberries, and I baked a fruit cobbler. Neither the picking nor the cooking nor the eating was at all like looking into the interior of a house. No doubt Rilke was thinking of peaches or apricots rather than berries. Who, after all, looks into the interior of a berry? Only someone with no interest in eating it, whereas the delights of a peach are enhanced by cutting, splitting, slicing, examination.

Therefore, I think I will go find a peach now and eat it. "Look, look, look all you can," says Rilke. The boys have eaten all the berries anyway.


Carlene said...

Frost's "Good Hours" comes to mind, re: the comfortable, winter disconnect/human connectedness idea.

And I stand agape at the leap from Rilke to berries.

I,too, want the epiphany found in stone fruits.

Dawn Potter said...

Perhaps it was too large a leap, but I had berries on my mind.