Changing Course

A weekend of hard rain.  The apple tree is a beautiful fountain: streams of water pearling from leaf to leaf. and the fireweed shake like wet horse tails in the wind.  But it doesn't make me want to go outside, and I can't mow the lawn for exercise which is both good and bad, I guess. 

I thought I'd write about a lovely woman I met this week who I learned had a lifetime of abuse so severe, with a self image so burned down, she cannot take a complement but from the devil himself..... but... not today... maybe soon I will write about her but I'm afraid if I do today the rain will crawl right inside of my head to settle in and threaten a flood.   

Crime is cruel all around.  One day you're a victim the next day you may be a perpetrator, and then back again. Better to watch how you talk about eternal damnation. 

But today, Jan and I went to the little farmers market in our island town. We were late and the hot house tomatoes were gone. The best of the smoked salmon too.  I think the rain kept Grace Larsen and her best-ever fry bread at home as well.  There was a good gathering of Sitkans in their rain gear buying up jellies and jams, root crops and beach greens.  I bought a beautiful spoon carved from red alder to send to a friend.  Jan ate a crab cake with a sliced tomato served on a bun made in the old Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall kitchen (Hall#1 where the market was being held)  The gathering place was the old basket ball floor which, if you follow the history of our town, is the stuff of legend.  Old friends walked through where the tables were set up. Young people had made this innovation, this Farmers Market,  years ago the old timers would have called them "Hippies".  but now many of the people selling baked goods and knit item at the tables were old timers themselves. 

An eminent historian, Robert DeArmond used to tell me about the gardens of Sitka during the depression.  He told me that if the economy softened too much in the future, and he was always predicting it would,  he'd say, "We're going to need those gardens back... I don't know if people today have enough grit to grow that much food anymore."   I suppose the old will always mistrust the young.  But today the old and the young seemed well mingled in purpose and interest.  Sharing recipes, gardening stories, canning stories.  Old people seemed happy to see the values not just passed on but practiced and celebrated, loved, even if the young seemed a bit smug thinking that they had discovered it themselves. The old ladies who had canned and pickled kelp during the war smiled sweetly and remembered when they were that young and naive, believing that they too were the first.  

Outside under a tent there was a young man playing an acoustic guitar.  The rain was beating down like a dozen cloggers on him.  He had a small amplifier for his guitar and his voice.  He was wearing a cheap hipster porkpie hat which I would have normally given him shit for, being the cruel bastard that I am.  But my heart went out to him today.  He was playing a Bob Marley song to no one in the rain  and he was doing it well. No one was standing around but the raindrops were bouncing on the black tar pavement.  And I thought,  maybe if I live long enough I could be as successful an artist as this: to play songs of praise for the little columns of rain trying to make their way back into the sky. 


Soft summer storm,

      beets, baby carrots, cabbage

waiting in the rain. 


jhs--Sitka, Ak