My Life as a Minister
(for Kathryn & Andy)
To say “You may now kiss the bride”
is a treasure far beyond
most treasures I’ve known.
A treasure of love (my bests,
my only kind of treasures),
a treasure built of words (my tools),
a treasure said in public
in the presence of a trove
of dearest friends—
a treasure known by all, the words
learned early on, the script, that scripture,
holy words of matrimony, most of which
I banished from the ceremony. But not
those words, and not the kiss
which with light within me
I gave permission for.
You may now and you may always
and may you for all the days
kiss and kiss and kiss
In which I spend time with superb ladies, learn about “nature names,” drink beer for dinner, watch the last nub of sun hit a land I may someday live on, stare into the red red eyes of a rabbit, play with chicks with good hairstyles, sleep three to a bed, wake up just past dawn to milk a cow and a goat for the first time, drink muchly-creamed coffee, eat purple potatoes for every meal, meet three stout sheep…and enjoy myself outrageously.
(All photos taken by me at Kate & Nick’s beautifulheavenlyanimalfilled farm.)
I was given a fur coat for my birthday this year (by my mother-out-law, who gives amazing presents–raw silk scarves & notebooks & dark chocolates & the most pristine and gorgeous hand-me-downs). I’m not here to give my opinion on fur, mostly because I’m not sure of my opinion on fur. But this is what I do know. This coat is a beauty. This coat is so warm that when I walk outside in it, I feel like I’m still inside. It covers my entire body and it is both warm and beautiful and utterly deluxe. Here’s a picture of me the day I was given it, which was a very very snowy Saturday, a day I was not expecting to leave the house but then I did and wonderful things happened.
Today I wore the coat outside to let out the chickies. The chickies had no sense of my my unnecessary glamour, but they were pretty pumped to hop up and out of the coop. Tomorrow, I’ll wear it to a black tie Academy Awards party downtown, which I am attending mostly so that I can wear my new fur coat. Also for the company. Also for general deluxeness, which is scarce in February in Vermont.
And soon friends will arrive in Vermont & it will be my birthday & I will wear the fur coat again. And then spring will come & the snow will melt revealing the hidden garlic & I will be twenty-seven & eager to plant things & eat them. And the fur coat will hang graciously on its soft pink hanger, waiting until I need it again.
Photos by Misha, who else.
Some men say an army of horse and some men say an army on foot
and some men say an army of ships is the most beautiful thing
on the black earth. But I say it is
what you love.
-Sappho, as translated by Anne Carson
photo of Littleleaf by Misha
Katie put this song on a mix for me. It’s track 14 and I skip to it as I drive up the winding hill toward home. And I sing along to it very loudly, especially the lyric that Katie must have known I’d need, the crescendo of “Been talking ’bout the way things change/my family lives in a different state.”
And then today talking to Andrew of Shake the Baron who is my friend and is moving to live in a cabin by a lake and teach guitar and record music for people and make songs through the winter. He listens to songs for melody, I listen for lyrics. Hopefully someday we’ll write a song together.
This video is is in a lonely place, a high underpass somewhere where the acoustics make them loud and resonant. I wonder how much of songs is still in the stones there. Either way I’ll sing along.
We arrived in Vermont on Friday evening. Yesterday, Saturday, we visited the farmers’ market, unpacked our trusty truck, Egret the Egret, visited piglets down the road, sampled raspberries and blackberries, went for a dip in the pond and ate delicous foods we did not cook ourselves, amen. Here’s Misha, in the sun. Here are the piglets.
The sideyard was so much fun. I was this happy:
Except I was wearing a blue crown with curled ribbons longer than my hair, a patterned poncho, and wings made out of leaves (made by Jen), and not a clown costume. As Frankie puts it,
best thing about the sideyard poetry readings:
the folks walking past on the other side of the hedge
on their way to friday-night-party
catching clips of outloud poetry
and the quick image of
a writer in the light
as they pass
What was also wonderful was how many people there were (estimates are in the high 90s), and the flower bouquets with artichokes in them (made by Ellie of course):
and how everyone got so drunk that no one bought books like these:
and perhaps the greatest miracle of the whole event is that not a single neighbor yelled at us. And people bought Misha’s photographs! And I didn’t even have a hangover the next morning! And the next morning was Saturday, and Ellie and I split a mushroom and bacon fritatta covered with blue cheese with whole wheat toast and raspberry jam. The end.
It’s something about the stance, about looking perfect but wrong with a cigarette; something about that dress, about having a sister nearby with hands on hips and a kid on stilts in the background, about that knotty sideswiped hair and the frills on the side of her stark white dress and her watch
that reminds me of today with Elspeth, buying fabric in National City to make a dress and seeing little kids dance in a Subway where we bought a Sprite and used the bathroom, receiving flowers and wrapping stones in gold wire, drinking coffee with milk and sugar from my tea set, staring at the pinks in paintings, some or all of that is in this photograph, titled “Candy Cigarette” by Sally Mann. (More Sally Mann here, on Artsy.)
(photo via art-folio by michèle laird)