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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Home Schooling

My Australian sister retired recently and signed up for a journalism course at a local college. One of her first class assignments incorporated writing short descriptions of pictures found on postcards. As I mentioned yesterday, Pen on Fire by Barbara DeMarco-Barrett is my library indulgence this week. At the time she wrote the book, the author taught creative writing at the University of California, Irvine, and the end of each chapter offers exercises designed to assist would-be writers. Early on, she recommends that writers describe a scene from a postcard. Imagine that. Fourteen thousand miles apart and the homework is the same. OK, I’m in. However, since I don’t have postcards lying around it will have to be my calendar page, hanging on the inside door to the computer cubby. I’m setting a timer and we’ll all see what comes out—although my typing is God awful so I promise to edit the piece before displaying it below.


At the edge of the water garden, two Adirondack chairs balance in the shadows surrounded by moist undergrowth. White seats blend with white tipped hostas; creeping begonias blossom baby white below. In the woods a dogwood bleeds red through the dark pines; closer in, loosestrife, invasive and purple tangles at the side of the pool. The plump buds of gold tinged cushion spurge surround a single yawning lily and ornamental grasses bend forward as if to sip. Quoi or carp or goldfish must swim somewhere but they hide under waxy lily pads; behind a centered stepping stone. In my mind, a little girl dressed in pink summer seersucker braces one arm on granite fieldstones, reaching eager fingers to the quick water bugs that draw ripples on invisible skates. She has run ahead of her mother who strolls barefoot on this sultry morning, hand coiled around a mug of sweetened tea, breathing the dew smell, the green, the freshly cut grass, the faint mint of lemon thyme that mounds beside the pond. Somewhere a frog honks softly. Muted cicadas ratchet up their chainsaw whine. Cool grass tickles; humid air swallows; embraces. Quiet, shade, peace, morning--the calendar says March, but here in my cubby, the rendering is New England June.

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