The Five Poets Of Symbolic Woods

30 Aug

Our porchlight flatters the deer out here. Tonight I count twelve of them. White tails. As many adults as young fawns still spotted. Even tonight I do not a buck from a doe unless I sight an antlered stag, but the latter has never made it onto this property long enough to make an impression upon my eyes. But no matter. I'm not a hunter. Not yet. There could be more of these beautiful but pesky critters hidden beyond the array of Douglas fir and maple trees scattered around the front acreage. The late August air greets my nostrils with a slight chill. The hanging pots that get watered every or every other day look well-tended.

I notice again the extra yard work we never find time to tend. Five plus acres to mow meets our requirement for due diligence these days as we wither in our sixties after several decades of caloric indulgence. Okay, that is my excuse, not hers. She's six years my senior, and is a solid trooper at the desk, the highway, the city streets, as well as the tractor, but creeping decrepitude, and in my case, fast-tracked geriatrics, is a nasty surprise for the traditionally decadent, no matter how one divvies up the six pack and dubious preservative-soaked TV dinners.

white tailed deer

Bretton Woods V

Other observations include some carpentry and painting work that is long overdue. We came across a carpenter slash painter early in the summer. After purchasing and having delivered a young beauty of a Japanese maple from the Home Depot in nearby Leesburg, the saleswoman suggested we give this guy she knew a call to plant the thing. Seemed like the perfect gift for the moment. We took his number from her, called him to come the day after the tree was to be delivered a couple of days later.

His name was Trevor. He came driving up to the house in an old unremarkable mid-size car with a couple of old shovel handles sticking out the cracked rear windows. His grizzled but muscled appearance hinted that he might have came from the other side of the mountain, as those folks on the other side of the peaks referred to the psychological demarcation between the rural Shenandoah Valley on the western side and the more urbane Loudoun Valley on the eastern side, streaking across the peculiar latitude where beautiful scenic Virginia 7 bisects the ancient rolling mountain range whose few stern jagged ruptures resembling shards jut horizontally along the highway cuts rather than among the natural protuberances of surface rock and magma pushed up from below long ago melted by wind, ice, rain, and other old hands of geologic portents. The scarred houses scattered along the two-lane highway laid through them were decayed and peopled by strangers who probably didn't cotton to other strangers.

Never one to miss a service call discussion the wife joined me, and the three of us agreed on the price discussed over the phone, and after several moments of obligatory hem and haw, it was also agreed that the tree was sitting pretty much in the best spot where we wanted it to go, and made the most sense in terms of visual spacing and drainage out there on our field of green. The five hundred foot black asphalt drive from the road to the house splits the narrow but deep frontage lawn lined by fifty to sixty feet of woods itself split by a sometimes wet gully as part of the national wetlands inventory. This newest addition to the front yard arbor project would sit on the opposite property line about a hundred feet south of the house.

…smug in the swamp of my own mind even as my heart rang true in regional solidarity as I’ve been one perpetually dealing my negotiating cards from both the top and bottom of the stacked deck.

As we broke to move back toward the garage to let the man get to work, Trevor made some comment about being willing to do other work around the place, which gave me my opening to snark with a chuckle that I figured he would have been driving up in a pickup, pulling out all my own roots southerner charm to help tamp down any class envy or rivalry that has besotted several failed idée fixe of mine in the past, although my own genetics and filthy habits have long ago fingered me as one of those very same people I'd always tried to escape smug in the swamp of my own mind even as my heart rang true in regional solidarity as I've been one perpetually dealing my negotiating cards from both the top and bottom of the stacked deck. He grinned, and murmured something about saving gas. Turned out he lived, yes, over the mountain, down past Strasburg near the famous Luray Caverns off I-81 several counties over and down from us, at least seventy-five miles or more away to the southwest to pick up some rent money off this one off two hour task. This was a hand shovel job, not the gas powered augur I expected to see being jerked out the back of a beat up old Chevy truck sporting a rebel flag banner.

One Response

  1. Gabriel Thy says:

    Is this story worth continuing. Reader's vote. Yes or no. Leave a comment.

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