Purple Bananas

Sign photo by Allison Huyett


   A persimmon Honda Fit is stopped ahead of me.  An orange sign for FIREWORKS is planted in the ground to my right, its black arrow pointing left. The Fit – same shape, different color – turns left in response to a green light and so do I.    

   Two natural things of interest emerged last week: raspberries and a raccoon.  This morning, herons and pathlings supply more food for thought. Starving artist is fed by hungry writer, driven to walk.   

     Pick of the Litter almost didn’t make the cut. I disregard the purple silly strand at first, but when I do pick it up, the discovery that it is shaped like a bunch of bananas makes me feel happy. A bunch of bananas! half a mile from staring point A!   

  ( Before reaching this spot, there have been a set of turtle crossings and two dead amphibians: a tiny flat frog with flies after it and  prone toad.)   

   A slender heron wades in the near side of the creek. The channel supplies a blast of cool overnight air that the sticky air will soon consume. It is as natural as the day is long.   

   Two groundhog holes are exposed right next to the path  and some red raspberry brambles with burgeoning fruit come into view.   

   Raspberries ripen every June and July. This is no surprise. It is a miracle they return every year.   

   Their seasonality is refreshing. Sugary juices make them delicious, if your like the nutty crunch of seeds. Plucking them from their thorny branches requires a kind of careful dexterity.   

    At the barn seven miles from here, the wild black raspberries – which I prefer to wild red – ripen this time in June. Red raspberries develop a couple of weeks later. Berries in the morning are scrumptious.   

  A raccoon has been coming to the barn. It descends a wooden post inside the small bank barn like a fireman in a station house. A couple of plates of cat chow draw it down from the hayloft and it eats when the sun goes down and the lightning bugs glow.   

   It stares at me staring at it. Its name could be Rocky or Bandit or Barny, and it really does use its paws like hands to scoop the  food to its mouth. Different books report raccoons are fastidious and clean. It is cute and clever, but like all wild things with teeth and claws, it is to be regarded with cautious friendliness and respected with a pinch of wariness. Same with the woodchucks along the trail. Fierce incisors are rooted in outward plainness, like a geode with protruding crystals.   

  In the second mile, the second heron stands on a large rock in the creek, far side, like a stately butler on duty or a gentleman in morning grey tails. It looks so proud I wonder it doesn’t have a tray of after dinner drinks or hors d oeuvres.   

    If you add the letter “T”  to the word “heron” and rearrange the letters, you would have a throne. Ergo, the heron is a regal bird.   

   On the way back, I pick up the bunch of bananas where I left it beside a tree. Someone had left a white plastic spoon on the screenings on the path – this pointed to the spot like a compass needle — just to remind me. I picked up the spoon to take back to a trash can.   

 When I pass the dead toad for the second time, I think it should be placed off the beaten track. The spoon comes in handy for this operation. The toad looks better in the brown leaves of last autumn, still overloooking the water in its final resting place, with its hind legs neat and symmetrical and its head propped up by bent elbows and hands.   

   The parking lot area is brightened by a visiting family. Father stands away from the action, mother too. Three children, toddler to ten, play in the grass. A girl poses, then a boy hams for the camera being held by a young woman lying prone in the grass. , with not a usual flimsy folding lawn chair, but a real living room arm chair, with a yellow orange cushion and a real wood frame. The mother enthtroned, Three children toddler to ten play. A girl poses and a boy hams for the camera held by a young woman lying prone on the grass, facing downhill and on a gentle slop. Her elbows are bent from the ground and hold a camera with hefty looking lens.her knees bend and she moves her lower legs with their summer tan calves. The mother is seated. She occupies no lawn chair. She sits on a throne. It is a living room arm chair, with a thick cushion the color of a harvest yellow yam.   

   As I drive home I wonder if the stately heron on the rock has a button underneath to press so its joints move like a toy. Yesterday as change I got a ten dollar bill stamped with three purple fishes. That was a good catch.


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