Sputniks


   The moveable-type lettering on the sign outside the greenhouse on the flat farmland advertises Pansies and Violas. On the hill are signs of new viniculture in the form of stakes and a working of the ogee-shaped contoured ground. Both of these I find stimulating, heartening and amusing.

   Today evaporated. It was another beautiful day spent sleeping. The only disturbance occurred early. A Mexican man could be seen scrambling along the landscape in front of the house. He tamped his right foot in the margin of the garden to see if it needed further spading and edging. He yanked on the viburnum, pulling the tips and snapping some of the leaves to test for life. In a wheelbarrow parked on the grass by the birch tree were clumps of sod and clay, like mounds of limp rodents with green fringe.

   After a good day’s sleep, I traversed a grassy plot and a parking lot to reach the library tonight.  The grassy plot contains a pair of sweet gum trees. In autumn the trees light up with green yellow and red stars as the stelliform leaves show their colors.  Little sputniks, with holes and spikes are left all around the bases of the two trees. Nearby is a patch of peanuts, left by one of the office women, who arrives early and tosses the legumes onto the grass before the sun comes up.

   Outside the library branch, I am unable to locate my library card. I return home to see if it is in my jeans or on one of the tables. I look inside my wallet and purse again. The last place I saw it was at the library last night. I go back to the library.

   “What are the chances that you have my library card?”

   One librarian searches the card file and working from the top down and back to front she cannot find it among the two dozen there. Her companion librarian finds a card on the desk with a post-it note with a telephone number. It’s mine. I had left it at the teen machines.

    I remember being disturbed and somewhat spun out of orbit last night as I wrote a post, making an attempt to compose, myself. It bothers me the current library policy allows for high-volume conversations. It seems to me there must be place for pockets of study, silence and contemplation that are not only in sacred spaces.  Lately I am forced to conclude and accept that public libraries have dropped from the ranks of quiet spots.

  One of the sweet gum balls attached to the tip of a shoelace and came along for a ride. It is time to go home.

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