Monday, March 3, 2008

Sharp Pleasure.

Sometimes I forget about the things that are remarkably simple, lke one beer on the porch with the dog after work. And that decompression starts in my office— grab whatever books I need for tonight, lock the door, walk out through the quad to the parking lot, which is always a pleasurable walk, but especially in this kind of weather. I love my job in many ways, but the walk out of the building at the end of a long day, the sun low and long on the lawn— that's a good walk. Done for today, start working to get ready for tomorrow. And then the drive home, past the mulch place, the Brightwood, the Sedalia Post Office, the Food Lion, the auto parts stores, the fire station, the churches. In the right weather it's not hard, even in the face of increasing sprawl — yet one more CVS — to love Highway 70.

It's not that we don't do the porch in the winter, the dog and I. We do. Especially early winter, when it's a novelty still, the chilly evenings falling off to even chillier. Long sleeves weather. But something happens in late January, early February— we hibernate a little, we go in. And in is not so good for me. I love in, but I need it in small doses. Hang on long enough, though, and you get a warm snap, an odd early March evening holding on to the sixties well past when it should, and there's that one beer in the back of the fridge, and the dog, Pavlovianally tuned, gets up and out of the bed when you snap the cap off, and you two go out there, and if the breeze blows right you can smell the daffodils and the pansies, and the dogs across the street are not barking, and there's something involving shrieking and perhaps fireworks at the high school a couple of miles away, a kind of dull fall roar, all wrong for the season but perfect, somehow, quiet, like a kind of washed noise, a heartbeat, not at all the same as two goddamned barking blue tick beagles, and you and the dog sit there on the steps, not in the chairs, because this is not the time for chairs— you sit on the steps and watch the sky work its way from white to dark, dark blue. You drink the beer. You offer her the end of the bottle. She's eleven.

What's that Sandra Alcosser line? "In the icebox,/one tropical beer, a succulent lime./Cooling. With what sharp pleasure I would welcome/company into my life."

It was way, way too warm today. Sun, wind. It was too much for us. More than we deserve. It was a day that belonged much more to April. The fancies are forecasting something fairly serious for us tomorrow — hail, storms, wind, frogs — so this is the day that got cooked up out ahead of all that. And I will take it. I will take the dog and the porch and the one beer and — what the hell — maybe some company. What sharp pleasure that would be.

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