Saturday, July 1, 2017

July 1, 2017

Quick and massive deluge. For a moment it was raining hard in the back yard and not at all in the front.

Excellent painting. People came into the studio from all over, including a surprising wealth of mothers and young sons. One little boy told me of seeing a water moccasin as he (the boy) was bouncing on his trampoline.

I’m fairly sure I have never used the word “trampoline” before in any writing.  

Stumbled upon “Fallen Orangemen,” the obituary page for Ellet High School. “Who would have thought that death had undone so many?”There is no page for the Class of 1950. Has no one from that year passed on? Very few and intriguing “causes of death”: one suffocated by a weightlifting bar falling on his chest, one killed while running drugs, several who died together in pairs in accidents down through the years, one at least murdered during an armed robbery. Drowning is fairly common. All the desperate ones, the hoodlums and outsiders, left us long ago, fulfilling the prophesies they must have heard around them. Ricky Rioux was acknowledged as a suicide, though he was not the only one. He was, however, the first, in my life. I remember when he did it. I could lead you to his house right now. He was snarling and extravagantly beautiful, and on the day we learned of his suicide the world changed for us, the whole concept of “inexplicable” entering in. We had one conversation, and I remember it, even the angle of the sun against the stoop of his house, me wondering why he was bothering with a dopey kid form the neighborhood. It’s 50 years later, and I am saying his name, writing his name. I hope it means something to him.

The second person I knew to commit suicide was a lively, fun-loving old man named Jim Stone, who went to our church, the grandfather of one of my friends. With Ricky as my only other exhibit, I wondered what there was about suicide that should attract the very young and the very old. I wondered also what, once you got to Jim’s age, could possibly bother you so much that you’d want to die. (Here is the sound of mordant laughter)

Sirens punctuate the deep blast of rain. A fallen tree? A fire leaping up into the rain?

My garden builds to its first climax after spring.

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