By E. Ethelbert Miller
you have the habit
of curling up in
like a tube of
toothpaste all bent
funny and nice
I like to brush
after every meal
I discovered this poem in Chris King's review of Miller's newest book in yesterday's Washington Post Book World. "Contrary to the sentiment expressed in its unforgettable title, How We Sleep on the Nights We Don't Make Love is irresistibly sexy," writes King. "Miller doesn't need to disrobe to make the kind of love you find in this poem, or throughout the book, in which he sings the praise of cunnilingus. He also writes a tiny, tactful poem about fellatio and even lends a moment of erotic dignity to the seldom-sung art of petting and sweating. In 'Kiss,' his beloved's nipple wears one of his hands 'like a hat,' which makes him wonder 'what should my/ other hand wear?' It is a question put to bed by the concluding couplet: 'my fingers so wet/from your rain.'" Miller, adds King, "contends that there should always be a place in poetry for a big, soppy spot on the sheets. As a big, brutal world is momentarily put aside in favor of the warm, small space of the bedroom, the poems shrink as well -- to great effect."
Today the rain reasserted itself, but we had plans to go hiking at three state parks so we went anyway. It was actually perfect hiking weather, mid-50s at the tops of the mountains, and early on there was more mist and fog than actual sopping precipitation, but that changed late in the day, when we bailed out of hiking to the Blair Witch church from Gathland State Park and went directly to the Chinese buffet in Frederick.
We started by meeting my in-laws at High Knob at Gambrill State Park in Frederick County, which has spectacular fall color on a steep cliff overlooking the surrounding countryside...not that the surrounding countryside could be seen at all in the fog. There are several overlooks, and a stone tea room with a gorgeous balcony that we could not go on today as there was a wedding inside. From there we drove to Washington Monument State Park over the Washington County line four miles from Boonsboro, with an 1827 stone tower at the top of a hike marked by milestones from Washington's life and crossing the Appalachian Trail.
It was raining quite hard by the time we came down the mountain, so we skipped playing with the kids in the large playground there and continued on to Gathland State Park, of particular interest to apaulled's parents who are Civil War history buffs since the southern extremity of the Battle of South Mountain was fought here. "Gath" was the pseudonym of George Alfred Townsend, a Civil War journalist who had a home here, the ruins of which can still be seen, as well as the restored War Correspondents' Arch and a walk-through tour of the battlefields. The nearest town to the Gath estate is Burkittsville, best known as the locale of The Blair Witch Project, so we drove through there but due to the pouring rain we did not stop on the way to Frederick and dinner. I know I promised animal photos but I think I am going to hold off on them for the night and post damp fall foliage instead:
The tea house at the top of Catoctin Mountain. The first time I was ever at this park, someone my husband worked with had reserved the teahouse and it was very similar weather to today's, perhaps even a little colder; there was a fire in the fireplace inside and the smell of wet leaves.
The Washington Monument at Washington Monument State Park. On a clear day, you can see West Virginia and Pennsylvania from the top. This was not such a day.
Instead the view looked like this -- treetops, and then a vast whiteness where one would have expected fields, hills and forests to the horizon, as in this photo from last year.
The leaves, however, were undiminished by the fog and rain.
Here's the ruins of the Gath mansion through a line of trees. Some of the buildings on the estate have been restored, like the ones on the other side of the street which house the little Civil War museum, but not this one.
Here is the War Correspondents Arch, which is in magnificent condition -- the names of all the journalists honored on it are quite visible on the plaques. Here are photos of this from last year.
Okay...so who's doing NaNoWriMo? Or, more to the point, who's not doing NaNoWriMo but might be willing to read bits of an original WIP that will not necessarily appear in any sort of order?