By Jody Gladding
the slow dying
the difficult birth
there is this green
house thrust open
the pollinators' return
winter just past
we rise from our cramped beds
in suspended disbelief
the generous myth of summer!
its acrid largess
"In north central Vermont...there are fewer than 90 days between the last spring and first fall frost," writes Gladding in Poet's Choice. "But 'Chives' isn't a weather report. It's a celebration of the bright surprise of summer, sharpened by the arrival of summer neighbors who wake us to it. Really, 'Chives' could be reduced to a little bunch of exclamation points!" The poem is from the recent collection Rooms and Their Airs.
Daniel had a robotics meeting at someone's house in the upper part of the county, so we figured that since we had to pick him up there eventually, we would head out Columbia Pike to Ellicott City and go to Clark's Elioak Farm, which in addition to farm animals, produce, and a petting area is now the home of many of the large fixtures from the Enchated Forest theme park that was in the area during my childhood. We figured that Adam would appreciate the sheep, goats, chickens, ponies, rabbits, donkeys, calf, and pigs, and we knew that we would appreciate the storybook characters and pine maze that hides some of the structures:
Adam on Little Toot, which gave rides on the pond at the Enchanted Forest, though it now remains anchored in a small pond full of bullfrogs.
Colorful buildings like the Crooked Man's Crooked House and the Merry Miller's House are nearby.
Adam appreciated the opportunity to feed the farm's sheep.
There were many adorable children enjoying the petting area, taking pony rides, and going on hayrides past the theme park structures.
Instead of riding, we walked around the park. Here I am being The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe. The slide built into the shoe is one of the few pieces of play equipment still in use -- most have been removed or padlocked for security reasons.
Cinderella's coach, for instance, still carries a statue of Cinderella, but the seats are blocked by plexiglass and the coach no longer rocks.
Nevertheless, Paul and I posed as Cinderella and Prince Charming.
We picked up older son in the late afternoon and came home for dinner, after which Paul discovered that in fact we did have A Hard Day's Night recorded off public television at some point. The kids both agreed that we should watch it. I am amazed that in a single night, we successfully turned them into Beatles fans. And I was thinking while watching the movie about how interesting it is that men love the Beatles despite the screaming throngs of female fans...in general in rock and roll, anyone too popular with girls is treated as extremely suspect by male fans -- there's often thorough vilification, even when the screaming is over someone far less good looking than Paul McCartney, who must have the best teeth of any man of his generation and background. Anyway, to quote Adam, the film is less on weed than Help! but still plenty entertaining...I think Ringo's probably the best comic actor of the bunch.