Off a Side Road Near Staunton
By Stanley Plumly
Some nothing afternoon, no one anywhere,
an early autumn stillness in the air,
the kind of empty day you fill by taking in
the full size of the valley and its layers leading
slowly to the Blue Ridge, the quality of the country,
if you stand here long enough, you could stay
for, step into, the way a landscape, even on a wall,
pulls you in, one field at a time, pasture and fall
meadow, high above the harvest, perfect
to the tree line, then spirit clouds and intermittent
sunlight smoky rain riding the tops of the mountains,
though you could walk until it's dark and not reach those rains --
you could walk the rest of the day into the picture
and not know why, at any given moment, you're there.
I've posted that poem before, but since I posted a Plumly poem yesterday and I'm talking about Staunton today, I figured I'd post it again.
I had two things to get done on Tuesday: my biannual checkup and my washing machine repair. I suppose I should be glad that I had no complications with the medical stuff and it was only the mechanical stuff that led to frustration. Knock wood, my blood pressure is down, my hemoglobin is up, and except for being a bit low on Vitamin D, I got no bad news from the doctor besides the expected "lose more weight" (well, and "we should test your thyroid function," but I promise not to complain about the blood test if it turns out normal). Then I came home to have lunch and wait for Sears to come repair my washing machine. And wait. And wait. (Please do not remind me that last time I waited and waited for Sears, I swore that I was tossing their warranty into the circular file where it belongs and calling someone else; this time I have really learned my lesson.) Turns out that even though we made an appointment in the automated system online, got a confirmation number, etc., we were never in the queue for today -- and had to sit on hold for more than half an hour and get disconnected twice even to be told that. So my washing machine is probably going to continue to wash clothes in hot water when the temperature control is set for cold, which is not only wasteful but has ruined two loads of laundry that were supposed to be washed in cold water.
The kids kept themselves entertained while stuck in the house with me, at least -- Adam went to the pool most of the afternoon, Daniel worked on his summer research project, and when I started folding laundry he suggested I put on The Prophecy, having recently developed an interest in Lucifer because of Shin Megami Tensei. Sometimes I forget how amazingly sexy Viggo Mortensen is as the Devil, and Christopher Walken is so in his element as an evil archangel telling scary stories to young schoolchildren. We had our Fourth of July barbecue a couple of days late, since we weren't home for dinner on the Fourth and weren't hungry enough after going out for Indian buffet on the Fifth -- tofu dogs and s'mores are good any time -- then we watched the season premiere of Warehouse 13, which is about as cheesy as it was last year but had some fun moments, lots of female characters kicking butt, and the promise of the return of awesome kick-ass cyberpunk female H.G. Wells, whom I love much more than typical villain Roger Rees. I have garden and grounds photos from Monticello and farm restoration photos from Staunton, but for now in honor of the insane heat, here are some of the animals at the latter:
Geese preparing for a swim at the pond behind the English farmhouse.
A hog in the Irish farm's piggery...
...and a sow with her little piggies on the 1740 American farm.
Calves on the English farm (one of which, I believe, is the child of the cow on the German farm).
I think this cow lives between the Irish farm and the smithy.
Fancy chickens on the German farm.
Does this Leicester sheep look sleepy or what?