19 June 2015

tonight's sky at the pond

*that brick phallus you see is the most upright remains of the old hemp mill.  The windmill is on the little island in the pond; it runs the aerater in the pond so that the fire department can pull water from the pond as needed in the winter.

I would say happy Juneteenth, but this one seems a more somber one.

Today I remember my old childhood friend Nathan Burroughs, who is somewhere out there in the world, and the times we picked and ate crab apples in front of the Langston Hughes Memorial Library at Lincoln University. Our dads both worked at Lincoln. When I moved away (after my first attempt at 4th grade) from there Nathan and I promised that we would get back together after we turned 40, if we were still alive, so I had better get on that.

It was after I moved away from Lincoln, in my second attempt at 4th grade, this time in small town Ohio, that I encountered my first (that I can remember) acts of racism. There was a black boy at my new school who had the honor/misfortune of having red hair. To my shame, I cannot remember his name. His mom must have loved his red hair because he had a big afro. He was teased relentlessly and without mercy, called Freckle Nigger (he also had freckles on his face) and Raggedy Sambo. The first time I experienced this I at first thought it was some kind of inside joke, but then I saw that it wasn't. It was completely disorienting. That kid remained stoic through it all. I went to the bathroom and closed the stall door and weeped, lonely in a world that I did not understand, and missing Nathan.

I still don't understand.

1 comment:

  1. Well, the sky is beautiful, and well worth sharing. And it goes with your post somehow. I guess it's the comfort of the things that continue, like sunrise and sunset, and the earth's beauty, even when the world is unfathomably wrong.

    The first time I read Kristin Lavransdatter, I was crushed by a scene in which the heroine is standing on a hill overlooking the spectacular Norwegian landscape. She has just learned that through the carelessness and wontonness of her husband, that her whole world has fallen apart. I don't recall that the scene was comforting to her - I know that in my grief for her I found the juxtaposition of the sublime and the devastating to be too much to bear.