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Woodpeckered Ponderosa

April 23, 2012

It was marvelous to come upon a woodpeckered ponderosa, years dead and half stripped of bark, and still it smelled like a cream soda made by Moonlight Pizza.

The tree had been in full sun for hours, and we smelled it from twenty feet away. That’s what caught me by surprise. It took over the atmosphere the way the library’s May Day tree on the alley does—walk down the alley some night during the next week.

It’s also time to look over town from atop Tenderfoot and see all the crabapples in bloom. Our neighbor’s cherry tree is just starting, while our little plum is spectacular in full bloom, a delicate sweetness if you stand near, petals just beginning to fall.

“Is there no change of death in paradise?
Does ripe fruit never fall? Or do the boughs
Hang always heavy in that perfect sky,
Unchanging, yet so like our perishing earth,
With rivers like our own that seek for seas
They never find, the same receding shores
That never touch with inarticulate pang?
Why set the pear upon those river-banks
Or spice the shores with odors of the plum?…”

Had to throw in a little Wallace Stevens. It is National Poetry Month, after all.

We’re waking up the camper and shall go to see what else we can see and smell in the forest.

One of the sights of Spring at the library is the annual Longfellow art show. It’s more modest than usual, in deference to the uncertainties of remodeling, but it is still bright and charming.

There are a couple of neat versions of the quilt, but these in papers tied together. The one over the water fountain is about Spring: blossoms, birds, bugs, butterflies, forest, rain, sunshine, rainbows, smiles, and … fishing.

Upstairs are the bright works about rainforests, along with what look like Cubist cats and mice. I like them. Three-dimensional works are displayed on the shelf tops in the children’s room.

I’m not by reflex a photographer, but I wish I’d snapped a few pictures of construction art I’ve noticed the last couple of months. Sometimes it’s found art, sometimes performance art.

One spectacular thing was a sheet of plastic on which the dust from demolition had settled into gorgeous fractal patterns with the help of static from a very dry winter.

Another was a node of electrical wire connections bursting out of a junction box where the old and new parts of the library came together.

In the attic of the old Carnegie there was still the web of bare wires, suspended on insulators, that once powered the building. But they are no more. That attic space is now full of insulation, too, after being un-insulated all these years.
The basement of the Carnegie now has ductwork for ventilation. I was much opposed to the idea originally but was eventually convinced it was necessary for a healthy and comfortable occupation, and now I find myself feeling rather kindly about it.

By Tuesday evening, we’ll have a temporary circulation desk set up. There will be some disruption for a while until the main-floor work is done, and the phones may go out Monday morning, but life will go on.

There’s a famous photograph of men standing on rubble in a bombed-out bookstore during WWII, looking at books from the shelves still standing. So, we’re not nearly like that.

The library still works—and we can be thankful we’re not in a war zone and empathize with those who are, in far too many places around the world.


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