February 10, 2010

Something emailed to me exactly 1 year ago.

Ah! The memories!
And A. felt herself released, in another world, she felt she breathed differently.  But still she was afraid of how many of her roots, perhaps mortal ones, were tangled with her blog.  Yet still, she breathed freer, a new phase was going to begin in her life.

Reader_iam also kept a cherishing eye on A., feeling she must extend to her her female and professional protection.  She was always urging her ladyprofessorship to walk out to a cafe, to motor over to Beaver Dam, to be in the air.  For A. had got into the habit of  sitting still by the laptop, pretending to read, or to make strawberry smoothies feebly, and hardly going out at all.

It was a blowy day, soon after the boys had gone back to Texas and California respectively, that reader_iam tweeted: 'Now why don't you go for a walk through the arb around the lake, and look at the daffs behind that new gardener's cottage?  They're the prettiest sight you'd see in a day's march.  And you could put some in your room:  wild daffs are always so cheerful-looking, aren't they?'

A. took it in good part, even daffs for daffodils.  Wild daffodils! After all, one could not stew in one's own juice.  The spring came back... 'Seasons return, but not to me returns Day, or the sweet approach of Ev'n or Morn.'

And the new gardener, his thin, white body, like a lonely pistil of an invisible flower!  She had forgotten him in her unspeakable depression.  But now something roused... 'Pale beyond porch and portal'... the thing to do was to pass the porches and the portals.

She was stronger, and with the injections in her toe she could walk better,  and in the arb the wind would not be so tiring as it was across the lake, flatten against her.  She wanted to forget, to forget the world wide web and all the dreadful, carrion-bodied people.  'Ye must be born again!  I believe in the resurrection of the body! Except a grain of wheat fall into the earth and die, it shall by no means bring forth.  When the crocus cometh forth I too will emerge and see the sun!'  In the wind of March endless phrases swept through her consciousness.

Little gust of sunshine blew, strangely bright, and lit up the celandines at the arb's edge, under the Sycamores, they spangled out bright and yellow.  And the arb was still, stiller, but yet gusty with crossing sun.  The first windflowers were out, and all the arb seemed pale with the pallor of endless little anemones, sprinkling the shaken floor.  'The world has grown pale with thy breath.'  But it was the breath of Persephone, this time; she was out of hell on a cold morning.  Cold breaths of wind came, and overhead there was an anger of entangled wind caught among the twigs.  It, too was caught and trying to tear itself free, the wind, like Absalom.  How cold the anemones looked, bobbing their naked white shoulders over crinoline skirts of green.  But they stood it.  A few first bleached little primroses too, by the path, and yellow buds unfolding themselves.

The roaring and swaying was overhead, only cold currents came down below.  A. was strangely excited in the wood, and the color flew in her cheeks, and burned blue in her eyes.  She walked ploddingly, picking a few primroses and the first violets, that smelled sweet and cold, sweet and cold.  And she drifted on without knowing where she was.

Til she came to the clearing, at the end of the arb, and saw the green-stained stone cottage, looking almost rosy, like the flesh underneath a mushroom, its stone warmed in a burst of sun.  And there was a sprinkle of yellow jasmine by the door;  the closed door.  But no sound, no smoke from the chimney, no dog barking.

She went quietly round to the back, where the bank rose up.  She had an excuse: to see the daffodils.

And they were there, the short-stemmed flowers, rustling and fluttering and shivering, so bright and alive, but with nowhere to hide their faces, as they turned them away from the wind.

They shook their bright, sunny little rags in bouts of distress.  But perhaps they liked it really:  perhaps they really liked the tossing.

A. sat down with her back to a young pine tree that swayed against her with curious life, elastic, and powerful, rising up.  The erect, alive thing, with it top in the sun!  And she watched the daffodils turn golden, in a burst of sun that was warm on her hands and lap.  Even she caught the faint, tarry scent of the flowers.  And then, being so still and alone, she seemed to get into the current of her own proper destiny.  She had been fastened by a rope, and jagging and snarring like a boat at its moorings, now she was loose and adrift.

The sunshine gave way to chill, the daffodils were in shadow, dipping silently.  So they would dip through the day and the long cold night. So strong in their frailty!

She rose, a little stiff, took a few daffodils, and went down.  She hated breaking the flowers, but she wanted just one or two to go with her.  She would have to go back to Bascom and its walls, and now she hated it, especially its thick walls.  Walls!  Always walls!  Yet one needed them in this wind.

When she returned to her office, reader_iam tweeted her: 'Where did you go?'

'Over to the arb for a walk!  Here, here I shall post a photo I took of the little daffodils, aren't they adorable?  To think they should come out of the earth!'

'Just as much out of air and sunshine,' garage mahal commented, peevishly.

'But modeled in the earth,' she retorted, with a prompt contradiction that surprised her a little.

The next afternoon she went to the arb again....
So that was going on back then, and it was manifested on the blog — the slightest hint — like this.

90 comments:

Toy said...

The many blessings of female friendships--God bless readeriam!

And Althouse, what a year. I do so appreciate your blog, but it wouldn't bother me if you took a real vacation. We'll still be here.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Hey garage mahal finally got his tag!

Congratulations garage. Now you can stop whining like a vagina about it.

Toy said...

But if you want to be the Iron Blogger, that's OK, too!

El Pollo Real said...

That email author vaguely reminds me of that old Watership Down series on another blog.

The authors must have read each other's work.

E.M. Davis said...

Boh-ring.

wv: imuth. Aged shock jock with a lisp.

Theo Boehm said...

Not "boh-ring" at all.

To me, one of the most fascinating posts you have ever done.

Thank you.

reader_iam said...

Good lord. Where did this come from?

And did I actually tweet that? Oh, wow. Guess I really can't put anything past myself now.

Yikes.

edutcher said...

You both have a gift for imagery, Madame; not only visual, but verbal.

As I say, you should do a book someday, photos by you and comments by iam.

Freeman Hunt said...

That was really nice.

AllenS said...

That was great. Until garage mahal showed up, then, not so much. It was like when you're about to have sex, and then your partner passes gas.

Lem said...

Sorry, I only skimmed it ;)

garage mahal said...

I feel like the crocus feeling the first warm rays of sunshine after a long dark cold winter.

bagoh20 said...

Too much estrogen in the room for me.

My daff is shrinking.

AllenS said...

John Edwards has proposed to his mistress Rielle Hunter.

I love a happy ending.

bagoh20 said...

Garage that's not the warmth of sunlight, you just wet the bed again.

garage mahal said...

Excuse me, can I see your tag please?

Darcy said...

Congratulations, garage!

bagoh20 said...

Oh I got one a while back, but I didn't frame mine.

I did get a thrill and wet myself too, so welcome aboard.

garage mahal said...

Thanks Darcy!

Lem said...

Imagine Garage sending Tropper a terse note.

In your face Trooper!

wv - hooree

Although you could say that the inclusion of 'emotional Althouse' would tend to put the tag in a perspective that it would not otherwise have...

just saying.

Peano said...

Egad.

"They clang to me like horse flies on a cow pattie," said angry, shivering law professor Althouse, whose clothes had been eaten off her by a plague of admirers except for her pedal pushers, which were a comfortable cool blend of rayon and nylon in a floral pattern with a three-button fly and a snug elastic waistband.

ricpic said...

A great Harlequin opening.

traditionalguy said...

I love real people living real lives with real problems. Who could have believed that any would be found on Blogger? Happy Valentines week, Professor.

El Pollo Real said...

Hey garage mahal finally got his tag!

I'm questioning whether Garage ever actually penned that pithy comment attributed to him in the email.

Got link? Anybody?

rhhardin said...

A thoughtful email.

Lem said...

Got link? Anybody?

This is a tough crowd.

Next the whole thing will be said to have been lifted word for word from a 1964 Readers Digest.

GDS - Garage Derangement Syndrome ;)

El Pollo Real said...

@Lem: Wha? You don't like my Garage Mahal impression? :)




Just kidding!
Congratulations Garage!

Pogo said...

Garage, well done!


And how beauteous, reader.

Ann Althouse said...

"And did I actually tweet that?"

No, you were a fictional character.

Can't you figure out who wrote it?

Come on, puzzlemasters! i thought this was easy. I think Freeman and edutcher and some others understood what this meant.

Ah Pooh said...

Meade

William said...

A woman who gets drunk on daffodils in public is no lady.

Meade said...

Ha ha ha!

And that, my young male protégés, is how the guy gets the girl. Slam dunk. Nothing but net. Wire to wire. Look, Ma, no hands.

But just remember, my dear younger brothers: Be smart. Never ever type anything into the wide webby internet world that you can't bear someday to have read back to you in a court of law.

Ah Pooh said...

And the new gardener, his thin, white body, like a lonely pistil of an invisible flower!
What a vision!

AllenS said...

You know that I'm happy for you, garage.

Pogo said...

So Meade is reader?

Wild!

Meade said...

Oh, and one more piece of advice: Never borrow.

Steal!

Pogo said...

Cripes, when I used to write poetry for chicks, all I got was quizzical looks.

When all along they were just waiting for my magical prose stylings!

Dang it.

Lem said...

Of course all the flora talk.

I protest it was too obvious and thats why I missed it ;)

rhhardin said...

Roethke.

madawaskan said...

Look, Ma, no hands....

[oh come on somebody work with this...HA!]

madawaskan said...

I mean when you finally bag the girl-that's what you say?

Look, Ma, no hands!

knox said...

Wow. Funny but very intimate.

Congrats, garage. Now go earn that tag!

Toy said...

Should have known...the gardener, the pine tree... Southern Ohio sycamores, but where do you get primroses and daffodils in Feb? Are you forcing them, Meade? But if fiction, they an grow anytime. "And them my heart with pleasure fills, and dances with the daffodils."

Chris said...

You might have to read Montaigne for the insight that you don't always get the girl. Most of life is showing up.

El Pollo Real said...

Next the whole thing will be said to have been lifted word for word from a 1964 Readers Digest.

@Lem: Actually I'd peg it from a couple years earlier but who's counting?

Pogo said...

Actually, this is what Sarah Palin had written on her right hand.

Lem said...

I'm having problems streaming tonight.

Is it possible that because of the snowstorm internet use is higher than usual?

Gretchen said...

Very sweet!

MamaM said...

Alternate title for manifesting moon pic post:

Moon Over My Hammy*

The February sun seems to be stirring the sap. Fun post. Even the WV thinks so, labeling this one as "fumstry"

*Denny's breakfast menu

El Pollo Real said...

I'm having problems streaming tonight.

Up your Flomax dude!

Palladian said...

"And that, my young male protégés, is how the guy gets the girl. Slam dunk. Nothing but net. Wire to wire."

Ick, I'm glad I'm a homosexual then. It allows me to avoid such writing and also avoid sports metaphors.

Palladian said...

"I'm having problems streaming tonight.

Is it possible that because of the snowstorm internet use is higher than usual?"

Lem, do you use Verizon to connect? According to the internet health report, Verizon is currently having some issues with latency between itself and AT&T and itself and Cogent. I'm experiencing sluggish internet performance as well, especially on certain pathways.

Peano said...

Meade said,"Never ever type anything into the wide webby internet world that you can't bear someday to have read back to you in a court of law."

If they ever read that in a court of law, you'll get 10 years.

Lem said...

Up your Flomax dude!

So I don't miss those special moments like when Garage finally got his tag.

Lem said...

Yeap.. I'm using Verizon.

Meade said...

I'm glad you're homosexual too, Palladian.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

Meade, you are one smooth operator. I bow in your presence.

Titus said...

This was from Pads and myself.

If the rest of you don't know I am mad for pads and she is crazy for me too.

Right now we are cuddling and having cheesecake during the blizzard.

bagoh20 said...

I'm confused: some kind of swinger thing with Iamreader, Garage, Mead, Ann and a pasty gardener dude with no hands?

I would keep something like that a secret to the grave.

blogging cockroach said...

bagoh
wait till meade writes me into it

Lem said...

It stop snowing where I am and there is a twilight glow outside that is just magical.

MamaM said...

"Cockroach larvae will hide anywhere they can. Moving with migrating human populations is exactly how pest roaches have gotten around the world..."

blogging cockroach said...

this thread has completely petered out
without beginning to solve one of the
most intriguing literary questions ever
namely why didn t meade write me
lil ol me
into that piece of chicklit
after all professor a once fondly
mentioned me in a video
nestling next to the flower key
in her mac air well the least meade
could do would be to have me nestling
next to one of those daffodils nearly
frozen to death but brought back
to life by the warmth of prof a s heart
thinking about the arboretum and her
next hot date with meade actually that
may be the answer as to why i m not there

blogging cockroach said...

i think we have our answer
where penny went

bagoh20 said...

Hey cock,

You have to admit there was no room for 6 more legs in that scaffolding of shame.

WV: "bagdon" Ok I'll shut up.

Palladian said...

"I'm glad you're homosexual too, Palladian."

You should be! I may have made a play for Althouse before you had your chance!

Beth said...

The beauty of being a gardener is that you have the long winters to write. What a wonderful world, Meade; you get to create all year long.

Titus said...

Pads is mine. Hands off breeders.

Titus said...

Pads, please forsake no other for me. For all we all been through. Hold me , devour me, need me , love me, eat me, allow me to be vulnerable around you. Oh Pads, yes Pads.

thank you Pads.

Titus said...

Just Pads, there is really nothing else to say. Pads.

Beth said...

Palladian, being gay wouldn't get you off the hook for sports mania in just any city. There's not a gay man in New Orleans these days who hasn't made tasteful use of black and gold in his ensemble and decor.

Palladian said...

"There's not a gay man in New Orleans these days who hasn't made tasteful use of black and gold in his ensemble and decor."

But do they use sports metaphors? No!

Titus said...

Pads, your written word and witt has me soo stoked. Love me Pads, love you Pads. Pad, give me to what I need now. My rather large pad.

PADS.

Ralph L said...

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
and twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretched in never-ending line
along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
in such a jocund company:
I gazed - and gazed - but little thought
what wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

Ralph L said...

That's Wordsworth, for you Althouse hillbillies.

peter hoh said...

Ralph, for some of us Althouse Hillbillies, Daffodils and Wordsworth go together like grits and scrapple.

peter hoh said...

Meade's good, no doubt, but the award for the gardener who got the most mileage out of a gardening metaphors goes to the guy in this movie.

Penny said...

"I'm glad you're homosexual too, Palladian."

For a second there, I thought Meade was "coming out".

El Pollo Real said...

I for one am proud to be part hillbilly!

Joan said...

You should be! I may have made a play for Althouse before you had your chance!

Palladian, I'm sure that's what Meade meant. It was my thought, also.

Meade said...

Joan: Exactly right.

Peano said...
If they ever read that in a court of law, you'll get 10 years.

More like 20, I hope. In fact, I'm hoping that if I can demonstrate good behavior, after 20, I can throw myself on the mercy of the court and get another 10. Wish me luck.

Trooper York said...

Congratulations to garage mahal.

Now we know that the terrorists did not win since he got his tag.

Trooper York said...

Of course they aren't going to jail because Obama and ACLU are going to get them off but what can you do.

At least garage got his tag!

Trooper York said...

Of course some of us always recognized the talents of the great Garage Mahal!

amba said...

Hmmm. A gardener knows that that lonely pistil is the female part.

Omaha1 said...

and so our gentle reader is left to ponder whether additional chapters of "Lady Althouse's Lover" were forthcoming.

very cool, Meade.

wv: "beging" beginning? begging? perhaps a bit of both...

Meade said...

@amba: stamen, pistil -- both turgid, beckoning, and begging to be with the bees

@Omaha1: thanks

rcommal said...

: (

rcommal said...

To this day, I still cringe at this. It showed how ridiculous I was, and how little I was thought of *as*--and yet, somehow, I'd earned being humiliated in a profoundly symbolic way in an iconic emblematic post. After all of these years, I have to accept that I'll never understand that. What I don't get is why?

Ann Althouse said...

@rcommal

I think you're reading way to much into this. Meade took a passage from "Lady Chatterley's Lover" -- last paragraph of Chapter 7, beginning of Chapter 8 -- and made some substitutions.

"Mrs Bolton also kept a cherishing eye on Connie, feeling she must extend to her her female and professional protection. She was always urging her ladyship to walk out, to drive to Uthwaite, to be in the air. For Connie had got into the habit of sitting still by the fire, pretending to read; or to sew feebly, and hardly going out at all.

"It was a blowy day soon after Hilda had gone, that Mrs Bolton said: 'Now why don't you go for a walk through the wood, and look at the daffs behind the keeper's cottage? They're the prettiest sight you'd see in a day's march. And you could put some in your room; wild daffs are always so cheerful-looking, aren't they?'

"Connie took it in good part, even daffs for daffodils. Wild daffodils! After all, one could not stew in one's own juice. The spring came back...' Seasons return, but not to me returns Day, or the sweet approach of Ev'n or Morn.'"

Lawrence, D. H. (2010-07-13). Lady Chatterley's Lover (The Unexpurgated Edition) (Kindle Locations 1801-1809). Wilder Publications. Kindle Edition.

He used some familiar things from the blog, needed a female name for Mrs. Bolton, and thought of yours, because you'd been a regular presence among the commenters.

I'm sorry you didn't experience the beauty and fun of this post.