May 21, 10:00-11:00 a.m. Full sun
Exit upward toward commuter blue, clouds billowing
in enormous sky. Here, fields open wide, slanting upward
toward antediluvian barns, barn-board and stone leaning, leaning…
like a town-planner dozing at his desk, dreaming
of zoning, a fix far into the future– tracts of pasture
carved up for mansions, floods of new cash, flush
tax-base, the old barns leaning, leaning
almost off their foundations – dirty hands
make clean money – threatening
to take the whole homestead of barn-
swallows, rabbits, foxes, wasps, and mice
tumbling down with them. When they fall,
grander homes will follow. For now,
they lean down as we drive up,
as if to pluck us from our cars and plant us
on a ridge line where a few McMansions
command the view of old Colonials below. See,
see? Across the valley, a great white oval – wafer?
water-tower? god? gas-tank? – shadows their lives.
Shad-bloom past. Macs in blossom. Traffic zips along.
Follow it to Georgia Center’s eye-blink. A center
with rows of chicken coops can’t be downtown, can it?
But there’s a general store, computer store – fax
a fir! — historical site saying someone, damn it,
lived and died here, and bullied his way
into the town’s memory. Edge of town,
the Georgia Freedom Range (golf balls
sailing into a far pasture) tells us what’s become
of the town charter – it makes a difference
whose cow is in the well – tells more history
of farms to foreclosures than we care to know.
Better to turn up Route 104, upcountry, to Arrowhead Lake,
where the fast-tumbling Lamoille suddenly swirls and pools
over pastures to form one smooth, shimmering evasion for farmers-
turned-fishermen. Here’s one place where, when they look down
into their common failure, they see the sky.