Snail’s Pace

August is a strange month, so slow, yet a feeling of anticipation builds for the coming year. I still think of the new year as beginning when school starts, then Halloween, Thanksgiving, winter holidays, etc. Nothing much happens in August itself — it’s a hot stagnant pool of a month — but I feel things starting, whirring, coming to life, wings beating in the distance. Do you?

Mist Valley
by James Longenbach

At the end of August, when all
The letters of the alphabet are waiting,
You drop a teabag in a cup.
The same few letters making many different words,
The same words meaning different things.

Often you’ve rearranged them on the surface of the fridge.
Without the surface
They’re repulsed by one another.

Here are the letters.
The tea is in your cup.

At the end of August, the mind
Is neither the pokeweed piercing the grass
Nor the grass itself.
As Tony Cook says in The Biology of Terrestrial Mollusks

The right thing to do is nothing, the place
A place of concealment,
And the time as often as possible.

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5 responses to “Snail’s Pace

  1. Obviously not me. August hurtles by as I contend with countless unexpected problems preparing for a week and a half with thousands of nutcases in an unforgiving desert. Even if I didn’t have a job I’d have no spare time. Yet spare time is spent, as life takes its own course, redirecting me to auto parts stores or swimming pools on the whims of chance and friendship. Four to six hours’ sleep is the norm. Then the desert thing, then we are thrust into the cooling season, faint echoes of school, those annoying holidays I could well do without. I like August. I wish it could last a couple three months.

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  2. August just pretends that no one is working; the reality is so different for me, alas.

    Don, in my recent travels, the cabs from the airport took me past a Bushwick warehouse space where lots of people were working on constructing space-age vehicles with what appear to be turtle shells as canopies. One night they it looked like they were testing them with neon lights. I assume they are headed west to the Burn, because on Thursday when I came home from the airport, they were being loaded onto a 54-foot tractor trailer.

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  3. Same! School starts next week here. It’s a new page. 🙂

    And as I’ve had a particularly crappy spring and summer, I’m eager to turn it over.

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  4. Yeah, that’s how it’s always felt for me. Fall is my favorite time of the year as we approach Christmas.

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  5. I love that last stanza. I need to make it my mantra (to mellow my psyche and adjust my dharma).

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