|From and About Weathered Steps|
|"Weathered Steps is a book about all that you almost don't notice, but should." |
|"Ms. Stangeland's observational skills are extraordinary and her craft is accomplished. Indeed, her pieces always sound like she's saying exactly what she wants to say. And when we have finished with them, we feel as if there were no other way."
STEPS This first warm night of spring I ask my mother to stay and eat at the small home we'll leave soon. Garlic cloves, rosemary, balsamic. Fragrant oil, extra virgin, pairs with chicken. It needs time to cook so we sit on the narrow front stairs, drink red wine and talk the way mothers and daughters who are mothers rarely have a chance. These weathered steps have carried large moments: birth coming up, death carted down. In this liquid hour, the sun paints tall firs on the golf course a block beyond where gulls muddle before a storm front. A deep aroma spills from the oven. Sweet peppers sizzle in the pan, blend with the green smell of a fresh-cut lawn. Now the light pulls back thin. Dusk drops its veil over the roses, the scuffed porch and stories we begin in the doorway of our old house.
MEDICINE BOW Emerging from sleep, or the frozen daze of staring through the passenger-side glass, I startle at the strange terrain we pass in the Rockies' stubborn heart. A blurred gauze of snow has stretched September's season pale where folds of pines fleck these welcoming hills, stand like arrows in the flurries. It feels as though we should be out there playing, full of this sudden magic, this ride we caught. I squeeze my eyes, hope the white won't vanish as we drive. Old ridges call. Branches twitch and riffle in small wind as the sky vaults the shade of ice in streams, warning of fair weather. The truck rolls. Fine rain melts this hour.
SCHOOL OF FLOWERS, MAP OF STARS Constellations of poppies brighten a stretch of gold summer grass like fish fanning currents, petaled scales glinting in the clear waters of the Ligure. We could have missed the shimmering surface, its shifting narrative never the same, but warm stones beckoned. A moment, and the eye adjusts to movement, the sinuous shine. Then silver blooms in this green universe. Nets are hauled, cups filled as the sun's wake ebbs in the west. We have stumbled onto our catch of years, found each other and this wharf without knowing the sea or the moon's heavy fruit. We drink the sapphire sky, stroll toward lights and a meal of five senses as the great bear dips into night's dark well and a hunter strides home through fields of stars.
Copyright © 2002 by Joannie Kervran Stangeland
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