Wonderful Black Mountain Day May 14, 2012

I went out last Thursday to do errands and had one of those wonderful Black Mountain days.  I stopped by the gardening shop along 70, very old-fashioned and charming with a hand painted sign.  I bought mulch, but also a group of perennials, and the women there ---both of them very strong and brown, helped me when I told them I needed plants that could handle sun and clay soil with cinders in it.  I came home with crocosmia, long iris-like fronds with a row of red flowers along a stem later in summer, and yellow tickseed and cinnamon basil.

Then I had lunch at the new sandwich and soup shop on Cherry Street, under a row of wonderful shade trees at an outside black iron table.  I walked up to the Kitchen store and bought a mandolin for shaving vegetables. Then I crossed over to the hardware store, which occupies three huge rooms, with old wood floors.  I wanted something to cut long grass and weeds.  I bought a metal blade on a handle.  The blade sits flat at the end of the long handle and you swing it like a golf club. A real scythe is much more expensive and too big for me.  Dennis, who is very hale, with strong blue eyes, and wears a store apron and blue jeans, helped me.  I bought a file to sharpen the blade, which has a row of teeth on either side.  Dennis showed me how to use the file, tucking it against his hip.  We then moved on to small pocket knives and he gave me a tour of the pocket knife cases.  I bought a nifty thing for my pocket, and a sharpener.  First one sharpens with steel and then ceramic. You draw the blade towards you through the v shape of the sharpener's two ends, first one and then finishing the process with the other.  I am chattering away, asking about knives, and I learn the purpose of a knife with a hook on the back of the blade, which you use to rip along the belly of a deer, so you don't pry down into the intestines when you gut it.  Dennis used to live in Northern Indiana and he and his wife would grow all their own vegetables, and eat venison, which he hunted with a bow and arrow, and he fished.  They would only buy grains and dairy from the market.  As it turns out, he is a Lutheran Minister, but now working in the old hardware store, and he is married to Gail, who runs the Black Mountain Arts Center. I  told him I had met his wife and explained that my husband and I would be offering "poems on jazz" brown bag lunches for 4 Fridays this summer.  I was playing with my pocket knife explaining that my husband's hands are reserved for the piano, because he is a jazz composer.  I am the one who negotiates the outdoor world.  Dennis mentioned he had built a carpenter bee trap, and sold it to me for $7.00.  The bees are drawn to a hole, just the right size, on a piece of 2 by 4, and then enter into it, turn right angles and come out into a plastic bottle.  I suggested that I could collect them and make chocolate bees.  Where else could I spend an hour at a hardware store, the kind of place that bored me as a child, when I followed my father into the den of screws, nail, and plumbing supplies.  Life seems whole again here, come full circle, a realm in which I have returned to living on a human, rather than corporate, scale.


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