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Unmarked Crossings: a poet and her journeys

Connemara, Carl Sandburg, and Krispy Kreme

March 13, 2010

The sun was shining when I got up this morning! Oh joy! It has been raining or drizzling or foggy for three days.
I was very excited to have the opportunity to take some nice sunlit shots around the park. Alas, it was not to be… By the time I was showered, dressed, and had eaten breakfast, the clouds were rolling in again. I spent the morning preparing a manuscript for submission, then set out to find a place that would print it out from my thumb drive.

Did I say set out? Remember, my car did not start at all yesterday. Today, however, even with a new storm coming in, the air had dried out enough that my old Subaru started up on the first try. What a relief to put it into drive and ease up the little rise past the goat barn, the duck pond, through the woods, and out to Little River Road. I knew the way to the other side of Hendersonville, where there were lots of bigger chain stores. I was hoping for a Kinko’s, Office Depot, or Staples where I could get my printing done.

I kept looking carefully as I drove along, but it wasn’t until I had passed over I-26 and was nearing Wal-Mart, that I saw not only a Staples, but a UPS mailing store where I could mail my manuscript out. I couldn’t resist a container of mix-and-match clips and paper clips in all sorts of shapes and colors. Office supplies were not so much fun when I was younger: these are heart- and star-shaped clips, multi-color metallic paper clips, pastel clips, and some little plastic clips that resembled clothespins. I also bought a small trash can and a few other desk supplies that I imagine another writer might like when a new poet-in-residence is here at Connemara. It was great to have such thoughtfulness regarding the study when I moved in to the Farm Manager’s Cottage; I hope the next person here will enjoy the things I leave for him or her, too.

Although they are not literary aspects of a residency, knowing the location of businesses in the area is important. I had been to Wal-Mart on Wednesday when I had to replace the digital camera I forgot to pack and load up on groceries for my stay here. Also, I had already found the Flat Rock Bakery on my first full day here. I was surprised to see another bakery on Main Street in downtown Hendersonville sharing the street with all sorts of boutiques, gift shops, and interesting-looking stores. I will be going back there soon, but today was not to be the day.

Instead, I drove back to where I had seen a Krispy Kreme donut store! I had sampled those little heavenly rings of dough and glaze in quick-stops on the Interstate or in select grocery stores. Never had I seen a free-standing Krispy Kreme shop, however. Being a stranger here, I couldn’t figure out the way in to the store, so I settled for parking in a McDonald’s parking lot and pressing my way through a hedge that separated the two. I ordered my donuts – classic glazed –and was ecstatic to be handed back a box of sweet little things, still warm to the touch. Heaven! And, because McDonald’s was right there, of course I had to have a cup of coffee (two cream, please).

I had also seen several thrift shops on my travels through Flat Rock and Hendersonville. There is a Goodwill, a Salvation Army Thrift Store, and at least three others. I stopped first at the store which helps fund Meals on Wheels. Lots of neat things, but nothing that I couldn’t live without (my criteria these days). The Humane Society Thrift Store was another story—I bought four books for $1 each: a complete James Herriot Reader, a Gothic Reader with six stories by some of my favorite gothic authors, The Bonesetter’s Daughter by Amy Tan, and a newer Ann Tyler novel. Fortunately, I just missed the Adoption Saturday animals, although I was told that two were adopted.

I miss my own dogs, Petunia, Camellia, and Chloe, very much, which is why when I returned to the park, I didn’t even unpack the car but rather trotted up to visit my friends in the goat barn who were getting ready for their evening meal. Each goat has her own feeding station, complete with her name posted above. Each station has a short chain that hooks to the goat’s collar that is to eat there. They were fed some nutritional pellets, the amount depending on their size, weight, and whether or not they are pregnant. I just love being among these gentle creatures. I say gentle, but I’ve already witnessed their brutality to Nellie and, while watching them eat, I saw one grab the ear of little Celeste who was eating next to her.

While there, I was visited for the first time by Tiger, one of the two resident barn cats. He is such a handsome boy, sporting a collar with a bright red name tag. I have yet to meet Tabitha, but will easily recognize her: she looks exactly like Tiger, except she has four white socks. Maybe tomorrow.

Tonight, I am retiring early, having had a nice dinner I actually cooked in the oven and completed with a salad. I have a whole stack of books waiting bedside. And there is that writing I need to commence, but is today still brewing in my mind. When I returned from Staples with some tape among the other things I brought back with me, I posted my collection of quotations from writers and poets whose words have inspired me for my current project. There are three scanned photos of me, as well: one when I was ten on a farm that would become a nightmare to my family because of the man who lived there; one is a fourteen-year-old Christina, walking at an oblique angle to the camera, deep in thought; one is of my family in probably 1965 or so—my mother and father, my sister (who is nearly twenty years older) and all four of my brothers, three of whom are now gone.

I look at these three versions of me and I can’t help but think of Napoleon Bonaparte’s words: “What is history but a fable agreed upon?” We all have a history; the difficulty comes when trying to find one that everyone involved agrees upon. I guess I’m more inclined to side with Carol Muske Dukes statement that there must be “the distinction made between one version of history and another.”
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