Wednesday, June 30, 2010

#123 – IRIS FARM

It is well after midnight when I get back to White Wings from this near-perfect 18-hour interlude over in Maine. I wake up in one of the old carefully preserved bedrooms of the formal wing of White Wings feeling simultaneously refreshed and groggy. I see it is nearly noon. I throw water on my face from an old bathroom sink with long nozzles. I dress quickly and step out to look at the mountains and, yes, breath in this mountain air that, like the light, has no equal anywhere. But whatever scent of balsam is there is smothered in the scene of Marijuana.

Mickie has come out of her more regular persons’ wing and is right on the connecting second floor walkway. She is holding out a roach. She has a vaguely blissful look on her face. And this, for me, is enough. Enough of the mountains. Enough of old memories. Time to leave. Not just for a side trip like yesterday’s trip to Maine but rather time to just leave. And anyway I have to get back to Vermont if only because I am leaving Vermont too. Driving down in caravan with Donna in her move to Union. And I am ready. The idea of staying on in Vermont had never seemed to have much reality to it. I have too much unfinished business in New York, which is control central in this war against family versions in which the stakes are getting higher and higher.

Something is new, though still circumstantial – this feeling I have of great darkness surrounding the old family places, this feeling of big dark rooms and corridors and stairways in which the most awful things can happen, especially to children. Dark places that say knife-edge secrets, incest and worse. Like in big houses in horror movies, I think, though this is only a constructed comparison since, although I am a cinephile, I have never at any age sat through horror movies.

It is time to get on the road. I won’t try to get breakfast here. So before leaving for good I drive into Franconia for scrambled eggs and home fries and bacon at the Dutch Treat.

Between Sugar Hill and Franconia I pass by the Iris Farm, an old dairy farm still in some degree of operation, sturdy barn buildings and old style wooden silos all painted white – picture perfect in a in way the sweetness of Vermont or Maine cannot equal. And moreover, in the not so distant distance, rising up behind the farm buildings, I see the Franconia Range mountains that are as familiar as blood relatives. And the sunlight is nearly horizontal.

Like all summer children I had been taken to the Iris Farm to see the inside of the high-arched main barn, meet friendly farm hands, and greet the cows being brought in for milking. And now forty years later I am passing this place and realize I can see it clearly wherever in the world I might be – the barns, the cows, the rocky fields and then woods and mountains. The light.

Seeing it before me right now, seeing it from the Aqua Mustang, I am so full I can hardly contain what I see.

This panorama of Iris Farm should, I decide, be my final view of the White Mountains.

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