franklin hill turn around
When I woke up this morning, I could smell the rain. Waited until it stopped, around 8 am, to go out for my run. Already hotting up, humid, bright sun. But a cool breeze that felt like air conditioning when it hit my sweaty skin. Ran north through the Welcoming Oaks, past the ancient boulder — no stacked stones, instead a woman standing nearby dressed in the same color combo as me, black on bottom and orange on top. I remember running above the old stone steps, but have absolutely no memory of running on the double bridge. I spent a minute trying to remember anything but couldn’t. I do remember running below the lake street bridge and noticing someone sleeping behind a post. Caught a brief glance of the river, almost sparkling, between the trees but forgot to look at it when I had a clearer and closer view at the bottom of the hill. Heard a drumming woodpecker, saw the brightest, glowiest outfit I’ve seen in a while: pink pants and a red jacket. As I ran by, I could feel the pink yelling excitedly at me, PINK!!!!
Listened to the cars whooshing by as I ran north, then put in “Dear Evan Hansen” as I ran back south.
No bugs, no roller skiers, no chill beats booming out of a scooter’s stereo (heard that yesterday on my walk with Scott and Delia). I did see a scooter zoom by. I think they were on the road, pretending to be a car. No eagles, no squirrels, no big groups of walkers or runners. No rowers, no honking geese. And, hardly any yellow.
Before my run, I found a poem, “Butter,” that made me want to focus on yellow as I ran. I kept returning to the task — look for yellow — but all I could see was blue, green, gray. The only yellow I remember was: the dotted lines on the bike path and the neon crosswalk sign. No yellow shirts or yellow bikes or yellow shorts or yellow cars. No yellow thoughts or yellow voices or yellow light or yellow smells.
The butter poem is the poem of the day on Poetry Foundation. As I read it, I thought about my past love of butter and the story, often told about me, that I liked to melt butter in the microwave and eat it like soup. How many times did I actually do that? It also makes me think of my quote from Audre Lorde about the yellow pellet put in the white butter that spreads, adding the Yes! to our no lives. And it makes me think about Mary Ruefle and her yellow happiness.
Thinking about butter, here are a few images that immediately pop into my head from my childhood:
How uncomfortably scratchy and ticklish my throat felt after drinking the butter soup. Even now 40 years later when I eat butter, I sometimes feel a phantom scratch. Yuck!
Our old popcorn machine had a small metal tray that you put butter in then shoved in a slot so it could melt while the corn popped. I remember pouring the liquid butter over the popcorn, always drenching a few kernels until they were soggy. Even more than using it to melt butter, I remember using the little metal tray to try and catch snowflakes with my sister Marji on a rare snow day in North Carolina.
another butter story about me which I have the thinnest. vaguest memory of: at some restaurants, they would put scoops/balls of butter in a dish on the table. Apparently I ate it like ice cream, either because I thought it was ice cream, or because I liked butter that much.
Butter/ Elizabeth Alexander
My mother loves butter more than I do,
more than anyone. She pulls chunks off
the stick and eats it plain, explaining
cream spun around into butter! Growing up
we ate turkey cutlets sauteed in lemon
and butter, butter and cheese on green noodles,
butter melting in small pools in the hearts
of Yorkshire puddings, butter better
than gravy staining white rice yellow,
butter glazing corn in slipping squares,
butter the lava in white volcanoes
of hominy grits, butter softening
in a white bowl to be creamed with white
sugar, butter disappearing into
whipped sweet potatoes, with pineapple,
butter melted and curdy to pour
over pancakes, butter licked off the plate
with warm Alaga syrup. When I picture
the good old days I am grinning greasy
with my brother, having watched the tiger
chase his tail and turn to butter. We are
Mumbo and Jumbo’s children despite
historical revision, despite
our parent’s efforts, glowing from the inside
out, one hundred megawatts of butter.
Had to look up “tiger Mumbo Jumbo” to find the reference: the story of Little Black Sambo. When we lived in North Carolina, we would often eat at Sambos for breakfast.