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The Bearers of Flowers
By Pattiann Rogers


I.

Gathering and gathering all morning,
walking among the rows of the flower farm,
he has two big baskets of them strapped now
side by side to his back and one balanced
on his head. All are filled above their rims,
blossoms of white narcissi, blue flags,
honeysuckles, sweet pea dangling, spilling
occasionally to the road around his feet.

Who can deny he is a vastly different man
today than he will be tomorrow when his baskets
are loaded with paving stones, red rocks
and chat taken from the riverbed?

II.

Terra cotta pots shaped like goats
and geese, turtles and cupids, bear flowers
in the spaces where their bellies
should be. I once watched a mountain marmot
eat yellow petals from a stem, thus bearing
for a while a coneflower in his real belly.

III.

Some people bear flowers by piano or violin,
by tambourine or flute, performing The Song
of Moonflowers, A Serenade for Gilliflowers,
The Festival Overture of Wild Petunias and Phlox.
How strangely their fingers and breath
sustain those blossoms.

One widow places double glory lilies
weekly in the shiny bell of her dead
husband’s French horn propped up
in the parlor corner.

IV.

In the library of a horticulturist,
many shelves bear the books of the sweet brier
rose and the cabbage rose, the encyclopedias
of the mock orange and the Indian sorrel,
five legends of the woodland strawberry, plus
leather-bound copies of the history of catmint,
an atlas showing the migratory routes
of night-flowering cacti through the desert,
the journeys of lespedeza from field to field.

V.

I wonder which came before—those
possessing the potential for bearing?
or the flowers, in first being
that which can be borne? or the bearer
who bears all flower-bearers and flowers,
the archetype from whom all bearers
and borne flowers must take their definition
and form? or any bearer engaged in the act
of bearing flowers, without which act
there could be no archetype at all?

--------

Monday morning after another walk to look for frogs and turtles (and a snake!) in the swamp, my father took the boys to the pool nearest us at Sea Colony while my mother, [livejournal.com profile] apaulled and I drove to Fenwick Island. We went to the Seaside Country Store (which has fudge and crab nuts among other delicacies and collectibles), the Floaters (which has nautical souvenirs and artwork, plus actual floaters and crab traps as well as an Irish shop), and a bayside beach area, where I hoped to see fiddler crabs but only saw boats launching into the bay.

After lunch we went to Viking Park, which has miniature golf and a go-kart course (being part-Viking themselves, the other members of my family chose Vikings over pirates). I played one round (and won my group, which included my father and older son; [livejournal.com profile] apaulled won the group with my mother and younger son). After that, while the rest of the males played another round, I took younger son over to the go-karts. He was only just tall enough to drive alone and was briefly the happiest boy in the world driving around the course; then his car hit the barrier, he was bounced about pretty hard, and he became absolutely disconsolate for the rest of the afternoon. Not even offers of Candy Kitchen could revive him.

Viking Park has big models of the guardians of the Underworld, Midgard and Kangor, "fire"-breathing dragons that keep the afternoon heat tolerable as they blow steam, and there was a nice breeze...plus we got Italian ices and ice cream between rounds. We went to the beach in the very late afternoon -- that is, hubby and I did while my disinterested parents took the kids to the pool in the high-rise complex, which meant that we could swim without worrying about watching them. We saw the dolphins again and a variety of gulls, terns and other seabirds, and many, many mole crabs, which made us go summon the boys. They came and we all dug for the sandcrabs for awhile before coming back to the condo for dinner and showers so we can get up early Tuesday to drive to Assateague.


At the Viking Golf course, representations of Kangor, who breathes fire and eats trolls and dwarves, with his mate Midgard, who will rise for Ragnarok to battle Thor. (Please accept my apologies for both my own limited knowledge of Norse mythology and the golf course's goofy representation of same.)


Thor -- I think it's Thor, anyway, from the hammer -- stands guard at the entrance to the golf course. There are also a water slide and go karts on the premises.


Riding across the middle of an early hole, one of the Rohirrim...um, that is, a Viking warrior.


Someone who can read runes far better than myself would have to tell me whether this stone actually says anything.


Erik the Red, I suspect. Or fear. *g* Have I mentioned that my in-laws are mostly Swedish and occasionally collect tacky Viking souvenirs? So of course this has rubbed off on my kids, who are more Swedish in background than any other nationality.


Of course people get to golf on a "Viking treasure ship"...


...under the guardianship of Heimdall, father of mankind, and responsible for warning the gods of impending doomsday when Midgard is supposed to roil the seas and summon the longboats.


Had a friend send me a link to Lucius' cane. Want it so badly. Maybe it will be available by my birthday...oh, but I want camera stuff! Can't I just have Lucius? *cries*
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