Yesterday, on my way home from work, I came across a couple runaways out for a date on Court Street. Inspired by my photo, friend and occasional collaborator Will White, penned the following lines of verse.

You could say they were in the courting phase
He didn’t mind that she could curse up a blue streak
She didn’t mind that he had an axe to grind
He admired the action on her produce basket
She blushed at his robust undercarriage

Sure, she had a wall-eyed front left wheel, that squeaked when it was cold
And his handlebar grip would slip when it was damp out
But her stately perpendicular lines
Balanced his downtown tweed
And no one could argue their love…
For public free libraries

[I decided to share the short story I mentioned in last week’s column. A disclaimer: this is a work of fiction and should be read as such. It contains adult language and drug references.]

Fall 2003.

I’d always liked the sky in this part of the state.

I was coasting down the interstate with a full tank on my way back to school. Back to the tedious academics and social calisthenics. My eyes were on the clouds, framed perfectly by my dusty windshield. I had always admired the way the sky looked in this part of the state; up here in the corner of the North Country, along this flat stretch of I-87. It seemed reasonable to say that the sky was the same everywhere. Blue was blue. Same clouds. Same sun. Same atmosphere. Perhaps, it was because lately the ground had nothing to offer me that I admired the sky so much. Nothing caught my interest like that perfect, unobstructed blue and white cascading across the horizon. Those cottony summer cumulus, lazy and meandering, I could deal with. But the hastened pace of those icy, low autumn clouds was too much. A worn and haggard gait that hid their innate sense of urgency. I raced passed my exit at ninety determined not to lose them.

*     *     *

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A version of this story appears in the Oct. 6, 2011, edition of the Rutland County Express.

I like anniversaries. Not in the out-loud, “happy anniversary!” celebratory sense, but as acknowledgments of important moments, both personally and historically.

These are not days I mark explicitly; rather, I note them with quiet reflection. I consider the time gone by and all that has transpired in between. On these days, the past feels closer, as if the membrane between past and present has diminished, and, given the right conditions, you could reach back and be in that moment once more.

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