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Italicized Distractions

mturer's picture

            I have had a nursery rhyme in my head all day that I haven’t heard in years. I have discovered that having a song stuck in one’s head makes observation of nature very difficult. I have been trying to observe, but I keep being interrupted by the lyrics.

            Au clair de la lune, mon ami Pierrot
            Prete-moi ta plume pour ecrire un mot
            Ma chandelle est morte, je n’ai plus de feu
            Ouvre-moi ta porte, pour l’amour de Dieu

             This apparently makes my brain susceptible to being interrupted by everything, so not only are my observations being ruined by a French nursery rhyme, but also by everything else I have watched, read, listened to, and learned from recently. There is so much to look at in this tree and so much to be distracted by in my head. I am overwhelmed. I am so overwhelmed that I have walked into a spider web. I can’t imagine being the spider and having something on this scale completely destroy my home just by aimlessly wandering into it. I am an intruder. I have now made this space a human space.
            The mosquitos haven’t noticed. They buzz around my head, my legs, and my messenger bag. I imagine they must love me. They must be so glad that I am here. I do not feel the same.

            You’ve got a head full of feathers
            You’re gonna melt into butter

            I have started searching for four-leaf clovers to get the above song number two out of my head. I can’t find any. Maybe I would have a while ago, before others like me came in this tree to do the same. I see empty bottles of iced tea and abandoned blankets that help to prove my theory. I like that particular tea a lot. I guess I am pretty thirsty.


            What business have I in the woods, if I am thinking of something out of the woods?


            Thoreau is wrong. I am human; I am made to think. I am doing nothing wrong. Evolution has given me this mind and I am going to use it. Sometimes, like right now, I am going to overuse it. This is not my fault. I am human. I am human.


            Where do you get the milk for the soufflés?

            Pinecones bloom on bare branches like impossible flowers. I don’t think they look real. I have no idea what makes me think so. Maybe it’s the hum of the electrical green box just outside the tree. Maybe I have just forgotten pinecones over the summer and replaced them in my mind with underwater grass beds. They now constitute a fake tree, apparently.

            In the fake plastic earth

            The ground is covered in glitter. This probably made sense to someone at some point. I imagine a couple of Mawrters walking into the tree late at night on a random Friday, shaking glitter out of their hair like it was the most ordinary thing in the world and leaving behind the lipstick-stained cigarettes that decorate the sparkly earth.

            What was normal in the evening by the morning seems insane

            The leaves of some other trees have started to turn yellow and I have my first candy corn of the season in my hands. The weeping hemlock looks the same as it did in May. It stayed the same. It always stays the same, but as I leave, I eave behind changes I made to the environment that depends on it. I am an intruder. I am a very distracted intruder with a nursery rhyme stuck in my head.


            Au clair de la lune, Pierrot repondit,

            “Je n’ai pas de plume, je suis dans mon lit
            Vas chez la voisine, je crois qu’elle y est
            Car dans la cuisine, on bat le briquet”



ekthorp's picture

This is such a beautiful

This is such a beautiful rumination on this spot. As I know the exact spot that you're talking about, and have had many good experiences there, I love how you vocalize your thoughts on the area. You say it so well!