3lb bags of Jonathan apples were on sale at the grocery store, Price Cutters, so I bought them. I like to feed them to the farm animals. And with all the new baby calves dropping here and there, I’d like to persuade them to love me.
The day was cold, the light was low. Normally this weather doesn’t make me nostalgic, but I could feel myself becoming sentimental, becoming sentimental of the forward ticking of my very own life on a very ordinary day.
I think, in these photos, it somehow shows.
I took the apple to the mule, who was happy.
I love these animals, all that simple joy. I never understood animal lovers when I was little. In my teens, someone gave us a beautiful border collie. He died at nine, while I was away at school. After I hung up the phone, I laid on the floor of my Minneapolis apartment and cried for three hours. It hurt that much. It still hurts, even after all this time. But what amazes me so much about knowing and loving more animals is the testimony of just how much love I have to give. I didn’t know that before. I never would have guessed that about myself. It’s so easy to love them.
If only it were easy to love your spouse as unconditionally. Oh, my. In new love, every pop song suits its vigor. But that wears off eventually and they start to sound idiotic and unoriginal.
I spend enough time sulking around about Jon that I forget or neglect to really appreciate what I truly love in him. Sometimes I like to look at my Facebook profile under the “view as…” option. I like to look at myself as a stranger, just to see what the surface is to others. It’s so interesting. I clicked through my timeline, and my about, and my likes, and then my profile pictures. There’s one of Jon and I taken nearly two years ago. The caption I wrote was, “O you / were the best of all my days” from the Frank O’Hara poem Animals.
I revisited that poem after taking all these photos because I was thinking that the day had turned into one of those “best of all my days” days. When love stays, good poetry never loses its punch. I loved this poem two years ago when I first read it, I loved it for Jon, and I love it still, and for the life we’ve built, for Jon, for the animals, for the animals within us both.
Have you forgotten what we were like then
when we were still first rate
and the day came fat with an apple in its mouth
it’s no use worrying about Time
but we did have a few tricks up our sleeves
and turned some sharp corners
the whole pasture looked like our meal
that we didn’t need speedometers
we could manage cocktails out of ice and water
I wouldn’t want to be faster
or greener than now if with you were with me O you
were the best of all my days