sleepie hollow

Notwithstanding rather inauspicious beginnings there are two pumpkins growing in the backyard thanks to Oliver Fern who transported his delicately-sprouted, first grade seedlings home last springtime, in a mangled waxed paper cup. After surviving that journey, the little sprouts thrice fell off the dining room window sill, requiring miracle surgery to ensure the continuation of photosynthesis before eventual transplantation to the dirt patch in front of the rust garden, our fingers crossed as the neighborhood has experienced a prodigious bunny boom and the heartbreakingly mangy pet store cast-offs favor our side path which leads to an alley overgrown with tall, luxuriously fountaining Philadelphius at the edge of a sheltered hollow just right for cute and not-so-cute rodents on the lam from rainy days or owls (also, Oliver Fern likes to hide out in there afterschool and play spaceship). That pumpkin vine(s) would explode like morning glory and one little bugger escaped our attention, a midsummer late bloomer which had stolen seven feet high into the Forsythia. We pruned the vine back to earth and behold, it’s the biggie!  Fungus has been a stubborn, recurring problem for patches around the neighborhood, this year. We’ll take that over stifling heat waves and two months of wildfires in the Cascades.

sleepy hollowDunno if you’ve been reading any good books, I’ve been trading Washington Irving short stories back and forth with Adam from that dogeared paperback which was found on the upstairs bookcase in a stack featuring titles including but not limited to The Catcher in the Rye, The Red Badge of Courage, Ethan Frome, a bunch of shorter Ivan Doig (one of my all-time favorite authors), Sense and Sensibility, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Animal Farm, Michigan’s Lumbertowns: Lumbermen and Laborers in Saginaw, Bay City, and Muskegon, 1870-1905 and The Mouse and the Motorcycle. This morning, Adam and I were discussing whether or not he really ought to be taking a flyer on any Stephen King even supposing I read my share back in the day but I don’t particularly care for the horror genre and explained best I could he’s likely to stumble across some fairly foul language (not to mention lurking misogyny) and wouldn’t it be nice if he just stuck to some R.L. Stine for the time being? Well that’s been pretty played out for quite awhile so I promised him I’ll be on the lookout for other stuff though far be it from me to roadblock him on anything he wants to read, the boy knows how to use the catalog online (he taught me how to place holds, as a matter of fact) and there’s a branch of the Center of the Universe just down the hill.

postscript: Wrote this on the first day of October it seeming to me the report on that state of Oliver’s pumpkins (along with this image) was a delightful way to ring in autumn and I hope soon to feature his patch in a photographic exposition which may also include the beloved rust garden (of course that will depend whether I stop up or down so you may have to use your imagination for the blurry parts).

11 thoughts on “sleepie hollow

  1. I like this photo, a great jack-o-lantern smile with just the right amount of Halloween mold on the gums. If The Red Badge of Courage is a hit, maybe your son would like some of Crane’s ghost stories. None of them are in the same league as his book, but I remember enjoying a collection of his magazine pieces and short stories, I think he wrote them while squatting in a old ruined manor house in England, and when I was in school and reading after-hours with a flashlight, he gave some decent creepiness. And Ray Bradbury.
    I looked up Ivan Doig – would people enjoy his books, who’ve never been to Montana?

    • Thanks for those suggestions, Robert. Good ones! Always been an avid reader but I wasn’t a particularly bright or prolific student of the arts and letters so I have serious gaps in my working knowledge of literature but the silver lining is nowadays I have the benefit (and enjoyment) of placing a lot more in historical context than my younger dumb bunny self. Still have to look up a lot of words in the dictionary. Since I wrote this in the journal, Adam has tackled Moby-Dick. Tried to discourage him for fear he’ll get bogged down but he’s very determined. Regarding Ivan Doig, he’s most definitely one of America’s great writer voices of the west but he belongs to us all, a wonderful storyteller.

  2. What a spectacular image you’ve made — it’s got the perfect blend of glee and seasonal decay. And what a splendid reading list you and the boys have going too. It’s a delicate thing to steer young ones away from some authors or titles, isn’t it? Offering R.L Stine seems a fine and sensible substitution for Steven King (albeit temporary). My parents tried valiantly to shield me too from the darker corners of literature, but I was curious and persistent … and there was a branch of The Center of the Universe right down the street from me, too. I hope you will succeed for a while longer with Adam so the spookiest image he’ll encounter this autumn is a gingivitis-ridden jack-o’-lantern.

    • My campaign for him to hold off a little longer on more contemporary, mature horror might’ve succeeded. He really likes scary stories but he hasn’t been particularly interested in the macabre up to now except for a lot of the good folk tales. I’ll write you back, this weekend! You’ve been on my mind. Hope you’re enjoying a real, honest to goodness TGIF. Thanks on the picture, btw. Jack-o’-lanterns gone bad are one of my favorite photography seasonal rites although I think sometimes it’s true as I’m angling or contorting with my tripod at deflated, gooey gourds it causes the neighbors to wonder about me.

      • Let the neighbors think what they wish when they see you lying on the ground in front of a grody gourd. I think you’re a wonderful artist — and so do your other readers.

  3. Look forward to hearing more about the rust garden (and pictures). I’ve read a couple of Stephen King books. The Shining was pretty good and though I love the film, the book’s ending makes more sense and the emphasis on the hotel itself being haunted is quite different. The other was The Stand which I also enjoyed, but a few of the images in there I found unsettlingly grim and have stayed with me decades later. I started another (about a curious little shop, I forget the name) but it just got too gruesome and I decided I already had enough disturbing imagery in my mind without adding more!

    • Didn’t realize most of the film adaptation (for The Shining) was shot in a studio in England, just looked this up. Because you see it’s a bit of easy local PNW trivia that the certain rustic, timbered mountain lodge on the Cascades volcano Mt. Hood (a partial day’s drive from Seattle, down in the Oregon, southern part of the range) stood in for the exterior of the Overlook Hotel. The Stand is one of those books I was always curious about but could never get my hands on because you see I grew up outside of Podunktown in the middle of nowhere and it was nigh impossible to be the next person in line on those once-a-week trips to the teeny-tiny library (or else it was a forty-three week waiting period)……

      • Well, even if it’s forty three weeks to wait, as long as you sign up for a new book to wait for every month, eventually they’ll start showing up regularly!

        I remember The Stand being a huge doorstop of a book. Very apocalyptical with a crow/man as the head of the evil side, and Mother Abigail (I think) as the figure of good, each attracting lost souls towards them across the country for a final showdown.

        I also saw a mini series of it years ago (early 90s) which was pretty good.

        The Shining film is very memorable just for some of the key scenes and images, like the twins in the corridor, the blood rushing down the hallway etc. Though this is much Kubrick, who directed, as King, I suspect.

        Have you seen Ready Player One? Pretty clever film that references all kinds of popular culture, and in one part they have to enter the Overlook to figure out a clue in the game they’re in, complete with the lady in the bath in room 237…

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