oh, the moment

The drive back is filled with sleep for all but my son and me. I ride shotgun, he drives his sister’s Xterra. The cargo hold is filled with a box of books my parents are done reading, jars of pickled beets and plum jam. Leftover pasties and a bag of plums from my parents’ tree. The side windows reflect sleepers in the back seat. Nose buried in blue pillow. Fist curled. Another nose pressed against the window, flat palm on forehead. We listen to his new Mumford and Sons CD.

Oh, the bass line, he says as he gears down to climb a steep pass. We are the only vehicle in view.

He takes his eyes off the road for a bit so we can share the look we’ve shared ever since he was two, old enough to turn the volume up on the radio. It’s the look that says—this moment matters. It’s so rare now to have these moments with just him.

Crescendo goes the music. Flop goes my heart.

Oh, the banjo, I reply.

We’ve driven this road between my childhood home and where I raised my kids for so many years, we boast about knowing every curve, every dotted line. Comfort in familiarity.

When the Crazies and the Little Snowies rise in our horizon, we catch our breaths, soak in the view: this is where the Purple Majesty Song came from—something I always told my kids. Amber waves of grain, purple mountains majesty. The sweeping, open blue.

Oh, the snow caps, he nods toward the peaks.

Oh, the shorn wheat, I nod to our right. Strips of prairie grass and snow fence flash by, and then  fields of . . . grazing, brown dots.

Once again, he takes his eyes off the road for one quick moment. We exchange looks. One eyebrow pops up. I know, I know: this isn’t the way we remember this trip: someone’s cows are in the amber field.

Photos taken at 70 mph, expect to experience some blur.

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About redmitten

author of Cracking Geodes Open, Making Good Use of August, and The Peppermint Bottle. poetry editor for IthacaLit. website: https://toomuchaugust.wordpress.com

18 responses to “oh, the moment

  1. At first I thought it said crows and I thought, of course there were crows, there’s always been crows in the amber grain! Then I saw it was cows. Well, what can you do with cows, put wings on them, a lower case r? Well, there’s always Mumford, pasties and plums.

    • redmitten

      laurie,

      ha! and the funny thing is- neither of us could remember if we had ever seen cows on this trip or not. but in the same breath, we say we know this trip inside out and backwards. but does it come with cows? * shrug *…we’ve never noticed. thus spoke a montanan through and through.

  2. Tim

    That’s a lovely inventory of parting gifts, from the recycled books to the pickled beets. I was hoping the brown dots were bison. Cattle not nearly so fitting.

    • redmitten

      tim,

      yes to the books and beets. and in reverse, we don’t arrive without delivering a bag of books or a small bin of tomatoes. this time i brought my folks books about elephant whisperers and female bronco riders. and yes it would have been startling to see the buffalo- as we remember which roads take you to their fields. but cows? why could we not remember if we’ve ever seen cows in the wheat fields before? 🙂

  3. I think there would be no better music to listen to on this morning, in this landscape than Mumford and Sons and their eclectic brand of Indie folk…I am a bit bleary eyed, waking up in your landscape, but have a good feeling about the day…are you full yet? All those meals and then some to bring home! Cheers Sherry

    • redmitten

      kerry,

      i like when i wake up in your landscape. and mumford and sons–their new cd covers an old simon & garfunkel song, which for my son’s generation is something brand new.

  4. My kids like Mumford and Sons, too, and, hence, so do I! Love this, Sherry.

    • redmitten

      kathleen- i always want to hear what my kids are drawn to, watch what interests them, read what sweeps them away. in these ways i connect with them more, and also learn more about who they are. good to hear from you, kathleen!

  5. “It’s the look that says—this moment matters.”

    This piece made me smile ’til the tears pooled. Some time ago I wrote, on my Friday Frolics, about Mumford and Sons in a rather maternal way. There is something about the music, the lyrics of each song, like a boy scaling the mountain of Manhood and falling back and forth between its little peaks and valleys. A mother can’t help but notice.

    And Oh, the banjo, yes!, it so punctuates these moments. When that banjo breaks in we know we are headed somewhere special.

    The photo is marvelous. (It’s all a blur, isn’t it?)

    • redmitten

      jayne,

      wow, so beautifully written-your comment! it is the little boy climbing, the falling and the peaks, the valleys. a mother cannot help but notice- they need that from us, no matter how “old” they become. lovely to consider your words.

  6. wuffda

    If that shot was taken at 70, why weren’t those cows moving a bit faster?

    • redmitten

      rox-

      i think it is the grazing cow factor that states if an Xterra is traveling west at the speed of three wheat stalks being eaten by two cows at the same time, then the Xterra is held still until both cows swallow . . .

  7. kmerrifi

    Comfort in familiarity. Thanks for reminding me, Sherry.

    • redmitten

      k-la, sometimes we resist the familiar & do such a good job of it, it’s a surprise when familiarity returns with such comfort in hand. huh.

  8. Hi Sherry, I first heard Mumford and Sons a few weeks ago on Saturday Night Live, and I was enthralled. I’m listening to them now, and I’ve been downloading their music. I love what you’ve written about you and your son: This moment matters.

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