Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Hindenberg and Other Possible Disasters

My most recent distraction has been the 40 acres bordering us to the South, owned by a German man and his German wife. Erich passed away about a month ago. Dropped dead right there on his way into the shower of a heart attack at the age of 80, which is as good a way as any to go, I suppose. As we were given first chance at the place, we've agreed to buy it, for a price at once daunting yet reasonable, and it will be up to our sons to pay for the damn thing when old age and retirement poverty prevent us from doing it.

So there's the more practical part. The romantic part - the one I cling to when I find myself dreading the coming days when we must "tighten our belts" as my husband likes to put it - is that the land has so much potential. It's a slice of Germany, planted with firs bordering the big pond, and paths between. My own Black Forest. And this morning the pond, previously hidden by green-black, floating icebergs of moss, was miraculously unveiled and filled with life. Small bluegill darted near the shore and around great, slow moving grass carp and koi, all of them between two and three feet long, appearing unweildy and metallic like a dozen Hindenbergs. Oh, the Humanity. And among them, The Golden One flashed orange like the evening sun falling behind a cloud.

Yesterday evening, while walking along the edge of a woods, I decided to pick up a few hickory nuts. Under one specific shagbark hickory tree were a couple of dozen very large nuts. I was confused at first, because normally, a hickory nut is slightly larger than a grape, and these were huge - about five times the usual size. And though the nut inside isn't cured yet, they were beautiful, large and flavorful. (I may have discovered a hybrid. Which makes me laugh, because my dad was nuts about nut trees, and I never thought I would be.)

It's a fair trade-off, I guess, to be poor, but rich in land and all that it provides.