Once long ago, back when I was innocent as a young chive in a
garden, there was a pretty red barn at the foot of a manicured lawn.  Above
it rose a garden full of lush and leaf-fragrant tomato plants lightly
embraced by airy encircling cages, verdant forest-blue broccoli elbowing
each others's bulbous buxomity, fully-fledged lettuce ready to fly
curly-winged stalks into dayglow adolescent gangles,  a many-headed
sunflower tracing the path of the sun with each and every yellow-fringed
cocoa face, all virile and exploding as Woody Woodpecker's tufts trying to
escape a beady bandana headband border of bowling-ball-sized boulders.  A
matching fire ring sat perfectly correctly in front, and a cube-shaped gray
house meditated on the crest of the mound, window eyes mimicking real eyes
that gazed out at this bursting scene.

	Ah, back then, in my white bladder campion flying days - the ones
where you can only tell by feeling which is female - my head danced visions
of fireflies rising like sparkler star-showers off the hilly hayfields,
children wheeling rollerblade and mountainbike circles on traffic-blank
blacktop, dogs trotting zig-zags into ditches and meadows whorled with the
whispy currents of twilight air, crickets sawing their well-rosined legs
like symphonies of fiddlers, while lambs baaed and butted their ewe-mothers
in the barnyards.

	Back then the roadsides doubled as gardens.  Chickory mirrored the
china sky.  Milkweeds sent up proud queenly stems with spatulate velvetized
leaves and trembling satellite-like, purple-budded flower balls.  Doilies
of Queen Anne's lace nodded to dogs and dreamers alike.   Bergamot spread a
minty scent lavender as its bee-covered blossoms spicy as a priest's
sensor.  Evening primrose sweetened the air like honey while it buttered
the eye like eggs sunny side up.  The bristly foxtail and flowing silky
squirrel-tail grasses glowed like casinos in the golden low-slung sun.

	Then I wandered my mind freely as an icy meltwater stream in the
belly of a sun-warmed glacier, carving shimmering blue-lighted tunnels
anyone would die to pray in.  I wandered actually the sinuous backs of
serpentine eskers, peered into deep round kettle holes that could hold well
more than the gray house, bobbed my eyes like a bouncy ball reading lines
of music over kettle and kame cornfields, searched the brow of every
well-treed hill for erratic boulder giants - hungry for an edge - and
occasionally rested my eyes on the smooth calm flatness of an endless
outwash plain.  In my head, I made over the whitewashed walls and alleys,
the rusted stanchions of the red barn into my glimmering enchanted hideaway
replete with one view to the west where a silent highway hid behind a hedge
of honey locust and a second to the south where sunlight streamed through
leafy cathedrals of grandmother box elders.

	Back in my eggplant innocent days, I dreamed of lounging
comfortable as cats on the kelly lawn, sitting regally as a tom on the
radiating stoop, stalking stealthy as any kitten through rabbit-pathed
alfalfa fields, lying in piles of my feline friends at night, snuggling the
breast of my mother whenever she lay to rest.

	Ah, back then in my sweet corn summer, the sky was ever blue as
periwinkle; cottontail clouds puffed into calves and puppies, lizards,
dragons, and the bodies of goddesses; cows contentedly chewed their cuds
submerged to the udders in cool chocolate-brown ponds; the air peeled the
churchbells of laughing children; the farmyard cradled sacred space.

	Then, suddenly, like a TV image gone haywire, this place that was
soft as bat's breath, palpable as humidity, desired as the hot tomato and
the cool cucumber, flipped off its square, flattened, tilted, and was gone.
And, even in my mind's eye, the rolling greens of the heat-soaking corn,
the  all-embracing  leaf-lucious maples and oaks that loved the roads and
me with their well-rounded shade, the luxurious pumpkin-wealthy garden and
horse-radish-wracked roadsides,  the belly-filling, hay-mown, cowpie scents
of summer, and the warbling waterfall trills of screech-owls deep in the
quiet of the late-night woods are sucked away like every delicious dream is
at waking too soon to the radio sound of morning.  It all disappears in the
distance of my receding memory like a paradise in the rear-view mirror of a
speeding  car.  That magic summer and the me that was in it is done.  The
road twists on toward winter.
Mary Mullen
Aug. 2-25, 1996, July 11, 1997