i'm lying on the rocks in a shallow creek. the icy water feels good and washes away all the dust and sweat of a day haying in pomfret.
i had fled the scene at washington square a second time due to psychological exhaustion.
the andersons were in vermont. bob had rented a farm with a great big barn in a hollow near pomfret. it was mid-summer and the days were long.
i was enthralled by the walls in all the rooms. anderson had painted larger than life etruscan figures doing etruscan things like carrying jars of water and marching soldiers in full battle array. the colors were magnificent.
my room was small and had a brass bed and a wash stand. there was an enormous wood-burning stove which june loved. it could be used for baking so there was always the smell of fresh bread. my window looked out over the trees to the fields of hay on the hill. i always kept the window open and the nights were fresh and cool.
the haying started a day after i arrived. the farmer bob rented the house from hired me to run along behind the hay wagon and throw the bales of hay up to the daughter of the house who worked like a man. i worked hard. the first day i was ready to drop when the farmer's wife brought out a giant pitcher of punch and it had a punch alright. later i got the recipe from her and i make it for myself to this day. this magical brew put life back into me and i worked like a machine for the rest of the day. all the workers, not many, went to the house for lunch and then back to the fields until sunset.
i liked it. but i especially liked the setting sun through the maple trees by the river. i laid in that river until i was numb. i never felt more alive and tingling in my life than then, when i bathed alone in that stream.
there was a family of real mountain men and women up the hollow a piece. they came down to the house sometimes in the evening. we all sat around the fireplace chatting and exchanging stories. the pascins were very curious about new york city and i spun a few tales to satisfy them.
there had been a killing spree by some maniac recently. they called him the 'umbrella killer'; because his umbrella hid a sword.
they were so eager to believe everything i made up about umbrella man. i couldn't help myself. i told them about a fire breathing dragon whose lair was in central park. having never been more than 18 miles from home, they believed it. boy, we had some good laughs that night.
on the weekend, i would just hang around and play with the kids. sometimes i would take long walks in the hills. there were a couple of dogs which went with the place and always followed me. there were a couple of teenage girls who admired bob anderson and were thrilled to come by and watch him work.
life in the country did me a lot of good. after a week i had shed all the stains of the city and began to feel normal again. ann and tildy conspired to get me together with one of the girls.
martha was a little plain but very sweet but mary was a knockout and fully developed.
then pom arrived. pom was june's niece and she was right out of jane austen novel. always prettily dressed in light colors with 'peter pan' collars. i switched my attention from the native girls to pom. right away. without a word, when we first met, pom took my hand and led me up the hill behind the house where we watched the sun set. we said very few words. at dinner that night she just kept smiling at me and sometimes blushing when one of the girls whispered what girls whisper.
barbara, who always said she was going to marry me when she grew up played matchmaker at the table when she said, "you love her don't you, i know you do."
"yes, i do.", so everyone heard. and it was all warm and wonderful.
i worked every day and at night after dinner pom and i would sit on the porch. she knitting, and me recounting adventures and spouting sophomoric philosophy about the literature of religions and art. she was very well read and could converse very nicely about anything.
so, you see, everything was perfect. we should have married, right then and there.
bob, june, pom and all the kids took off in the volkswagon bus to go shopping on saturday. i stayed home. i was outside sketching the barn when martha and mary came by. we talked awhile as i drew. then martha left and went in the house. everything was very open about the house and everyone had a free run of the kitchen. she was going to call us when lunch was ready.
by some antediluvial instinct mary and i wound up in the hayloft making out. i mean seriously making out. and almost there, with blouse open and breasts freed, pants off and minutes away from copulation, matilda comes in, sees us and runs off laughing like an orangutang.
pom found out almost immediately what i had been getting into while she was gone.
she didn't say a friendly word to me again until two years later in winter park.
this poem i posted before is about that.
Love that overthrows life
“what makes me love you so?â�
said the boy in the glade
“I am to meet my godâ�
said the girl as she stood
and she smiled as she took his hand, adorable
she was the best girl in the land, implorable
her eyes were colored like the sky
her hair a yellow butterfly
her satin skin the sheen of cream
and blushing lips of cherry bloom
the sun was setting in the trees
the hilltop whispered with a breeze
“the sunset’s perfect from the ridgeâ�
so hand in hand they formed a bridge
and thus entwined amidst the waves of golden wheat
the two ascended on winged feet
yes, once aloft upon the hill
the wind their tangled tresses wove
and breast to breast they took their fill
as swimming eyes behold a shadowed grove
below that holy hill all bathed with light of paradise.