...one of those new, talking cars, and it said, "A door is ajar." And the children cracked up.

At first, you can't imagine what's so damn funny, what it was that cracked them up, but then you hear what they heard: not "ajar," but a jar, as if, suddenly in this peculiar universe these children occupy, a door has become a container. A jar, like a Mason jar, the kind your mother canned beans or tomatoes or applesauce in each fall. And now that you think about it, a door is of course a jar. One opens it and out tumbles all this experience held like the round, red tomatoes inside the Mason jar, the tomatoes that tasted so wonderful in the chili or stew your mother made deep in that jar called winter, tasted so fresh it was as if, eating, you had opened the porch door and ran out into summer, into the summer garden where the tomatoes laddered into sunlight. You know then, fully, why the children "cracked up." All across your heart, you feel the same deep cracks, fissures, little abysses where memory lurks.

image from http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanh/1298331196/in/faves-calamitysue/


  1. And as I read your beautiful words I thought of my mother's canned tomatoes, peaches, pears, applesauce, pickles, pickled beets, beeans, jams and jellies - and now the shelves in the Cold House where they were shelved neatly and were taken from in the winter, stand empty and it leaves me feeling a bit empty wondering if the day ever come again when we need to work like this again for the joy of it and for the long winter ahead? A simple ajar and a jar caused all these memories and words.

  2. I know exactly what you mean. I remember when I told my mom I thought I'd get married, she told me to come out to the farm and she'd teach me how to can. I think she had the right idea of how to make a marriage work.

  3. That's an amazing little essay or reflection, Bethany. It's a paragraph poem.

  4. Thank you, Janet. I had it in lines, and the blog kept dropping them. Suddenly I saw it as a prose poem. Funny blogosphere.


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