Digital Places of Interest

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Post #18: The Final Dispatch

Hey Folks! It's Wednesday, August 8th and you know what that means. It's officially the last day of classes for the summer session of Bread Loaf.  Last night there was a nifty slideshow held in the Barn and afterwards the last of the Loafers headed up to Gilmore for one more summer shindig. The Mavens elected to remain closer to home, hunkered down in the front lobby of Inn, far from the remote hilltop glory that is Gilmore, but even from that distance we could easily hear the occasional happy roar cascade down the mountain. And this morning, you could hardly get through breakfast because of the rampant hugging of friends and the saying of goodbyes and the wiping away of the tears.  And now, if you hang around the Inn, you can hear the clang of car trunks slamming, and the hum of engines turning over, and the crunch of gravel spewing from under tires as they pull away. Heading Off the Mountain. Trading one life for another.

And seeing how this the last entry of Dispatches, I really wanted to get it right, folks. I wanted to deliver a doozy, a real humdinger of Dispatch. So I sat and thought of all things I could write to put a bow on the end of a fine Bread Loaf summer. I wanted to somehow write about all things that made for a good summer but maybe not a great blog. But then I didn't or couldn't figure out how to honor those things without it seeming contrived or trite. 

For instance, I wanted to tell you about what it was like to have breakfast every morning with good company, folks like Maven MacNair and David Huddle and Master Will; the kind of company where you can say a lot or say a little, but it's always comfortable and never forced.  

I was going to tell you about how it wasn't so bad working because it never felt like toil, even during those long slow stretches behind the front desk when no one came by the window for what seemed like eternity. I was going to say those were some of the best days being a Maven because on those days you could shoot the bull with Maven Gene about the most overlooked Zeppelin album or how Jay-Z is the hip-hop Jay Gatsby; or you could get into a much-needed chat about relationships with Maven MacNair or have fun impersonating Nicholas Cage; or perhaps you could get Maven Peter started--if you were lucky--on the elusive nature of good Haiku; and, thankfully, on some days the Writing Doctor, Maven Edward, would barge into to the room at just the right moment to let you know exactly how you could cure your writing blues. Which usually boiled down to "stop whining, shut the hell up, and keep writing." He's a good doctor.  

I was going to tell you how surprising it felt to discover it's not too late to make damn good friends.

And try as I might, I could never find the right words to paint you a picture of kicking back in the weathered Adirondack chairs after work watching the sun go down behind the mountains while Gene told me he never understood the lyric about purple mountain majesties until he came to Vermont. Neither could I get it out about how good it was having the occasional smoke with Maven MacNair while she pointed out the way sunlight played on something botanical nearby. 

I was going to tell you about how much fun I had writing these Dispatches even if I never did learn who was reading them in Russia and Ecuador (there's still time, guys). I had so much fun that I can't imagine never doing this again.  So maybe this isn't goodbye after all. Maybe it's more like, "See ya' later." 

I was going to say all these things but I didn't because how do you write those things down without being embarrassed? Without feeling like a Cliche Machine? Besides, I could hear Haiku Maven Peter say our best writing is found in the silences. I could hear the Blog Doctor chide me for trying to be "artistic."  And I didn't want to risk the possibility of making Maven MacNair sad because she has enough of that in her life.  So I didn't go in that direction. Scrapped my plans. Decided to not say those things. Instead, I figured why not go back to the headwaters, back to the original Bread Loafer himself, good ol' Bobby Frost, and let him have the last word? Seemed like the right thing to do. So here it is:

Nature's first green is gold
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.

Nothing gold can stay.

Looking down Rt. 125, a few steps from the Inn.   

Thank you.
Christian Patrick Clarke
Front Desk Novitiate, 2012
Hic et Ubique

You didn't think I'd let you get out of here without one more insult, did you? Here it is. A while back the Mavens were eating lunch behind the desk. No one is speaking. Then Edward lets out a grunt. "She digs me. Hard." We look over to see who's digging Edward hard and see he's reading a People magazine article about Katie Holmes. I laugh and ask Edward what he thinks about Tom Cruise. He says, without skipping a beat,  "He--like you--is a complete fruitcake. And what she doesn't understand--unlike me--is that it's not all cake in life; sometimes, slick, you got deal with the nuts and the fruit, too." And then he finished reading the article.

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