“A Beatific Vision On Reifsnyder Road, Just Below The Old Reformed Church”
I turned left, following it up the twisty, narrow hill: A Volvo sedan. No, really, An honest-to-goodness, rectilinear, utilitarian Swedish people-mover. Not at all like the squishy, alloy-wheeled modernisms Volvo vends these days. Not all fluidic… diode-lit… pleasing to the new Chinese bosses. Just a box in front, a bigger box in the middle, and a box in back. It had to be decades old. You knew just by looking at it that if no one killed it, it would never die. Yes. It would have to be murdered, Perhaps by colliding head on with a hurtling semi, Perhaps by being handed down to a stupid, overenthusiastic teenager. But then, it always was rather “apart” from our world, our times. Too sensible. Too anti-style. Too timeless. Too square in all the right ways. Too determined. Too unruffled by anything extraneous. Too purposeful. Too committed.
On its roof, the Volvo bore a wooden rack—homemade for sure— To which a five-gallon gasoline can was bungeed. Upon noticing that, a thought occurred: If a humongous god hand or some other form of giant aerial irrationalism Reached down from the sky, Picked up the Volvo, Turned it upside down, And dropped it from a significant height, The gasoline can would explode on impact… But all the flames and smoke would squirt Out from under the front, back and sides of the roof. The Volvo itself would remain undamaged, Nonplussed, Waiting patiently, rubber-side up, To be righted like a hapless turtle flopped on its shell. (You always help upside-down turtles, don’t you?) Once righted, it might display a superficial singe on top. But… that would most likely do nothing more Than add character to this indefatigable mobility appliance, This carriage of the soft-spoken gestalt therapists, Of the too-unironic-to-be-a-hipster hipsters, Of the tweedy-jacketed, elbow-patched college profs, Of the high school history teachers who used to drive Peugeots, Of the back-roads organic vegetable vendors, Of the backwoods maple syrup sellers, Of the rural hobbyist apiary operators, Of the self-employed potters, Of the award-winning home canners, Of the politically liberal home-schoolers, Of the Sanders supporters, Of the Birkenstocked library volunteers, Of the outwardly normal but deeply closeted agnostics and atheists, Of the local art show watercolor blue ribbon hopefuls, Of the owners-lovers of any kind of non-fussy dog, Of the people my age who no longer give a shit about much of anything, Of the penny-pinchers who don’t want to be bothered With having to buy a new car every few decades…
And… well… yeah. I don’t really fit too many of those categories. OK, the non-fussy dog thing. I’ll embrace that. But you know, I think I’m a Old Volvo-ist at heart. At last, in my mid-sixties, I truly get the appeal of a “sensible shoes” car. Of course, Volvo doesn’t really make those anymore. And what it does make is hellaciously expensive. Therefore, And with the full support of spouse and dogs, Subaru.
All these thoughts occurred traversing the roughly one-third of a mile between the Reifsnyder Road/Brubaker Valley Road intersection and my driveway. Committing them to keyed-in letters and punctuation marks took far longer than actually watching these automotive wonders and grotesques parade through my consciousness. Not bragging. Just trying to convey a sense of how time-consuming and painstaking it can be getting this nonsense from the noggin to the outboard hard drive. Poetry isn’t for sissies.