To Cool in the Peppermint Wind

There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.

My husband and I went to the pet store today to pick up tick medicine for the dogs.  It’s one of those massive pet stores—a department store, really—for owners of dogs and cats; rodents and reptiles; fish and birds.

“How long is this going to take?”  My husband said, frowning at the dog sniffing at his ankles.

“Not long.  I know exactly where it is.”  I led the way past the group of people sitting with their dogs on the floor near the entrance.

But I think they move things around in that store every couple of months just to throw you off your game: By mistake, we walked down the doggy apparel aisle.  There were Halloween costumes and sweaters and hooded yellow raincoats and booties.  One aisle over, there were car seats for dogs.  Another aisle had all manner of dog toys: rubber chickens and balls and squeaky plush animals.  There were balls and bats and Kongs in all sizes.  There were pills in the next aisle: pills for joint relief and bladder control and pills to keep dogs from eating what they deposit where the sidewalk ends.  We passed dog food and whole shelves full of dog treats.  We saw puppy pads and puppy doors and puppy gates and puppy shampoo.  Finally, we found what we were looking for.

Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.

“Let’s get out of here,” I said to my husband, grabbing the medicine and rushing towards the front of the store.  There were last minute items at the checkout: pet magazines and catnip and doggy peppermints for bad doggy breath.  The woman ahead of us unloaded the box containing a dog stroller from her cart and set it on the conveyor belt.  She smiled at us; so happy with her purchase.  I pictured this woman bound to the sidewalk by her dog stroller; taking the Path to Happiness and Success proscribed by Big Business.

Yes, we’ll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we’ll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and they children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends.

This evening, I took the dog for a walk.  He jerked me from the sidewalk to that narrow strip between concrete and asphalt; that place where oaks and acorns and ideas take root.  I picked up his poo with a scented pink doggie bag and I wondered when I decided to leave the place where the sidewalk ends and join the people walking on concrete.

And I wondered, too, whether I would ever have the courage to stray again.

For this week's Indie Ink prompt, Dafeenah challenged me with
"There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight---Shel Silverstein"

I challenged Michael with "fractured living".




Labels: ,

Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams: To Cool in the Peppermint Wind

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

To Cool in the Peppermint Wind

There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.

My husband and I went to the pet store today to pick up tick medicine for the dogs.  It’s one of those massive pet stores—a department store, really—for owners of dogs and cats; rodents and reptiles; fish and birds.

“How long is this going to take?”  My husband said, frowning at the dog sniffing at his ankles.

“Not long.  I know exactly where it is.”  I led the way past the group of people sitting with their dogs on the floor near the entrance.

But I think they move things around in that store every couple of months just to throw you off your game: By mistake, we walked down the doggy apparel aisle.  There were Halloween costumes and sweaters and hooded yellow raincoats and booties.  One aisle over, there were car seats for dogs.  Another aisle had all manner of dog toys: rubber chickens and balls and squeaky plush animals.  There were balls and bats and Kongs in all sizes.  There were pills in the next aisle: pills for joint relief and bladder control and pills to keep dogs from eating what they deposit where the sidewalk ends.  We passed dog food and whole shelves full of dog treats.  We saw puppy pads and puppy doors and puppy gates and puppy shampoo.  Finally, we found what we were looking for.

Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.

“Let’s get out of here,” I said to my husband, grabbing the medicine and rushing towards the front of the store.  There were last minute items at the checkout: pet magazines and catnip and doggy peppermints for bad doggy breath.  The woman ahead of us unloaded the box containing a dog stroller from her cart and set it on the conveyor belt.  She smiled at us; so happy with her purchase.  I pictured this woman bound to the sidewalk by her dog stroller; taking the Path to Happiness and Success proscribed by Big Business.

Yes, we’ll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we’ll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and they children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends.

This evening, I took the dog for a walk.  He jerked me from the sidewalk to that narrow strip between concrete and asphalt; that place where oaks and acorns and ideas take root.  I picked up his poo with a scented pink doggie bag and I wondered when I decided to leave the place where the sidewalk ends and join the people walking on concrete.

And I wondered, too, whether I would ever have the courage to stray again.

For this week's Indie Ink prompt, Dafeenah challenged me with
"There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight---Shel Silverstein"

I challenged Michael with "fractured living".




Labels: ,

13 Comments:

At September 6, 2011 at 10:00 AM , Anonymous songbyrd said...

Ah.... love that poem and love how you wove into your story. The poem is giving me inspiration for my own post as my husand and I gear up soon for a road trip .. off the beaten path.

 
At September 6, 2011 at 10:32 AM , Anonymous Sue Ann Bowling said...

Sidewalk? What sidewalk? Where I live the closes asphalt (2 lane road and bike bath) is a tenth of a mile away--but we still have a pet big box, which drove our local store out of business.

 
At September 6, 2011 at 11:19 AM , Anonymous Annie said...

I love how you took the challenge. Beautiful. Wild how you can take a trip for tick medicine and make it this beautiful post of awareness. Thanks for the ride!

 
At September 6, 2011 at 11:21 AM , Anonymous Cheryl P. said...

Hi Kelly, Did you think that I had fallen into some great hole? I love Shel Silverstein poems. I read Where the Sidwalk Ends (the book) a thousand times to my kids while they were growing up. I loved how you connected it to the dog store and dog walking

Yesterday I saw a guy at the Santa Cali-Agon Festival in Independence, Mo pushing a little dog around in a doggy stroller among the gazillion people. That can't be as much fun for the dog or the owner as a real walk.

 
At September 6, 2011 at 5:20 PM , Anonymous elizabeth young said...

Well done, you did an excellent job with this, and I'm please to find that even though you're a dog owner you're as repulsed as I am by much of the unnecessary crap in a
petstore!

 
At September 8, 2011 at 6:18 AM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks, Elizabeth. I really hate to go to those pet stores.

 
At September 8, 2011 at 6:19 AM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Cheryl,
WIth school starting, I feel as if I've fallen into some great hole too! I'd forgotten how busy things get in September. I really can't imaging that riding in a dog stroller would be much fun for the dog.

 
At September 8, 2011 at 6:20 AM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks, Annie!

 
At September 8, 2011 at 6:20 AM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

I grew up with no sidewalks and I really miss that. Now, I'm surrounded by them.

 
At September 8, 2011 at 6:21 AM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks for reading and the link! Have a great trip!

 
At September 8, 2011 at 6:17 PM , Anonymous elizabeth young said...

I love you way you guys interact as a family, and for this I am awarding you the Liebster Award! Come and pick it up at The Garden Gate please Kelly and Congratulations.

 
At September 8, 2011 at 7:46 PM , Anonymous Sandra Tyler said...

Fun post! I have my own petstore post, when we were buying gerbils. I'm a writer as well, and enjoyed this (followed a link from some kind of award where you were a favorite!) so sticking by ya as a new follower!

 
At September 9, 2011 at 5:06 AM , Anonymous Kgwaite said...

Thanks for reading and following, Sandra!

 

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