Staying In, Staying Put

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Guest post by Aimee Nezhukumatathil

Greetings from the land of popsicles and frozen blueberries!


It is blueberry time here in Western NY. My family just returned from our local organic farm (actually called “Blueberry Hill,” how cute is that?) and I have been searching for new recipes to try that don’t involve turning on the oven in all this sloppy-thick heat and humidity. Smoothies? Check. Blueberry Buckle? Check-check (okay, I had to turn on the oven for that one). At any rate, I am so happy to be home and have the time to ponder something as small as a blueberry.
The last time I have ever been at home for this long was when my first son was born. But even then, I started traveling for readings and teaching week-long workshops just two months post-partum from an emergency c-section. Crazy, I know. From a poem I wrote that busy summer, “Without My Child, I Travel”:
Light and dark: a world unhinged.
For nine months and more, a fungus
threaded itself in the treads
of my luggage wheel, my shoe.
They were not used to such static.
But now, my first time traveling alone–
every woman’s shoulder seems to bloom
a bubble-headed baby at her neck. Every
bubble-headed baby has to have
her shoes removed at security.
Every tiny shoe kicks the hips
of a frazzled mama. Every frazzled mama
daydreams about hiding in the airport bar
and ordering a lemon martini…
And though I thought at the time that it was the right thing to do (my second book was published/ “born” the same week as my first son) because I wanted to get my work out in the public eye as much as possible, this time, I am happy to stay put. To be there for both of my boys and really savor my newborn’s infancy. He’s already a month–a month!–old and perhaps because I know this will be my last child, I am already feeling all too well that our summertime together is fast fleeting.

This time around, I barely did any readings while I was pregnant, didn’t attend AWP, and for many moons, I cleared my schedule of all business and family-related travel.

For now, I am happy to be transported across the country, across the world, via reading. No roadtrips to see the World’s Largest Ball of Twine, no airport delays, no missing luggage and no toddler tantrums mid-flight. No having to scout out clean rest-stop bathrooms, no fast-food for 2 days in a row because there-is-nothing-else-on-this-stretch-of-dusty-highway-in-the-middle- of-America.


Traveling for me this summer means books: Easter Island, by Jennifer Vanderbes, is one of my favorite historical novels that not only takes me to the most remote island on the planet, but also does a fantastic job of traveling between decades of parallel lives. Susan Rich’s Cures Includes Travel is a delightful and moving collection of poems that fill any travel-itch. And one of my recent favorites from the Spring 2010 issue, “Traveling Light” by Linda Pastan (one of my poetry heroes), is available to read online.
So, Dear Reader, where are you going this summer, via books? Or does your subscription to National Geographic settle your wanderlust while you ride the subway into work? I’d love to hear your favorite literary works that send you on a journey of sorts this sultry summer. And if you have ideas on what to do with ten pounds of blueberries (yes, we are freezing some for later), please chime in below!
This is Aimee’s fourth post for Get Behind the Plough.

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