I've always had a passion for poppies ever since living in California and witnessing fields of crimson as far as the eye could see on trips outside of Sacramento; of course, the poppy is California's state flower. Who would be surprised that my favorite impressionist art is by Claude Monet (see above); I'm wondering if I saw this painting (or one like it) in the Louvre when I traveled to Paris with my best friend from high school. When I was in my 20s, there was a field like this behind my apartment in Ellington, Connecticut, and alongside my sliding glass door, I hung this print on the wall - a kind of mirror image of the field outside the glass. I don't live there anymore, but have visited. Instead of grass and a field of flowers framed by a perimeter of oak and evergreen trees, there is a field of brick condominiums. Now, as I pass all the manicured gardens on my afternoon weekend walks, I see the poppies fade in the summer heat and wonder why I have never planted them in my own garden. A thought for next year.
In the fifth grade, I wanted to be a farmer after my teacher had discussed irrigation techniques and California agriculture, after I’d witnessed the amazement of the bright red fields of irrigated poppies planted as far as the eye could see. I rise up on my towel thinking about how much I missed my grandparents’ farm. How my grandmother’s rectangular patches of vegetable gardens were bordered by rows of fuchsia-colored zinnias that were so bright they could ward off pesky birds better than scarecrows.
Down the beach I see that Kelly is playing soccer with two grown men. And to my horror, she’s playing in her bikini. A group of people have gathered around her. The women in chadors are clucking their tongues and shaking their heads as Kelly’s bathing suit rides up one cheek.