For a moment after this announcement, the Arables and the Zuckermans were unable to speak or move. Then Avery picked up a handful of straw and threw it high in the air and gave a loud yell. The straw fluttered down like confetti into Fern's hair. Mr. Zuckerman hugged Mrs. Zuckerman. Mr. Arable kissed Mrs. Arable. Avery kissed Wilbur. Lurvy shook hands with everybody. Fern hugged her mother. Avery hugged Fern. Mrs. Arable hugged Mrs. Zuckerman.
There's a lot of love going 'round in that paragraph. Some people may think Charlotte's Web
is old-fashioned. There are no broken families. Mr. Zuckerman loves Mrs. Zuckerman. Mr. Arable loves Mrs. Arable. Avery loves his sister. There isn't anything really dysfunctional in the story, unless you count Mr. Zuckerman wanting to carve up Wilbur like a, well, Christmas pig. Aside from this small bump in the road, love wins.
I am going to write about love in this post. For diabetic readers, you may want to dose yourself with some extra insulin. You see, I'm a really lucky guy. Despite all of my shortcomings, I have a woman who really loves me. Yes, I am a poet. Translate that statement into "I will never make a ton of money." Yes, I'm moody at times. I frequently feel like a failure. I complain a lot. Yet, my wife puts up with all of this. Over and over and over. She's a wonderful person, and I'm lucky to be able to call her my spouse.
Our marriage has had some rocky times, but we've endured. In fact, I'd say our relationship is stronger now than the day we said "I do" to each other close to 20 years ago. Not a lot of people can make that claim. Love isn't always perfect. I can vouch for that. If love is true, however, it can bring light to the darkest times.
I have a poem tonight about love by David Wagoner. It's about spring and love and mating amphibians.
Saint Marty thinks those things go together like a horse and carriage.
Thoreau and the Toads
by: David Wagoner
After the spring thaw, their voices ringing
At dusk would beckon him through the meadow
to the edge of their pond where, barefoot,
He would wade slowly into the water
And stand there in the last of light
To see the mating toads--a hundred or more
In the shallows around him, ignoring him
Or taking him for another, inflating
The pale-green bubbles of their throats to call
For buffo terrestris
, leaping half out of the pool
And scrambling to find partners. The atmosphere
Would quiver with their harmonic over-
And undertones, with their loud, decent proposals
Like the sounds of a church potluck, their invocations
And offertories for disorderly conduct,
With the publishing of their indelicate banns
And blessings to the needy in their distress
And benedictions even beyond springtime
To all those of the faith. And he would see
Among this communal rapture, there underwater,
The small gray males lying silent
On the backs of females, holding on
To their counterparts with every slippery finger
And toe, both motionless, both gazing
Inward at the Indivisible
And rising from time to time together
To the surface only an inch above them
To breathe, then settling again and staring
With such a consciousness of being
Common American toads, he would stand beside them,
As content as they were with their medium
Of exchange, the soles of his feet trembling
With a resonance he could feel deep in his spine,
Believing this mud could be his altar too,
And his pulpit, where all of his intentions
Would be as clear as theirs, as clear as the air
In the chill of the fading light. He would lift
His bare feet gently and silently, making scarcely
A ripple, balancing
Himself onto the grass and, while his brethren
Like a drunken choir went on
And on without him, would sit down
Vibrant on the earth and once again struggle
Into his stockings, into his waterproof boots,
And straighten and square-not his rawhide laces.
Confessions of Saint Marty