“One afternoon in 1939” from Revenge of the Lawn: Stories 1962-1970 a collection of 62 short stories written by the American author Richard Brautigan
this is a constant story that I keep telling my daughter who is four years old. She gets something from it and wants to hear it again and again.
When it’s time for her to go to bed, she says, “Daddy, tell me about when you were a kid and climbed inside that rock.”
She cuddles the covers about her as if they were controllable clouds and puts her thumb in her mouth and looks at me with listening blue eyes.
“Once when I was a little kid, just your age, my mother and father took me on a picnic to Mount Rainier. We drove up there in an old car and saw a deer standing in the middle of the road.
“We came to a meadow where there was snow in the shadows of the trees and snow in the places where the sun didn’t shine.
“There were wild flowers growing in the meadow and they looked beautiful. In the middle of the meadow there was a huge round rock and Daddy walked over to the rock and found a hole in the center of it and looked inside. The rock was hollow like a small room.
“Daddy crawled inside the rock and sat there staring out at the blue sky and the wild flowers. Daddy really liked that rock and pretended that it was a house and he played inside the rock all afternoon.
“He got some smaller rocks and took them inside the big rock. He pretended that the smaller rocks were a stove and furniture and things and he cooked a meal, using wild flowers for food.”
That’s the end of the story.
Then she looks up at me with her deep blue eyes and sees me as a child playing inside a rock, pretending that wild flowers are hamburgers and cooking them on a small stove-like rock.
She can never get enough of this story. She has heard it thirty or forty times and always wants to hear it again.
It’s very important to her.
I think she uses this story as a kind of Christopher Columbus door to the discovery of her father when he was a child and her contemporary.
V V V Watch Video V V V
“Working Title” by Irina Arnaut http://vimeo.com/45138657
Also visit Sigmar Polke’s retrospective at MOMA: http://www.moma.org/visit/calendar/exhibitions/1407