The First Day of the County Fair |

The First Day of the County Fair

By Nevada County Poet Laureate Kirsten Casey

is like a poem. Every sense is heightened.

The scent of every pine tree, stronger,

on this August morning, the unmistakable

smell of anticipation.

The people file in, in a pattern, like

the crooked lines of poetry

on a page, working their way

towards the possibilities

of the long summer hours.

These 90 acres were not designed

for the silence of the past two years.

Like a poem, this soil connects place

to emotion; every previous fair

since 1947 is part of today,

is essential to the memory of this land.

How many thousands of soles, and hooves,

and wheels has this dirt known?

Drips from snow cones, stray

pieces of popcorn, and ticket stubs

have adorned the ground like a

carpet of childhood, to be raked

and cleaned again and again, as if

the magic never happened.

But the magic is happening today.

Just look at the sun-colored marigolds,

planted along these border paths,

turning their lacy faces

towards the blue sky. Dew

collects in their petals each night,

and in the morning, they weep.

But there is nothing sad in their hue.

Flower of altars and harvests, their petals

have been ground into a poultice, have soothed

pain and healed wounds, their vivid pollen

has brightened faded fabric. Edible

and medicinal, these blooms withstand

droughts, and prove to the other, paler flowers

that there is usefulness in optimism, and

everything can begin again.

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