Friday, October 8, 2010


Good news! Turns out any autumn day, even a gem, yields tons of examples of wabi-sabi. Rusted leaves. Withered flowers. Mulchy smell. Mind you, a day like today—beautiful, mild, in the 70s—shows these so-called imperfections off to their best advantage, which is kind of a paradox.


I took a bike ride out to Arlington Great Meadows, John Lennon songs coming from the radio in my pocket. The fat part of the afternoon, around 3:00. Sat down on a little hill edge, looking out to the far side of the meadow, a mixed grove of trees out there, colors just settling in. On my side, a stand of sumac also yielding to red, but not in a hurry.

Got to thinking about the approaching Columbus Day weekend and about my high school geometry teacher, Miss Anne Kelly, urging us all to be like Columbus (it was October 12) and discover...whatever it was, maybe proving that parallelograms have parallel sides...but tying it to Columbus discovering the New World.

There's that relativity question again. One person's new is another person's old. But somehow that distinction has stuck. Somehow the western hemisphere is newer, with its monkeys with prehnsile tails and its hummingbirds and jaguars and macaws, all newer than old Asia, old Africa, and old, old, Europe. Only a few mystics had a planetary view. The explorers were venturing out into the back of beyond, the land of dreams, if not spice.

Does this have anything to do with October? Yeah, sort of. It's the roundest month, maybe the Earth-iest. In fact, maybe we should make it even rounder and call it Octobo. And instead of Columbus Day, maybe we should have another kind of Earth Day, six months after the one in April. This one wouldn't be about the Nature of the planet; it would be a People of the Earth Day. And to celebrate, we'd skype each other or email each other and get to know about each other: schoolkids in Australia talking to a village in Lapland; Manchuria contacting Israel. The lost languages, the hidden cultures: bring them out. It would be exciting, like picking up Pitcairn Island on your shortwave radio.


Señor Octobo,
the carefree hobo,
played on his oboe
para todo el globo.
It wasn't the theme
from Rio Lobo
but rather, a dream
of a wild bonobo
in the jungle steam
that Señor Octobo,
the worldly hobo
from Constantinobo
played on his oboe.
Or so it seemed.

1 comment:

  1. I like your idea for October's People of the Earth Day.