Monday, November 25, 2013

Strange Fruit

More jottings from my notebook, Micrographia (a.k.a. Mike):

November 20

November is in its late period. The balmy day two days ago is a goner. Now we are bundling up. And trees are leafless, for the most part.

It should be this way for this leg of the orbit, but we still take exception to it as if we're hard done by.

Leaves look confused on streets and sidewalks. They shouldn't be equivalent to candy wrappers or baseball cards; they belong on the ground, the earthy ground. But we've co-opted it with our tarmac and cement, so lie they do, in drifts or singly, like panhandlers or castaways, no longer sure of where they should be, somewhere between the terra and the tree.

I kept pushing ahead a coffee/scone/treadmill plan like leaves being chivvied along by a blower—the prejudicial wind of writing stuff for work instead. Move along, exercise, there's nothing to see here. Finally I went outside for the gloaming of the day—the long lingering light diffused by the memory of long-gone sun. It really lasts a while, that blue to yellow zone above the horizon, lasts like a cowboy song, or the last shot of an Italian movie before FINE appears on the screen. While I sat on a rock watching the tree reflections on the pond go in and out of high-def, depending on current or wind, a different drama was unfolding to my left in the baseball field. 

Some kid was trying to get up the nerve to jump off the bleachers, from the sound of it—something daring. He kept revving up himself up, then backing down with a moan and a curse. His will for self-preservation seemed to be winning. I watched the steady light of a bright planet peering through the network of a tree. Two predilections so different—his to jump or not to jump. Mine to sit and sift the physical world through a sieve of significance. Both of us coming away with fruitful fruitlessness. I hope he has a good supper waiting for him at home, and appreciates it. 

Nov. 21

Back at the Kickstand Café, sitting at the front-window counter with a mug of Mark's Chai tea and a raspberry/almond muffin, feeling lucky. Looking out at a dazzling day. November has done its tonsorial work. Or as the trees quip: "You kuh-lipped us!"  

It's my sister Dory's birthday today. Birthdays resemble laps in a race. Or tree rings. I just watched a kid cross the parking lot—about 9 laps along. Each lap used to seem amazingly long, between one new calendar and the next. Somewhere in the race, the consciousness of the lap is overtaken by daily experience, especially the repetitions, the patterns. You start taking the laps for granted. The sameness outpoints the differences. This makes the days flip over faster. The week becomes a zoetrope of days. Movement and change become apparent more than earned. It's Thursday because Thursday must follow Wednesday.

(On the other hand, I saw a squirrel earlier on a railing, scratching itself with the low sun silvering its fur and I briefly imagined a friendship with the squirrel—it allows me to stroke it and even purrs in a squirrelly way, rougher than a cat, then confides in human speech, or speech I can understand, the secrets of nature; what it all means, the seen and the unseen.)

This Thursday should be strikingly original—completely different from any other Thursday. A distinctive plaid, a wooden tunic, a coat of mail (literally made of letters and postcards and envelopes with postmarks sewn together). But time insists on rhythm, which requires patterns, regularity: dawn prying night open, dusk pulling the day closed like a shopkeeper pulling down the steel mesh over the windows. The sun can't be everywhere at once. It has appointments in Hong Kong, Sumatra, New Zealand, Archangel, Nairobi, Mumbai, all those far-flung places I used to troll for on my shortwave radio. We turn, the planet turns, to allow this even distribution, ceding a Creole night for a Maori day.

But what makes a day different? 

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