Tag Archives: human comedy

soothing eternity

Turkey Visits

Going has been replaced with staying. Every task assigned in this time of staying is given bare boned attention, as a monk might say when you brush your teeth brush your teeth. The instructions hold up for folding pillowcases, transplanting sentry plants or washing cars. Much of what I knew as true about living in this world is from the now ended “before times,”

I didn’t characterize my previous life as being distracted. I left room in the schedule to do chores. There were routines. The dog ate each day at the same time and from the same bowl.  Dogs can be such sticklers.

Potted Sentry Plant

I always thought when told to, “work hard so you can play hard,” as an excellent homily. Until my first lost summer in France I had no inkling what suckers’ American workers had been. Knowing there is a nation where its people stop everything and spend August on holiday sunbathing in the Riviera forced me to reconsider the merit of having a work ethic.

Roses need pruning, mail needs to be trekked in from the curb and a squeak in a door hinge out in the workshop is in desperate need of oiling.

Friends, family and colleagues do call. There is little time for this conviviality. Until the gutters are clean, the windows spotless and crumbs beneath the kitchen table are dispatched there is not a second to waste.

Quercus suber or Cork Oak Tree

Since receiving orders to remain in place the first error made was allowing the mind time to imagine leaving. Replaying the scene time and again the result was the same. The initial days here in the after times have been part of the “all dressed up with no place to go,” epoch.  

Settling in for the long haul is rife with inaccuracies. In addition to the domestic chores there is the matter of work. Ambition, enterprise and success vary much as the weather.

Before Times with Dog

A neighborhood crow finds my juggling eye-catching. My fan lingers to watch. I enjoy speaking to birds. Results of these conversations are meager. Crows have difficulty with trust. Sweet talk is for parakeets.  

Hummingbirds are free riders. Crows, jays, finches and common house sparrows have to fend for themselves. Fanciful hummingbird flight style is popular. Crows, pigeons and gulls can wear out their welcome.

Stove and Pots

Fairness is in short supply. With nowhere to go while in lockdown any bird is welcome to stop by. I find time spent admiring the less appreciated birds a worthy pastime. Putting the garbage cans out on the curb, spotting a new nest in the eaves is a major event. Whittling away time on the stoop with a pot of my grandfather’s pinto beans slow cooking on the stove soothes.     

Beer swilling self isolating friends

opportunists among the hard rock

Compassion for weeds is misplaced. Weeds have depended upon my having better things to do. Procrastination works in direct proportion to distraction.

Plucking the tops of weeds will not be tolerated. Tools that get to the root of the thing are to be used and officers disguised as wives will be inspecting the offenders for proof of proper subterranean extraction.

In the brochures published by the International Association of Weeds advertising focused on the yards in my neighborhood. Until the coronavirus sheltering in place craze hit weeds could count on multiple generational reincarnations right here. Visitation packages promise sunlight, water and fecund soil. Disclaimers regarding gophers, Roundup and wildfire were necessary due to litigious nature of weeds.

Imagine a few good plants

Freeway driving time constrained homeowners are the poster child for the wide wonderful world of weeds. Weeds in Green Valley near Tucson watch YouTubes of distant relatives in Northern California thriving in abundance.

Here we find quackgrass, lambsquarter and dandelion. A constant watch is stood against blackberry vine and milk thistle. Overcrowded populations of weeds dream of moving to Texas in another life and coming back as saltcedar. Saltcedar isn’t a mere weed why it has been identified as an invasive species.

Innocent enough but still guilty

We have a whole green bin full of fresh pulled weeds. Like in-laws to fend off their visit we deploy groundcover where we can. Sheets of plastic and cardboard cover over soil that to a weed looks more like a destination resort.

Fingers raw, knees are sore, but the will is strong. Weeds like so many of the people you know are stubborn things. Like a bad idea they will return again and again. Weeds are relentless. If you could dissect persistence out of the weed and inject it into the bloodstream of the unmotivated, humankind would walk in a litter free world.

Paradise would be all potting soil and plants. Why gardens would be wisteria, gardenias and prairie blue grass from horizon to horizon. Watering bills would be lower and all those places you’ve wanted to visit in your post pandemic bucket list will suddenly be within a nematode’s hairs breath reach.

Weeding for Buddha

Committee has been formed, a weed sympathizer up the street was indignant over this reckless disregard for weed life. Beer swilling self-isolating friend called them “a bunch of noxious tenderhearted pseudo botanists, wouldn’t know the difference between bed of straw or a flake of Timothy hay.” Beer bellied loner snorted through his N-95 facemask, pointing his latex gloved finger up into the sky, “They’ll be sorry if they come try take my Tibetan prayer flags out of these cold weed pulling hands. Who do they think they’re trying to bamboozle? Why I’m old enough to remember when the only kind of weed anyone knew was the one you smoked, and the only thing weed smoking made you do was laugh, eat cheeseburgers and put Visine in your eyes. Hell, what kind of no-till- carbon sequestration- save the world- urban farmer do they think they are messing with?”

Where fern bar ferns come from

Since this dust-up most of what passes for time in the neighborhood has settled into a familiar only in California multicultural truce. Neighbors are talking through fences, bragging about their house wrens, vireos and honeysuckle. Life’s not too awful and by looks of things most people in these parts have found a place in their hearts for both weeds and weed pullers. It’s as if Fox Television no longer exists and Jerry Hall has dumped Rupert Murdoch. Life could not be looking any better.