Sunday, March 29, 2015

homeward bound, soon to be

I’m gearing up to head home through L.A. lights across the desert over the mountains to the prairies and flatlands and wheat and cattle and soy beans and fields of windmills to the bluffs of Ole Man River, on past through rolling hills winding up through northern woods, spring blossoms, narrow roads, dwindling traffic, as if a trail of smoke, that trail now a wisp, a faint scent, a story one can just barely, maybe, remember.


I’ll drop off a load of candles at The Las Vegas Farm and pick up some hunks of raw beeswax at a bee farm somewhere in Iowa just off I-80. Have you ever thought what an adventure this country is? Of course! Just hop in your car and go! Drive across country! What an adventure! Get the dog, get the cat, hit the road!

The Cat & The Dog

But first, I, anyway, have to load the van with two tons of stuff. Most of it beeswax-related. Including a few pounds of some wonderful, old, dark beeswax I got here in California from a retired beekeeper.

Old California Beeswax

So Josie and Elliott and I and the beeswax are heading home. Will we ever leave home again?

I have a fantasy of going to live at The Farm, helping to take care of the rescued animals and painting signs and selling sweet tea and candles on Saturday, all the while wearing a broad-brimmed straw hat because it is, of course, hot and sunny. Yes, I would faint. If you need me, if you want me, find me passed out in the barn.

I also have a fantasy of rescuing old beeswax stacked up in the corners of garages of retired beekeepers from hither to yon. Making candles of different hues and scents, all natural, all beeswax, all indicative of that place I’ve been. If you need me, if you want me, come find me out there on the road.

And I have a fantasy of never leaving home again. Of sitting on my front porch with a cup of tea or a glass of wine through all kinds of weather, dreaming, sighing, maybe smiling, quietly. Yes, yes, if you need me, if you want me, you know, you’ll know, exactly where I am.

Sunset From The Porch

Sunday, March 22, 2015

the koi pond

At the koi pond, time stands still.

No movement forward, no movement back,
no slow no fast spinning ’round a dial.
A shadow creeps.

Koi rise to the surface of the pond,
move their jaws,
flip their tails,
flap their fins,
weave through and around one another.

Earlier in the week I picked a seed off Josie’s back. It was about one-quarter inch long, wheat colored, a thin reed in a conical spiral with a relatively large hook extending from its wide end. From the other end a small tuft of something dangled, as best I remember, for although I saved the seed for a day or two, knowing exactly where it was even as all else moved and jostled around it, begging my attention, challenging my memory, there came this one moment of carelessness when I forgot the seed and so it disappeared.

Around the koi pond, roses bloom, their fragrance heavy.

What seems to be an ancient magnolia stands nearby. Its lumpy trunk is thick, massive, beefy, and thick, undulating branches stretch far, stretch wide, nearly the length of the pond, and the tree’s shape is conical.

We move neither forward nor back.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

an escape through irretrievable time with a dog who always looks as if he has an appointment down the street

Lately, Josie has coerced me into lifting him up so he can see over the brick wall behind the house. The wall separates us from the barranca, a concrete canal leading out to the harbor and thus the ocean. Hoisting Josie to my shoulder to see over the wall has been going on for several days now, and how it got started, I don’t know. It reminds me of that thing with Buster and his truffle rug, which I thought I had written about long ago, but I can’t find it, so I’ll let you wonder. Sometimes you just know what your dog wants and one day you find you are doing your dog’s bidding.

One morning: High tide, so murky, olive green water in the canal, but it is still, not sluicing in or out as it often does. A pair of mallards heads inland, skimming just above the water. On the other side is the back fence of a backyard and two men are coming and going from the yard, about to start on some project, I think. Two houses down men are tiling a roof. It looks complete except for a few feet in the middle along the ridgeline. Above us on the electrical wires are three doves, or pigeons, but I think doves of some sort. A heron flies by, some distance away in the neighborhood across from us, heading toward the sea. The air is cool and fresh, the sky clear, a few wispy clouds. A slight murmur drifts over from the workers on the roof, a soft Spanish hum. Josie is calm, watchful, ears cocked, nose up.

We will be leaving here soon, and a bit of melancholy sets in. How we will miss this afternoon walk to the vacant lot! I wonder how this scrappy old field became such a beloved place, winning out over the beach, the ocean. How did that happen?

We course through the neighborhood, the mobile home park, to get to the lot just as quickly as Josie can drag me along. Ahead is a neighbor watering plants. She sees us, shuts off the hose, watches as we approach. She says: “Your dog always looks as if he has an appointment down the street.”

“He does!” I cry, as we sail by. “He must, we must, get to the vacant lot!”

Exactly when this cement post decorated with two small mosaics rooted itself here in the vacant lot, I do not know. Suddenly, one day, it was here. Perhaps the post already was here, now it is just that someone is decorating it.

A slow week and I should be working, planning ahead, stocking up, but I dawdle. I read, I write a bit, I plan a bit, I work a bit, I dream a bit. I dread a bit, I fuss a bit. But just a bit. The days are sunny and warm and the nights are cool, full of moon. One day I visit my mother. We sit in a courtyard by a koi pond with three little fountains of burbling water. Nearby is an immense magnolia tree. Josie cops a little shade under my mother’s wheelchair. She and I sit in the sun and comment over and over again on its wonderful warmth. I relax; I am relaxed. My mother says she could fall asleep.

How did tempus fugit come up?

Tempus fugit,” my mother says. “It’s Latin for time … ”  and then there is a long pause.

“Flees,” she says. “Tempus fugit, time flees.”

After a bit, I say, “Time flies.”

“Oh, yes. That’s it,” she says. “Time flies.”