Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Wrapping Up

I can't put my finger on anything, it seems. My mind twists and tumbles like sneakers in a dryer. When I'm walking hard and fast it spins out of control like the pinwheels in the gardens I pass. The realization of these mental characteristics makes me wonder whether or not I ever thought in complete sentences.

I'm fighting off the doldrums, though. Today was a gorgeous day, absolutely glowing, breezy but not too cold. I've been desperately savoring the last of seasonal fruits and vegetables, artichokes and peaches, avocado, pears, late kiwi sweeter than candy and so soft you can suck it right out of the fuzzy skin. I'll survive on yams and spaghetti squash this winter because these other things become alien in the winter, flown or shipped or trucked in from milder continents, with different tastes and textures than I'm used to, skins too bright and perfect except where marred by handling and travel. I crave Gala apples by the bushel this time of year. I have dreams about visiting an orchard to pick my own, the sunlight twinkling through the thinning branches and blinking on the giving ground.

I savor a lot of things this time of year. I'm about to go into a hibernation of sorts, so the last glimpses of green grass are precious. Ditto the summer blues of the sky, Alice and Cornflower, Dodger, Denim, Sapphire. In the winter it becomes diluted, less pure, although Wyoming boasts many sunny winter days. The birds are almost all gone except the hawks and magpies on the hill and the owl in the pine by my driveway. I would call him Stan if I wasn't slightly afraid of him. Owls are traditionally bad omens.

Of course, he's been around for years and nothing but good has come of the last four for me, even when my envelopes bore that dank and dismal address, #5. Life in sunny, sweet-smelling #2 is bliss compared, although I feel more exposed here. Even though my cars are old and ratty, I love them both, and knowing they're out there in the driveway where anyone could harm them makes me want to tuck a wing around them -- like Stan must to hide his flat, feathered face -- and pull them in closer. This makes no sense because before they were parked on the street, where they were more exposed. But being up here heightens my awareness of the traffic on the street at all hours of then night, and not just vehicles. Hoodlums frequently traverse my street.

I'm going to savor some more sunshine before Big Band, which is going swimmingly. One day it occurred to me how much Vern reminds me of Phil. Maybe it's the clothes. Vern wears soccer shorts, sweatshirts with the bottom band and half the sleeves cut off, and drab Nuthinz, which he kicks off at the first available opportunity. I wonder if he teaches his high school choir classes in this garb. Phil wore T-shirts or Hawaiian shirts, Khaki cargo shorts, and flip-flops in any season. He could do that. We lived in San Diego. Phil played the tuba and Vern plays electric bass (when we have a full sax section; otherwise he plays tenor), and that strikes me as another similarity. They both wear thinning, colorless, shaggy straight hair and have sort of wild eyebrows like overgrown gardens above twinkling blue lakes of eyes. I miss Phil, and I miss San Diego, but Vern is an acceptable substitute, if a little more gruff.

San Diego is burning, and I worry. I worry about that tiny bakery in Julian where I used to get hot apple pie with vanilla ice cream early on fall mornings. I worry about Flynn Springs, the cool, shady, slightly haunted park and the rickety row of storefronts with a wooden sidewalk, the musty rooms full of antiques and homemade jam and cheese and penny candy. (Although I've noticed on Google Earth lately that more than wildfires threaten that little slice of old rural charm. Tacky subdivisions are encroaching.) I worry about people I don't know and places I've never been. I worry about the homes of people I knew in Alpine and Jamul and Dulzura- a lovely desert name. I wonder how many people understand that palmy, beachy, delicately humid San Diego is, in fact, a desert. It's easy to forget. And deserts burn.

We're blessedly free of fires this fall, and I'm going out to walk in what's left of this glorious day.


Blogger mister anchovy said...

I think you would have liked a band we saw in New Orleans a few days ago, called The Hot 8. They were really 10 - a tuba, a bass drum, a snare and symbol, two trombones, a tenor sax, and four trumpets. Young guys keeping the brass band tradition rocking in New Orleans. They didn't come on stage until close to midnight. We could hear them warming up backstage for quite a while. Then there they were, 10 guys, 3 in the back and 7 in front and they blew down the walls.

October 23, 2007 at 8:27 PM  
Blogger A said...

That does sound fantastic. And New Orleans is a place I've always wanted to go -- although, not during Mardi Gras -- and regret not having seen it before Katrina. It's great to know that young people are taking up the torch. Maybe I'll take my trombone with me when I finally do get to go.

October 23, 2007 at 9:02 PM  
Blogger Doolin said...

At least you get to play in a band still. here all the geezers scowl @ you when the director makes you play their parts (didn't want to, was happy playing 3rd). I stopped going after a month 'cause they were rude to me.

I can send ya a crate of apples if ya want!!!!!

October 23, 2007 at 10:47 PM  

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