15 March 2008
There are those weeks. Weeks with a smacked-upside-the-head cold. Weeks with returning students and an unprepared class to teach. Weeks with a disintegrating hard drive and the bane of technology. Birthday weeks. Weeks of looming taxes and paperwork to sift through. Weeks of a long lawn and a dirty car.
Then there is Chilco.
The wild and abundant Chilco (fuschia magellanica) grows especially well in Chile's Lake District and, most importantly, on the river banks and hill sides around Pucón and Villarrica--the places where I certainly would have rather been this week, waist deep in cold water, staring at the flowers dangling softly above clear streams.
But then there are also our eight-foot tomato plants and the hundreds of green and red fruits that we will pick from them well into autumn. And the fig trees that even in their first year here are producing their crop. And the morning air is quite cool and, seemingly, fresh. And the morning light is long and pale.
And so returns the issue of a birthday and with that the impromptu "Happy Birthday Paper" Hank insisted on drawing before we left for school. And with that most things were made right, even an uncut lawn and a dirty car.
I'm standing under the 'H' with an appropriate half-smile, my beard reduced to a goatee, my hair now represented by a single tuft on the top of my head. Hank is in front of me with his full head of beautiful hair. Wendy stands to my left, taller than me and with a strip of birthday paper wrapping in front of her face as it flies in the air. Hank's best friend, Amerie, who now lives in Mexico City, stands on my right. Though she looks a little puzzled as to why she was invited to this party her blond curls and big blue eyes are well-represented. The letters 'H' above my head, 'E' (yes an E), and, obviously, 'O' are simply part of the gift. The other squiggle is more wrapping paper floating in the air. I think we're all dancing. And wearing cool pants. Thanks Hank.
Seven flowers for seven days:
The Carter Family: Wildwood Flower.mp3 (from Anchored in Love: Their Complete Victor Recordings 1927-1928)
Jolie Holland: Alley Flowers.mp3 (from Catalpa)
Granfaloon Bus: Daisy.mp3 (from Rocket Noon, RIP)
Ralph Stanley featuring Ralph Stanley II: The Water Lily.mp3 (from Real: The Tom T. Hall Project)
Lynn Anderson: Rose Garden.mp3 (from Rose Garden)
Merle Haggard: I Threw Away The Rose.mp3 (from Down Every Road)
Galaxie 500: Flowers.mp3 (from Today)