When the house is being shown I need to disappear. So I go off to a parking lot and read a book or try to write thoughts down. I still start the day with a walk. Twice to the river in the last few days.
The river is rising and is covered with pollen.
It is all so lush now. …like the leaves and blooms are shoving each other out of the way to show off how much bigger and better they are. I wish they would have taken their time and not be so rushed to bury the details of of what is behind and under them. Full on summer is what we have now.
The other day I sat in a parking lot writing about a homeless man I saw along the pavement of my river walk. I saw him up ahead, arms loaded with filled plastic bags. As I approached he started lamenting how wasteful teenagers are with their food. He pulled french fries from a food container, proceeded to toss them to a pair of ducks and tell me that at least they weren’t completely wasted. Not once did it occur to me that he might have eaten some of them himself. He took such pleasure in feeding those ducks.
On my return I saw him up ahead, right where I left him. The ducks had moved on but he did not. As I kept walking toward him I saw him take a comb out of his back pocket and slick it through his hair. When I was next to him he asked if I knew about the bank in town giving away free tomato plants. I did not. So he told me where it was and reminded me to take advantage of their free plants and get myself some home grown tomatoes. I thanked him, said I would, knowing I wouldn’t. But what struck me then and has stayed with me is how he combed his hair to talk to me. It was such a beautiful gesture.
And while I was writing this down in my pad while waiting for the hour to be up…the hour I need to stay away from the house, I thought more about hair. There was a woman at the river walk this morning. She was walking her large French poodle. Her hair was shaped just like the dogs…a puff on the top and the rest hanging down the sides of her face similar to her dog’s ears. I tried not to notice her white blouse with puffy sleeves matching the white fluffy shoulders of her dog. I wondered if the dog is an influence she is aware of. Then thought about my own hair and the influence of negligence.
I don’t comb it. Wash it once aa week. Squeeze the curls in as it feels the heat of the dryer…best done bending over so the thinning hair does not dry flat to the scalp. Once every five weeks I get it trimmed. And as soon as I am out of sight of the hairdresser, I run my fingers through her perfect placement to move things around. ANYTHING to make it look like I did not just come from the hairdresser’s.
It is like bouquets of flowers from the florist. Each one selected and placed in a position of formulaic beauty. None of them look happy to be there in floral arranging positions 101-110.
When I wanted to bring flowers to someone I would go to the florist and ask to go through the coolers to pick my own bouquet. All they needed to do was place them into a paper, wrap and tie a bow after assessing the cost. I wanted flowers that looked like I wandered through a garden or down a road selecting just the right ones for that person. Not those that are forced and shaped and stuffed into yet another glass vase I would need to store in the garage.
I wonder if florists let costumers do that anymore.
Now when I want flowers for myself I pick through the ones on sale (3 bunches for $10) in the grocery store. Most of them look like what they are – unwanted. But on a good day there will be a good reason to take not just three but six bunches home to spread on the kitchen counter. Trim their stems and prop them willy-nilly in a large clay pot. Find some greenery in the yard to get them all comfortable with each other. Put them on a table in a room seen from all directions. I have given them the last home they will know and as each one dies off, they are tossed over the bank to join all the remains of other flowers, rescued, appreciated and flung into the wilds of down below.
This morning I was back along the river. For awhile I had company to walk with.
The river was higher and there was a fetid odor as the path got closer to the water.
There were at least fifteen ducklings in this group on the water. So much fun to watch.
And always the beautiful details along the path.
I watched a man coming my way drop to the ground and begin doing pushups. He had grey hair and was also carrying dumbbells. He was serious about his morning workout. I waited until he finished by taking pictures of the river. When we were about to pass, he apologized if he was “over stepping” but wanted me to know that there were homeless men further along and since I was a lone woman, perhaps I should consider not going as far as where these men were. I thanked him, said I was at my turning point anyway and watched him raising his dumbbells in alternate strokes over his head til he was way out of sight in front of me.
And I thought about the homeless men under the overpass and how they likely were not sharing leftover french fries with ducks.
So that’s it for now…..