Shake, Rattle and Roll with the Punches
When Guadalajara rumbled with a 3.9 quake, I neither felt nor heard it but at the same time a weird wind seemingly blowing from all directions hit us hard. That night I lay in bed looking up at the bricks that form my roof. What if . . .
I’ll never forget the quake that shook Seattle a few years back and terrified me. It sounded like a freight headed for my head and the ground rolled. Though a child, I still remember the Yellowstone Quake.
Another quake hit this morning when my son told me Gary is “deathly ill”, no details but Gary has serious lung problems. Gary and I were married many years and just because our relations have changed, doesn’t mean I don’t care. I still love Gary. Gary is Ben’s “real” Dad.
So I knew from whence the tears were coming when I sat in the back yard, pulling strength for my soul from my Cascada de Oro, the Golden Chain tree, in glorious bloom for the first time since I planted it. I’ve liked this tree since I saw a row in flower lining the banks of a laguna in Mazatlan, years ago.
Oh, my papaya, to me you are so wonderful, to paraphrase Eddie Fisher, remember him? A year ago Kathy gave me a tiny papaya she’d bought and decided not to plant, did I want it?
So I stuck it in the center of my yard and now it’s about my height (they don’t get much taller) and dropped its first strange fruit into my hand. That tree amazes me. What sensible tree produces fruit its first year of life? This little bitty tree produces fruit the size of footballs.
My first encounter years ago with papaya fruit didn’t impress me. I thought the flesh smelled like toe jam and true to the metaphor, it tasted like athletic socks. But I encountered it on fruit platters at breakfast often enough to try, try again.
Like with oysters, I gradually acquired a hankering. So imagine my surprise when I cut open my very own garden papaya and discovered fruit refreshing, sweet, and delicious without any vestigial reference to feet. Probably similar to tomatoes: garden versus grocery.
I quake with pleasure. This week the cicadas emerged singing their songs. Popular Mexican mythology says the cicadas sing down the rain. Typically the rains begin mid-June. It takes a while for the bugs to get into full voice, shrill and so loud one wants to muffle one’s ears. Rain, bring rain.
Another harbinger is the rainbird. Near as I can tell, this is a Kiskadee or a flycatcher. To my untrained eye the two birds look alike. I like the sound of the Kiskadee. But I like the idea of flycatcher since rains bring on the flies in abundance. And gnats. And mosquitoes. And no-see-ums. Whatever the name, it perches on my sill and tries to break into my window.
The windows rattling reminded me of the earthquake, close to home, as the crow flies. On second thought, I never met a crow that any glitter along the way didn’t distract off course.
My thoughts, like the crow, veered off course because I don’t like to think about an earthquake when I live in a house built of bricks, no matter the success of the third little pig.
I’ve watched the young men mix the cement binding the bricks; mix it on the bare ground with a shovel, the same men, too young to remember, who assure me there has never been a quake in this valley.
A portion of the cathedral in town dates from 1534. There are older buildings, dwellings, of the same handmade brick and mortar mixed with mud from the ground. So maybe . . .
Well, I am kind of an old crow. And worry never stopped the ground from rolling. So I’ll continue to find distraction in glitter, with papaya and my new lime tree, with cicadas and rainbirds, with sunlight filtering through the bamboo at my windows turning the air golden.
I have to trust that my friends are well, that my trees flourish, birds come and the rains will follow clouds across the mountains. And trust that the sky isn’t falling on my head.
HDN: Looking out my back door
May 16, 2019__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________