Archive for April, 2005

I have Babies for You

Dahlia planting season is upon us, and in my greed and exuberance I have far more dahlias than I can cram into my garden. I have fat tubers waiting to churn out new life. And I have wee cuttings bought from a local dahlia grower.
Briggs, I am sorry for your friend’s pain. Let me help you with a few brief moments of gardening oblivion, soon to explode into loud, gorgeous, heart stopping dahlia blooms.

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falling globes

“Globe falls on stroller” read the headline on a brief news article tacked to the bulletin board. Passing the board on my way to the office, I glanced at the bold type and began to think. A globe–like the schoolroom globes?–falls–from the sky? a window?–on a stroller–with a toddler in it? Unlikely. Unable to fix in my mind anything like a satisfactory interpretation of the words, I went back to the board to read…”a street lamp globe was knocked by a crane while the light was being changed and fell on the head of Koichi Kobari as he strolled down the sidewalk on Market Street yesterday…”
My friend was stunned but suffered no serious harm.
That was many years, and many friends ago. No globe has fallen today but my head feels as if the world has fallen on it. About the time of Koichi’s sidewalk mishap I began a new job. It was an internship with a regulatory agency that was charged with creating an encyclopedic guide to the coast of California. We interns were supposed to research and write this tome, covering everything from the history of each little coastal town and the wheelchair accessibility of every state park restroom to the little known wonders of native flora and fauna, oddball coastal phenomena such as amusement parks, weird architectural gems, and strange geological formations–a short list of the 1100 miles worth of topics.
And that is where I met Non–her name by choice and favored by an intimate few. We worked on that guide with a handful of others for nearly four years. But Non might say it was less or more. Because she had an amazing memory for every name, date and location for everything you had ever done or experienced with her. She would remember the weather and the time of day, and who else was there, and what we said, verbatim. She would remember all Groucho’s lines from a marathon afternoon of Marx Brothers movies, and the words to all the greatest hits of the 80s. She could roll the latin name of the federally endangered salt marsh harvest mouse off the tip of her tongue as if it was “mocha chip hot fudge sundae.” She never forgot a birthday or a middle name. And she knew the correct order of demise of each of my bad relationships.
I came to think of Non’s brain as the ultimate reliable reference for a large and important chunk of my life. Now that brain is in serious harm. No globe has fallen on it. But an alien nature created a sort of a globe inside Non’s brain. It grew and grew and made her wonderful brain hurt. It caused her to fall into a fit and forget her own name. It wanted Non’s precious brain.
The surgeons tried to remove it. But it clings to her. Greedy little thing. I would kill it if I could. I would suck it out of her skull like snake venom and spit it into the ocean. And the crazy Pacific would churn it to oblivion. We who love Non’s brain are angry and despair. We wait for her to come home. We hope.
The garden is billowing and blooming. Burgeoning spring rolls out another cycle.

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