Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Day of the Jacaranda

The jacaranda are in bloom: a pale tree flower, lavendar-- can't you almost hear Katharine Hepburn saying that one? It was always the color, the soft burst of tree that soothed my soul when I lived in Beverly Hills and went on my walking jag, which I did the last several years we were in the house on Hillcrest. I think it was Palm Drive where the jacaranda were, and I would walk up and down the three or four blocks between Santa Monica and Sunset, and try not to tread on the fallen, delicate, tubular blossoms lining the sidewalks, hoping for inspiration. After about 1.6 miles it usually came. I can measure that exactly because when I was on my second retreat with Jack, the one where the musical started, I would walk that distance every afternoon and a song would come. Before I left I measured the mileage, as if one could find out exactly how far to go to start shooting off endorphins. Back home, the walk, combined with all that lavendar, would usually feed a novel. So I think I thought that jacaranda time was mine, the signal to be creative, and disciplined: be inspired, and get to work. An optimistic, hard-headed mantra.
When I moved to this apartment I had radiant, violet mornings, where just after dawn I would open my eyes, and they'd be bathed with that pale purple glow. But this year the tree outside my window is dark, the branches spiked with green, but nothing but dusty buds that show no color or promise. I of course take it personally, as I unfortunately take everything personally, including what's happened to this country I love. The tree right next to it has its share of color, and as I drive around West L.A., I see the pattern is the same all over. One or two trees are alive with Spring, the others dark. I try to check if it's the dryness we've been through, or some trees receiving more sunlight. But there is no logic to it, or reason I can see. Maybe trees, like people, have their own season, individual wills, an opening night/and or day. Maybe Nature is capricious, and pissed right now at the abuse it has suffered at our hands, doesn't choose to pamper our eyeballs.
I was in Johannesburg one autumn, in a hotel high above the city, with crime and all that people fear at a very great distance below. But the horizon was lush with lavendar, it being the same as our Spring, and jacaranda bursting bursting bursting across the bottom of my view. So all I tapped into was the peacefulness, the clouds of color obscuring the mayhem. I suppose that blossoming trees are another thing you shouldn't get attached to, lest they, too, be capricious in their ability to deliver.
I note a certain listlessness, like that of the trees that should be more on schedule, and suppose, quite realistically, it is because I am suffering a really deep hurt that I don't want to inflict on all of you. But having sent you my post-Happy piece in Paris, I will share with you a bit of that past I have found in yet another secret compartment of my computer, when I took a picture of Happy, my Yorkie, in a swami hat, and wrote the doggie version of The Prophet. I can't remember the title of the book, but it was very clever, for all the good that did. This is what Happy had to say about Anger.

Speak to us of Anger

The Mirror Image of the Night
Shines not so darkly
As the soul of wrath.
It is in forgiveness
That we are elevated
To the path of Angels
Which bears not the weight
Of the heavy-hearted
Or those with their foot
In their mouth
Which is all ire is
React not to those who would
Prick your peace
But bathe them with waves
Of love
Drown them with the overflow
Of your pardon
That ought to fix
The sons of bitches.