Flowers blossom and bloom to the tune of Goo Goo Dolls playing on the radio, back when the radio was good and tolerable and understood. I turn on the radio now and my soul cannot settle. Everything is foreign to me and it’s not a matter of giving it a chance. I will sometimes find an interesting blues and jazz station, a good mariachi station. These tunes are interesting, compelling, express the human soul. But despite triumphs in production and collaboration Pop music to me today is predictable and snoozeworthy. When will I blossom and show my petals to the world and reach my apex peak? When will the moment come and will I know it when it does? What if it happens all the time? And the lie, the illusion is that it happens once? I think that’s the answer. Flowers don’t just bloom once. They bloom, they die, and come back again in spring and summer and sometimes their seeds get scattered over fertile dirtways and get watered by deep, rich booming thunderstorms on nights when you’re in love with yourself and a bottle of wine, taking down your hair at the end of the night, listening to soft jazz music and kicking off your work shoes. We can all make ourselves feel beautiful. Though sometimes it’s nice to lean on a tree, I can stand up straight all by myself, thanks. Gardening through my minefield thought process.
Metal paper clip, holding it all together. They come in different colors and different shapes and sizes. Office supply accessories. Have you ever unraveled a paper clip? To where it is a wiggly, almost-straight metal line? Once you unravel it, you can’t bend it back. It won’t be the same. Wonder what the paper clip factory looks like. Who thought of such an invention? Paper clips just remind me of work and school. Papers and filing. The little magnetic rectangular box. Black on top, clear on the bottom. Alternatives – staples, glue, and tape. And that black and metal clamp, for more pages. The concept of organization, of keeping things together in this chaotic world. It does no one any good be unorganized. Except for perhaps visual artists with their art, I’d imagine. Paint the patio red. Absorbing sunbeams after buttering bread. Coppertone babies and Dear You. Morton Salt. MacGyver. Play ice skates wrapped in felt and paper clip skate. Christmas tree ornaments. Arts and crafts at school. Construction paper. The heavy weightedness, the rough feel, the different colors. Burnt Orange. The sound and feel of Fiskars scissors diving in and cutting a circle after tracing it in pencil first. These tactile memories, over 25 years old, probably. I can taste the Nilla Wafers and diluted Fruit Punch of my preschool years at the Early Learning Center in Fairfield. The sweetness cancelled itself out before naptime. I remember what the rug looked like, the table, the chairs, the bathroom. Memories stay forever in mind cubbies. I remember the jungle gym well. Ice Cream Trucks. Subjective perspective. Playing in Dad’s office with the office supplies. The tape dispenser can be a dinosaur, it’s heavy sand weighing it down as I pick it up. Paper weights and paper clips, and pens and legal pads. Easily entertained at such a young age.
John Cage painting rainbows without paint or a brush. It’s the world around you, your experience of it. Find peace is silence and non-doing. Tao, I Ching. Library gates open up to reveal hidden, unassuming treasures. These bindings with prepared tree product and ink can change your life, if you just settle down. If you just be quiet. It is a secular church of knowledge and it deserves respect. Quiet. Lovely and deafening. I love when I can’t even hear a car or a plane. Some Southern, autumn, country glow. I won’t open my eyes until I’m ready. Silent except for the beating of my heart and the moving of my eyelids. The pulse running through my veins to remind that I am not truly ever alone. Wishing well. Backwards coin toss. Pennies from heaven. Cobblestone and brick. A tranquil, damp place when it’s cloudy and a bunny rabbit dances across your path, it’s grey fur blending in like a chameleon to its environment. Flick the switch in your head. See the world in color and black and white. Dream in color and black and white. 4″33′ blows my mind every time. Noise is never noise. It is music, it is.
Cash Rules Everything Around Me. Wu-Tang Clan blasts out of a large, handheld stereo. It is a mantra, a belief, a religion. I don’t know or care much about cream. As someone who’s lactose-intolerant, I try to avoid it at all costs. But sometimes, I will cheat. That is being human.
Grandma Rosie used to tell me a story about a time when milkmen were still a customary part of American Life. She said the milk would arrive in the morning at the doorstep, and the cream would be at the top. I have never had this experience and so this minor facet of her life, I have never and will never truly know or understand. Even newspapers aren’t delivered door-to-door anymore. There can’t be anymore paper routes in America, right?
I’m not sure if I’ve ever milked a cow. Maybe on some school field trip I had a tug or two of a cow’s utter. I know the idea of it, the strength and courage required to do it, always seemed to baffle me, for a product made so readily available.
Cream – Thick, white, and sweet. Inflammatory. Digestively disruptive. But a staple of culinary anything from soup to desserts. It can be simple or complex. I’m no chef, but I’ve eaten enough meals and seen enough Food Network to know the potentialities of this dairy product. It can feel and seem pillowy soft when whipped; light as air. What is another word for creamy? Thicker than milk, than water. A farm export staple. Smells fine, but smells rancid when it goes bad. You know right away. I remember smelling a carton of old milk and there was no question that it needed to be disposed of.
Butter & Cream. Comfort, soul food. Ingredients that need to be experienced to truly know. How would I describe cream to an alien? UFO sighting, landing, crop circles no less! Of course these aliens –
Grand buckets of water can quench the fire in our minds and hearts. The water is made of love and bliss and destiny and desires. Little bear to mention how sometimes little sacrifices add up like the bottom half of a snowman, snowballed down the mountain, accumulated and wrapped up in a snowy avalanche of good intentions. Grand buckets of snow may quench the fire, but it’s cold out, heavier. Ice is not kind to calloused and worn skin. We all need warmth and comfort now. Carefully watching the hearth, that crackling homey place we crave. Little wisps of smoke eek out of logs chopped in the forest. Somewhere in the snowy woods there is a warm meal and a warm bed waiting for you. Fireman stumble home with ashen faces and a slight cough. He removes his helmet and kisses his wife, whose lips and cheek now display soot. Funny how in this moment she does not wipe it away, but deliberately decides to keep it; It is a piece of him she wants to never wash off. He smells of destructive fire and smoke. The last of his adrenaline is leading him to the shower, to the bed. To shut his eyes to this dream world and accept his unconscious realm as his reality.