Tuesday, October 12, 2010

10.7 A beautiful day




After three cool, overcast, rainy days in which all I think about is
whether I’m cold and how much work I have to finish when, the sun comes
out on a Thursday afternoon and I am suddenly unreasonably happy for no known cause. The time and place of this happiness is, oddly enough, getting into the car and driving down streets I regularly drive in order to bypass a traffic light; finding more after school
traffic where it usually lurks; fighting through that and arriving beneath a gloriously sunlit cosmos – October blue sky, turning trees, a bend in a
local stream, bizarrely affecting music on the radio (a version of
Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez, everybody’s favorite guitar music, but without guitar and with vocals instead – sung in French!) – … at yet another busy intersection and pushing my way through and over to the fly-by-night outdoor plant vendor plunked down on a parking lot between a supermarket and a new car sales lot.
They paved paradise, put up a parking lot, then put a little bit of paradise back on top. Hundreds and hundreds of hardy mum plants. I don’t
need mums. I have plenty of perennial mums in the back garden, and I bought some new ones in pots for the front steps somewhere else the other day. I want
asters; here at the poetically named Route 3A Artery Plant Center there are only some blue ones in large pots for $20 each. Ahhh… no sale. However they also have music, loud FM radio piped-in rock music that I ordinarily detest. Yet on this occasion, while walking between rows of hundreds of mums to enjoy a last blast of color, I am captivated
by an even more deeply affecting piece of music than the Frenchified Rodrigo – a high energy and emotionally supercharged rock song from (it can only be ) the late
sixties because why else would I care? It’s as if I hadn’t heard it
since then and am immediately transferred to some earlier careless day. Why does it fill me with such piercing joy?
Well, I am ready to go home at last since the universe is still a beautiful
place even if I can’t find my asters, but I decide, what the heck, to check out a place
I’ve already checked on before on this quest. I see the owner’s truck, know he’s in,
cross the street brazenly in front of traffic, nobody wants to kill
anybody in the sunshine, right?, and find some barely serviceable blue asters
with the dead leaves trimmed off, squeezed into square-shaped pots that I don’t
remember seeing there before, or else they were also discouragingly overpriced. I go
inside the shop, ask Alan, the owner, how much are the asters – he says he doesn’t
have any – then remembers – he’d given up on selling these ones – and gives
them to me for $1 each since he was only going to stick them in the ground himself.
I take five, go home and in the still enchantingly autumn-lovely late afternoon light find places, dig in the dirt, soak, cut up the pot-bound roots, fertilize, plant, and admire my new acquisitions. The one with the brightest remaining blossoms lines up behind last month’s happily acquired pink guaras to continue the new fall color zone. Yes! Life is worth living.