Wednesday, May 21, 2014

It Smells of Green





           The smell of the May night. Everywhere things are fresh.
            It's been a day that turns out better than forecast, better than expected, full sun in the later afternoon, seventy degrees at the high sun, dropping into the sixties as I pick the weeds in the last hours instead of going indoors to make dinner. I chose gratifying my appetite -- my desire -- for the green of the earth. The colors of the flowers please me as well, of course, but there is something especially strong in all the fresh outpouring of chlorophyll surrounding us on all sides and from top to bottom, from the roots in the ground to the top of the trees.
            I'm thankful we made the decision a decade ago to surrender the minimalist green carpet of a lawn for this great oceanic mishmash of the plants we have chosen and those who have chosen us -- in a crime of opportunity -- to insinuate their green flesh in every millimeter of space when and where conditions are ripe to attempt the supreme gamble of growth. The ultimate risk of existence: the Earth peoples the earth.
            Common violets, nameless weeds -- they have names, I've simply never learned them, for example the one with five-sided leaves that look like wild geraniums or like garden geraniums gone wild; maybe that's what they are -- anyway, they're everywhere.
            I lose myself among them.
            Spring greens are the wild earth's poetry. This collection of "leaves of grass," line and meter obscured by the pure multitude of all they are.
            They are life's ammunition against the dying of the light.
            The green scatter-shot, the bullets of the universal urge -- urge, urge, always the procreative urge (to modify a little more Whitman) -- nothing dies, nothing is lost, so long as the sun tilts on its celestial shoulder to look back at us, turns its face, warm and scented with blossom, pollen, pheromone, hum of the honey bee, the chase of the brown-striped sparrows over the broken-brown earth of the still unplanted vegetable patch, upon a piece of earth...
            The fire in the senses -- the song in the tree.
            The neighbor girls bickering in their play, the steady drum-bounce eternal of the basketball.
            The new banshee scream electrical, the profanation of the leaf blower, that instrument of the devil.
            The rise and surge of the tiny nations underfoot, violets overblooming their allotted sphere so that man is driven to pull up handfuls of green hair from beds whose chosen species -- nation, clan -- struggles for the breath of light below.
            Speedwell, Forget-me-not, Mazus -- Hear these names on the lips of ages?
            Somewhere Sweet William hides in the weeds.
            A green wave invades, overtops the chosen ones, I yank them in the joy of haste, know the root remains below
            And will overcome and will grow over the graves of dying men.
            That heads of tulips have fallen already in the hurdle of time.
            And flowery hands of pansies, over-extended in the friendship of air, wait for the ax --
            And yet why if not for such days do we live
            To watch the mayfly of understanding
            Flicker in the green light of the new, the fresh,
            the renewal of time
            The fountain that fills what it overflows
            in some fresh ecstasy of movement
            Of which we drink so long as we live life and
            sense and thirst for its living.