Here's something that went unposted, in drafts last Spring.
The last sun strewn day I remember from 2009 was at the Green’s. On my knees assembling their greenhouse, in the low southerning sun of the last days of autumn. The feeling was as if you were beneath a giant, warm spotlight. Your every action caught and amplified. The morning’s frost sublimating wispily off your very shadow. I doubt, like many instances of my memory, I will ever forget that day.
Yesterday, I was invited to dinner by my friend Marty. A historian by training, and PhD, he makes for interesting company to say the least. But in the end it is his character that is most intriguing. Something about him moves with an easy, yet stalwart, character. Perfectly reasonable foibles, and blindness, seem to give Marty wide berth, who, like a linebacker on decency’s team, receives little truck from either the devil or his lieutenants. As for myself, as Brian Wilson might say, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice?’
Marty invited me to a somewhat new Indian restaurant. I arrived fashionably early, perhaps due to having stood him up accidentally on a prior occasion. Or was the reason due to the fact that it was in the sixties degrees F, and as sun strewn as the Green’s valley last fall, to which I could compare no other somatic experience since. I stood their against a wall, and simply felt… the warmth and breeze, and the coming conversation with my friend all conspiring to fool me into thinking there was something fundamentally new in the world. And wouldn’t that be nice? I suppose I should not comment…
Marty came, perhaps thirty seconds late by my watch, which, of course, I pointed out. We hugged and walked hungrily to the patio of the restaurant. Sitting at the patio, and eating truly delicious food, I was reminded of nothing… I sat there, outside, in the first weeks of March. Knowing Winter remained, but was strangely impotent just now, Marty must have seen the look on my face, for he said, “I consider this the second day of Spring… yesterday was the first.”
“For some reason, I make a big fuss about the twenty first, regardless of the weather. But yes, sitting here, the grass and crocus… it more than resembles spring.”
We finished the delicious meal (we asked for extra helpings of rice… and groaned beneath the task, with pleasure) and as per usual, I got a decaf coffee to go from a nearby café.
Marty asked, “is this the church run café?”
“I’m not sure,” I told him, “I guess I supposed it was a non profit, not a church.”
“I think it’s a church project that funds their work,” he said.
“I’m sure your right. What’s the difference?” I asked, revealing the difference between us, with startling naivete.
While walking past a “church” on Washington, which had the words “Jesus Is Lord” in foot and a half letters across its face, Marty quietly confessed a refusal to support organized religion.
His conviction seemed simultaneously one not shared by me, and admirable (unless you detest coffee.) It amused me that I’d brought him there.
I walked through our beautiful towns neighborhoods with Marty, in the remnants of a winter that was rumored to be longer than most. The fact that in most of North America winter was far from over, didn’t disturb our walk through the quiet, faintly firesmoke incensed air. Not a molecule of springs perfume had been released, so the season seemed to sleep before it wakes to the soft caresses of it’s subjects morning lovemaking, and fevered dreams. People were halfway through their doors, speaking to someone on their phones, as if suspended in disbelief that the space beneath their transom was one again of pleasure and bore nothing to brace against. The pitch and tremble of their voices carried their delight… and of course the fact that they are people, an oftentimes delightful category, still close to twilight.
Stopping by Marty’s I consented to his offer of his restroom (he knows me well) and embracing him in farewell, turned back into the night, toward the coming blessings of the season, warmed still slightly by Hoagy Carmichael’s sun soaked Stardust “garden walls.”