return to paradise -
The young hawks are flying in aerobatic teams, down from their rocky neighborhoods to swirl in thermal updrafts above the small canyons that lie beneath the edge of my morning hiking trail. Their numbers seem to have doubled in the last few months. Small ones emerge from behind a peak or rise from a ravine in groups of three or four.
As the weather allows more frequent hikes, I get a sense of the seasons' cycle quickening, heating up. The dirt pathways have been torn up by the rains, and the steepest routes are riddled with foot-deep channels. The face of the meadow to the north that rises to the crown of the mesa is a vibrant green now, but it will go brown by summer's end. Few things in life are so certain.
I often have many square miles all to myself on these walks, but despite a setting perfect for meditative silence, a mechanism in me cranks up at about the midway point of each trip. Ideas are shaken, sifted, refined. My thoughts find their rhythm here, not through synchronicity with the birds and the wind but with each footfall and each beat of my heart. My own personal natural order permeates the hour, and I feel a clarity and a connection that is unavailable indoors.
I know the rabbits hear me laughing under my breath, but they're polite about it.
I wrote the above fresh from the outing described there and I can see I am affected by my little jaunts. For the better, I think. I might have stayed out longer this morning, but I was anxious to get home to dive into a surprise I just received.
Yesterday morning I was reading one of my favorite journals, and I saw where Lucy mentioned she was going to surprise a friend of hers with a book she had ordered from Amazon, but he hadn't received it yet and so she wasn't going to talk about it and I thought how nice, one of her friends is going to get a book, and then the whole thing went off into the big web surfing wake and I put it out of my mind.
And then the UPS guy leaves this package on my porch. Hmm.
I wait till Viv gets home because even though it is addressed to me I never know if I should open it because sometimes packages come and their inspection is verboten until a specific date (Xmas, birthdays, that sort of thing). She gets home, I open the package, and voila -- it's from Lucy. Suddenly I realize, I'm the friend! Wow.
The book is The Book of Tiki, by Sven A. Kirsten, a hardback tome on the cult of Polynesian pop in fifties America, and it's mondo cool. And best read with Martin Denny playing in the background. Which I'm doing. Thanks, Lucy.
I'd have dug into the book last night were it not for my Conversational Spanish class. Yes, that's right, I, El Pocho Grande, taking Spanish. We just had our mid-term, which I aced, but only because I already know most of the subject matter and am there just to get the rust out and put back those small linguistic idiosyncrasies that fall out of one's memory after years of no substantial practice.
Another reason the class is easy for me is that I had six years of French, which never struck me as extraordinary until I ran into the general American populace which is very well represented in my Spanish class. I am amazed at the ignorance of language exhibited by the vast majority of my classmates. They seem incapable of uttering vowel sounds that aren't straight out of a Midwestern Dairy Queen, they don't know the difference between an infinitive and an ice pick, and their overall attitude toward native Spanish speakers seems to be one of annoyed tolerance. There are a few clear-headed intelligent students in the class. Too few. But I have to say this group did run into one helluva teacher. I'll say more about la profesora later.
"Return To Paradise" -- Martin Denny -- EXOTICA
"Ah, good taste! What a dreadful thing! Taste is the enemy of creativeness."
- Pablo Picasso