Sunday, December 27, 2009

LXXI: Mrs. Scurfield VII

Work is slow. Life is slow. I went over to Mrs. Scurfield's place yesterday. "Have a nice Christmas?" I asked.

"Yes. You?"

"Yeah. It was great."

Heads nodded. Then silence. Strangely uncomfortable silence. She offered me tea. I began searching for questions to ask.

"Whadda you do instead of gardening in the winter?" I asked.

"Sleep!" she said, laughing. I laughed too. We drank our tea. But I felt restless. Moments stretched long that would usually have passed unnoticed.

I could say it's not a big deal. These moments happen. But I dunno.

Monday, December 14, 2009

LXX: No Resistance

The sun came out this morning on a cold, white world. I woke early and left Susan sleeping in bed. I forged a path straight out from my backyard into the long, thin, white aspen bordering my property.

Eventually I laid in the snow, just ‘cos.

Then I imagined entwining this little forest with a patchwork of ten thousand steel bars, each tree burdened with just enough weight to gradually bring it all tumbling down. After the slow collapse a jumble of rust lay on the ground while, decades later, new trees pushed up through the open spaces.
In all my destructive narratives -after the imagined fires, pavement, or bulldozers scrape up root and soil- eventually some winding green pokes out through the cracks.

I walked home dissatisfied.

Susan had coffee ready for when Clarke dropped by. The three of us sat with our own thoughts.

"Whatcha thinkin' 'bout?" Susan asked me after several quiet minutes.

"Well," I said, embarrassed, "I'm thinkin' 'bout how my Trees don’t need steel rods to bend them."

Clarke laughed.

Monday, December 7, 2009

LXIX: Mrs. Scurfield VI

The ground’s covered in snow. Just a skiff. But it’s cold and now I don’t see people outside in their yards. We’re all inside watching TV.

“I’ve been doing some hard thinking,” I told Mrs. Scurfield last night in her living room at our weekly Friends meeting. “I think the Trees are bigger in my mind than they are, y’know, in real life. Like, when I don’t go out to see them, that’s when my obsession gets enormous. But when I go out there all the time, then it’s there but it’s not so emphasized.”

“Oh Matthew,” she said. I realized she was looking past my words. To a place I can’t see in myself.

“Does that make sense?”

She smiled. “Yes.”

“So whaddaya think?”

“I think I’d like a cup of tea.”

Sometimes, amazingly, other people’s lives don’t revolve around me and my concerns.

And sometimes people leave comments on this site which really throw me. Make me reconsider everything. Like Joel and Jon Kramer’s comments on the last post.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

LXVIII: Dr. Bill Remphrey

I'm reeling. I emailed Dr. Bill Remphrey. Here's an excerpt:

Me: I've been interested in the Trees for a while, and I don't know that my own fascination would be so strong if I understood fully why the Trees are crooked. Do you think anything would be lost (or gained) if a clearer explanation emerged for the Trees' crooked architecture?

Dr. Remphrey: I am not sure exactly what you don't understand. We know the trait is heritable and is most likely a single gene mutation. We don't know exactly what is happening at the gene expression level, but the gene is either causing the shoots to have reduced strength or differential growth that causes them to bend over. Ultimately I suspect plant hormones are involved. In any event, once this happens there is a cascade of developmental events that lead to the crooked form.

I now fear that, rather than searching for an explanation, the hours I devoted to poring over those essays were actually an attempt to sustain my belief that there was no explanation for the Trees.

"I am not sure exactly what you don't understand."

Yeah. Damn.

Please, if you haven't already, check out Dr. Remphrey's website.