July 13th, 2002

caillebotte_man at his window

Chirping Birds and All

I swore I wouldn't come here and read this late at night, but here I am. I'm addicted. Now, I'll get to sleep late and wake up late and rush all afternoon to catch up. Curse you, LiveJournal!

Guess what! My attic fan turned itself off about twenty minutes ago, for the first time in three days! That means either it has cooled down a bit, or the fan has worn out. I can't tell if it has actually cooled down, because I have something that feels like an internal sunburn. My body refuses to give up the heat it has accumulated. I feel hot, even in a cold shower! Weirdness.

Must sleep. Be still, birds!
caillebotte_man at his window

Doing Things For No Reason

The empty client, as white as the paper which has so often taunted me, sits open on the page. It is as blank as the patch of pale summer sky I see out my window, as blank as my heat-addled mind. Just start writing. It will come to me. Into my head pops the dandelion.

Yesterday it was there with its full, spiky head in the flower bed next to the lawn. Today, only a few seeds remain on the stalk. The rest have been scattered. On close inspection, I find several on the lawn. I don't know why I always want to leave the dandelions be. The neighbors all take great pains to eliminate them from their lawns. I like their little yellow flowers and their spiky heads. Even their name is pleasing to me. Dandelion. The showy little weed. The king of the lawn. Let the seeds sprout! Only the naive eye is fooled into thinking that there is perfection in a weedless lawn.

As children, we always blew dandelion heads for luck. To strip them bare with one breath was considered very good luck. A summer without dandelions would have been a disaster for us, then. There were other plants we enjoyed, as well. There was one weed, whose name I never knew, but which we called the scissors plant. It bore green spikes about two inches long. We would make a small hole near the bottom of one spike, and insert another spike through the hole, and the pair of them would work like scissors. It was a pointless, useless exercise. I probably did it a hundred times a year.

Uselessness is probably the essence of childhood. If an activity is not seen by adults as useless, it isn't any fun. Being a kid is like being a weed, I suppose. You just run wild until somebody figures out how to cultivate you, or decides that you can't be cultivated and just uproots you. Sooner or later, most of us end up as part of that boring suburban lawn. Maybe that's one of the reasons I like the dandelion. Just by being itself, it spoils all those careful plans and brings a bit of color to the bland parts of the world. Natures little tagger, filling the blank spaces with artless life.