It is still raining. Days and days of dripping and trickling and mud and wet tracks. Remember how excited I was about Spring Rain? I’m OVER it. I wake up every morning hoping the sky will be blue. It seems to get only grayer, darker, and more wet. In Gretel Elrich’s The Solace of Open Spaces, Elrich relates that, “in Navajo mythology, rain is the gods’ sperm falling to earth.” To that I say, GIVE IT A REST, Y’ALL!
Besides more of this constant rain, I’ve got a few other things I wish were not part of today:
–Ants. Despite so many mornings of crushing and then collecting smeared ant carcasses off the floor, after so much crawling on hands and knees to rub the juice of garlic halves along the perimeter of my tile floor, and with the obstacles of these dirtied clove halves piled against any open crevice, those little six legged boogers are STILL finding their way into my home. They creep out from under the door rug. They crawl up the oven’s cord toward the windowsill where I cook. They swirl in indecisive circles on the floor. There is no Orkin Man; there is no Raid. There is just me armed with a few cloves of garlic against an army of untold millions. I hate them.
Yesterday two of them had the audacity to fight right in front of me, bracing themselves against each other with their forearms. I thought to myself, “Well, I’ll handle this,” and brought down a mighty thumb upon them.
–Leaving Spring Chicken in the Poop Jungle. The poor little being, she’s desperate. For four days she has suffered in her tiny cage. For four days I have forsaken her, taken the stone trail right past her wailing muzzle, despite any clawing and crying she might perform against the rusty prison bars. I cannot bring her to work wet and muddy, and while I take her out for an hour or so every night to play in the garden mud and the rain, it is not enough to assuage the guilt I feel leaving her every morning.
Her tiny cage has turned into a Poop Jungle. As humid as it is, her increasingly larger turds never dry and leave large swathes of fecal landmine for her to traipse upon and get caked into her fur. Meanwhile, with all the rain, nettles are trying to take over, growing, in comparison to Spring Chicken, into stinging trees. Every day I squat awkwardly, each hand armed with a plastic bag, rain soaking through my shirt and chilling my back, inhaling an onslaught of putrid vapor, and teetering on my toes as I scrape piles of wet doo from the ground. Today I wiped out a whole forest of stinging nettles. And still she screamed when I put her back in what remains of her Poop Jungle.
–The broken umbrella. I only have half an umbrella. The other half is no longer an umbrella, but merely cheap bits of broken metal and a piece of nylon that wags in the wind and taunts me with little slaps on the hand and cheek. The wind broke this umbrella which survived El Salvador, Panama, Abilene and Kolkata. I’ll have to replace her with another in Yerevan. No one in my town sells them.
–The mass tree disfigurement. I’ve been doing my best to document it in the days before the rain. I’ve never seen anything like it. I love so many things about Armenia, but this one I just cannot seem to embrace. What you see in this first picture is what should be a normal looking tree. A tree who, thanks to sun, water and earth, even heart, spreads out it’s branches to offer shade and so many green leaves to color-up the boulevard. And yet a truck drove by, a small group of men came and went and left a bunch of naked wounds and few limbs reaching desperately into the sky at first in surrender and now, I think, in supplication.
Ok… ok… dramatic maybe. But I’m a guy who is still considering a tree-of-life tattoo, who appreciates nothing more in nature than a quite willow or a strong pine. How can you take a perfectly good tree and chop it up into these gnarly shapes with these few thin branches protruding from a stumpy, disfigured trunk.
The other day my own landfamily informed me that they’d be doing some tree trimming. Hiding back the horror, I said, “Are you going to take the trees from this,” putting my arms together, elbow to wrist with my fingers splayed out like tree branches, “to this?” And I swiftly drew my fingers into fists. “You know, like on the road in the city?”
“Well, yes,” she said, making a large circle with her hands, “it makes them prettier.”
I am not at all convinced. I give you the evidence:
I think today I’m just wet and tired and sick of climbing around in the Poop Jungle, guilt-tripping over the cries of Spring Chicken, pests and mangled trees. From what my friends tell me, I think my town is considered the Seattle of Armenia. But really, it will be sunny soon, right?