Home

I’m getting more and more comfortable in this town that I’ve decided to call home.

As I walk along the main drag, I’ve begun to see familiar faces, and even to greet people in mutual recognition.

I feel like a successfully transplanted bulb, sending out tendrils of roots and finding everything I could ever want in the soil.


Where has all the quiet gone?

As I sit here writing this, a car alarm is going off somewhere nearby, probably not due to any attempt at theft or mischief, but rather an operator error of the vehicle’s keyless entry gadget. This is just one of many sounds that assault us regularly.

Our world is increasingly filled with noise, layers upon layers of intrusive wavelengths, both intentional and incidental.

For brief, delicious moments, a space can be found in which there is only one small, gentle sound to hear — the wind in the trees, the rain on the roof, the chirping of birds.

Then, something electronic beeps; an airplane roars through the clouds; a car door slams in the neighbor’s driveway; a train rattles by and wails its dissonant chord.

My personal foe this time of year is the leaf blower.

Last Sunday, I spent approximately six hours outside in my yard. During that time, I enjoyed perhaps a half hour in total without the incessant drone from one or two of several neighbors using a hairdryer on steroids to clear their lawns.

How I long for the sound of a rake!

On my walks through town, I steel myself against the cacophony of construction equipment, and cringe at the passing of eighteen-wheeled monsters.

I make my way down to the river, away from the vehicles and the hustle and bustle, as far as I can get from the auditory onslaught. There, I can hear the subtle trickling of tiny tributaries here and there, the occasional quack of a duck, the cry of a seagull overhead.

Sometimes I see another individual on the path, a walker or a runner. Almost invariably, that person has brought their own noise with them, piped through wires, stuffed directly into their ears.

They don’t hear the water, or the birds; more importantly, they don’t hear the spaces in between the sounds.

Have we become a society that experiences silence so infrequently that we don’t know what to do with it other than to cover it up?

 


Plumeria

This giant plumeria plant
has conquered my living room.
In a space too small for its sprawl,
one leaf curls against a window.

It belongs out of doors, not in.
It stretches and fills the corner.
Its three-pronged stalks grow out, not up,
narrow trunks clad in smooth bark.

This giant plumeria plant
is impractical and impossible.
It stares at me, it’s daring me.
I have not answered its challenge.

I allow it to hold its court,
towering in condescension.
The meeker houseplants bow in awe,
the large ones seem somehow threatened.

A fanfare of leaves explodes
from the end of each stubby branch.
It feels like a jungle in here
when sitting tucked underneath it.

It has inches on me, high and wide.
I am dwarfed inside my own home.
My dignity falters in the face
of this monstrous potted plant.

This giant plumeria plant
should not get under my skin.
I should not resent its bulk,
for I wish not for more of my own.

It is awkward and it is unwieldy,
nonconforming and big for its britches.
It roadblocks a chunk of my house,
blocking my view out the window.

I think I have made it quite clear
my position on potted Goliaths,
but I fear I’ve surrendered my rights,
for here I am, granting it quarters.

A reluctant truce has been reached —
as long as it minds its own business,
I shall not take up arms against
this enormous plumeria plant.

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