Thursday, April 30, 2009

green thumb

Outside my window is an alley-way strewn with leaves that lie neglected from not being raked in the fall. I sometimes wake in the night to the rustling of these leaves, alert and full of adrenaline, thinking...someone is outside my window. I like to think of it as my alarm system, though no one is ever seen.
I heard these sounds, only moments ago, in full daylight. I peered covertly, and with great care (albeit awkwardly) through my blinds to spot the intruder. Below my window squatted a squirrel, digging in the leaves with trepidation. He bore an acorn, looking up every few scrapes to make sure he, and he alone, knew where his treasure lie. I felt like Annie Dillard, though no metaphoric gems of understanding, or some significant proverb came to mind. I only experienced the moment, nothing else.
It reminded me of my late grandfather, poppa Pedigo. He had a bit of a green thumb, and took great strides to defeat the so-called army of rodents who seasonally invaded his lawn. He had been seen, from time to time, noting where squirrels had buried their acorns, and replacing the nuts with rocks. He did this, all with an affirmed smirk, as if getting the best of those long-tailed rodents was akin to being lord of his domain -his trimmed, lush acre on Woodmore Ave.
I miss poppa. I come from the kind of family that doesn't teach life lessons, in case of a quiz later. That is to say that there is no one narrating the themes of a particular experience. We have been, and I dare think will continue to be, a breed who fails to realize the richness or the depravity of many of our moments, and will continue to obscure the former and make the latter commonplace. This is why I watched Poppa.
He was a man of methodical preciseness, right down to the way he devoured the Sunday sports section of the Times-Free Press. If there is any value to the way he lived his life, I would like to think that his discipline provided the link between dreams and substance, as if the air of accomplishment he breathed upon spiting the squirrels was vindicated by the unwavering element of his systematic proficiencies. That is to say, to take pride in one's work is a most favorable of self-imposed virtues.

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