January 5th, 2006
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bizarro world and mushrooms

wake. tea and toast while reading truman capote. I notice the sun is out today, after so many weeks of rain. the sky is a strange shade of pink, and the sun makes interesting shapes on my floor. I make a plan to feel it on on my face. a few hours of work, doing things I have been avoiding, just jump right in and face it head on. this is how i work, avoid, avoid, then whaaaaaa, do everything at once.
california is a world of opposites to me. (it’s like that superman episode about bizarro world, a mirror image in which things are reversed.) everything turns from brown to green in the winter. dormant things come to life. you can pick things off trees and eat them. I have been gleaning oranges and lemons from an empty house on our street. instead of snow there is lots and lots of rain. the produce is always good. the world becomes filled with new colors, blooms and sunsets.
I get on my bike and ride downtown. on my favourite street, the one with the crooked house, i have an ‘aha’ moment. it is january. i have never seen a january like this before. warm and playful and green. seeds crunch under my tires and I start to laugh. i feel grateful that I have had an opportunity to experience something new, something different than the last thirty four years. instead of comparing it to what is normal. instead of focusing on why it is different, i start to celebrate the differences. It is sunny and warm in January, how wonderful!
I head to the junk shop to look for collage materials and fabric for a new bag, (to make with my ‘new’ vintage sewing machine I got for x-mas), but there is nothing that speaks to me. I have a hankering for coloured tweed these days. Flipping through heavy stacks I find several interesting album covers to use for collages. I notice the place smells wet, fermented, as if there are mushrooms growing in the corners. In the children’s section I kneel down to look at the books and am delighted to find and old copy of “veronica” by Roger Duvoisin. When I stand up I realize I have been kneeling on a damp towel and my right knee is soaked and smells like a rotten mushroom.
The man at the counter gives me a discount because I have left the records behind, it is only the sleeves that interest me. (I take this as fair payment for the mushroom knee situation). I pay him $2.43 and place the ‘covers’ into my big red bag. Veronica’s smiling eyes peek out of the top of the bag. there is a green smell outside that I cannot identify, I stand for a moment trying to take it in.
on to “chocolat” for cappuccino and a croissant. I feel very french eating it. I only need a worn copy of Rimbaud to complete the picture. I eavesdrop on a table of young friends talking about funerals. “What would you want for your funeral?” they ask in an animated way. Their answers are amusing, naive in a refreshing way, (as if they don’t believe it could ever happen to them).
on to the co-op for some groceries. some tahini. a huge dark red apple, of a variety I’ve never seen before. a woman asks me, pointing, “what kind of potatoes are those”, and I shrug saying, “I have no idea”. there are so many varieties of everything here, it is hard to keep track. the catch of afternoon is a fragrant loaf bread with toasted sunflower seeds on the top.
it becomes immediately apparent as I set off on my bike that I have once again bought too many heavy things, and my front wheel waddles and sways with the momentum of the overfilled wicker basket. turns become a matter of control, not letting the handlebars pull you off track. bumps in the road seem more treacherous than before, avoidance of them important. Because it takes longer to pick up speed I have to focus while crossing the busier roads (of which there are only two on my ride home). the habit of singing christmas carols as I ride has apparently not left with the season.
I skirt around the abandoned christmas trees left out in the street to be picked up by the garbage collectors. they look sad and dejected having outgrown their former usefulness.
I look forward to a cup of peppermint tea with the apple.

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