Thursday, July 14, 2011


I remembered that, of course. I would have remembered to wake up as well, but all short-term remembrance is in the waking state, and I was asleep.

On Sunday we had the usual bi-annual community roadside manicure in which all able-bodied humans take part from 8 ~ 10 am, the physically capable men with their weedwhackers, the others - from kids to grandfolks - with their clippers, hand scythes, rakes and brooms, and since I would be doing the section up near my house, which involved whacking multimeters of mountain bamboo, I would have to change the whackerhead from the strings to the sharp-toothed blade. I knew all this in advance. Unlike last year, however, when for some reason I overslept, and in my unbreakfasted haste, among a series of lapses forgot that the whackerhead bolt loosened clockwise, as did the universe of that morning, this year I vowed to be breakfasted and ready at 8 with my whacker new-bladed and gassed up, ready to go.

But for some reason I overslept (something I seem to do each year on this day) and was awakened by the growing sound of weedwhackers along the road toward me when fresh from dreams I realized I had to change from strings to blade -- and the whacker was ungassed! But this time, thanks to the mind-branding nature of last year's experience - plus I happened to have an espresso in the fridge - I jumped out of bed right into my workpants, snatched the espresso, opened it with my teeth as I grabbed my workgloves and headed for the toolshed, the sound of whirling blades drawing nearer as I gassed up the whacker, changed the strings to the blade (THE BOLT LOOSENS CLOCKWISE) and was out there already wailing away at that road-leaning bamboo and other over/undergrowth when the village whackers arrived from below.

By ten o'clock I was drenched with sweat as one of the grandpas handed me a bottle of cold green tea as we all stood around there in a morning sunlit crowd overlooking the sparkling blue lake below and enjoying the chance to socialize while dripping sweat.

Also I got to see and greet almost all the village grandmas in one place! It is an ancient joy one feels at the sight of so many grandmas, something way deeper than knowledge that science will never get at. Mostly the local grandmas and I meet and greet occasionally, me biking down the road to the train, they biking up to or down from their fields, just a good morning/afternoon/evening or so in passing, but here we were all out together in the summer morning sipping green tea amidst all those bright smiles of grandmas in their monpe, tenugui draped over their heads, we actually got some conversations going, beyond good morning and how are you, thank you and it's so hot, and well done with smiles as I say everywhere. Later one of the grandmas came to our our house with a big box of fresh onions.

Next year I'll get the whacker fueled, bladed and ready to go the day before and set the alarm clock just in case. The work is hard enough; why pile all that stress on top of it?

Though it's nothing a grandma smile can't fix.


Apprentice said...

Are we on a Luddite bender lately? Honestly tho, I fully agree with you. LP's, books, grandma's smiles... there are just some things that science can't improve or even duplicate.

Not that LP's sounded better than the new technologies or that I liked my tiny living space taken up with all of my albums and books... but there is just something intangibly authentic about a book or an album or a grandma's smile. Just like grandma's smile is somehow brighter in person than on video; Twain, Shakespeare or Dostoevsky on a Zook? Not so much.

Robert Brady said...

No, Apprentice, I'm not anti-progress, just pro-wisdom, doing my small part to try and preserve - if only in silent words - beauties we have known that may or will be lost to coming times...