A fit of fancy

There’s something pleasing about low clouds over a field in August when it’s been dry, but isn’t anymore, and straw coloured cross hatch grass contrasting sharply with the water colour silhouettes of mountains, even when you know the rainy spells mean the Perseids will be peaking unseen. The rain doesn’t detract as it would in the dog days of coastal British Columbian winter – in fact rain adds a kind of texture, because often when it rains after a long dry spell, the rain comes with a breeze, and the breeze tumbles the clouds along the ground (well no, I tell a lie; “along the ground” is an exaggeration that cannot stand; when I get on a roll I have to watch myself). The breeze tumbles the clouds not far overhead, and if you look down a little to the horizon you can see a mist that does stretch up from the ground, though it can’t be seen close up.

A person could harrow a riding ring on an old John Deere tractor quite comfortably in this weather, let me tell you, while he thinks about how this scene is part of the peculiar story of grass, which doesn’t lose its spirit when it becomes hay (it simply holds its breath; you can hear it exhale when you loose the twine from a bale), or while she thinks about how she wouldn’t normally use a phrase like “there ought” but for the sake of the scene and the sentence there ought to be a story for thistle too, especially scotch thistle, which is magnificent from a non-agricultural point of view. It looks just as good as grass out there under the mountains and cloud, and it adds a bit of colour to their stories by way of its violent purple flowers. When the thistle dies the breath is not held as it is in hay but comes out in gasps at the seed heads. You can’t hear it but you can see this thistle breath. It is fluff light, white to light brown and soft to touch.

That’s What’s Up

It’s a Sunday summer night and some things need describing. Japan’s fireworks at the Celebration of Light, for example.

The fireworks went off over the heads of hundreds of thousands of people, except for the opening volley. That lit up the sky just above the barge. A lot of people stood up to capture the moment with iPads, which led others sitting behind them to shout Sit Down. It was hard to judge the effect of the shouting. The moment was certainly captured. 

I didn’t have an iPad, but I remember that a friend I hadn’t seen in a long time had given me a chicken wing. It was delicious. We were discussing how to define character – and the extent to which people can change – with another friend. I remember also that my butt hurt because I’d been sitting in the same position for too long and there wasn’t much room to move. Then the show began, someone started playing the soundtrack, and I noticed how much the day had cooled. 

Team Japan did not let the moment stand alone. The whole show was spectacular. I had forgotten details of the Celebration: that distinctive whoomph … whoomph … of the guns firing the next salvo. Or the silences lasting just as long as the faint orange tails behind the biggest rockets. Or the physical impact of the explosions. Sensory extravagance is what it was, blast after blast. There will be a poem, because I’d like a heart beat with that kind of oomph. “Boom. That’s what’s up,” a person with such a heart beat would say.