Just Another Day in Paradise

My life has — even in simple things — a tendency to be intense. I don’t know why, but it’s always been that way. This morning I went to City Market to pick up my groceries. As I drove into the area where I park, I noticed something in the outside garden area that shouldn’t be here.

Bougainvillea. Bougainvillea is Southern California and Italy, not this high desert place with the -30F temps in winter, cowboys, all of it that it is. Bougainvillea is San Diego, my garden in the hood, and beautiful, wild, immense and imported plant that gives a home to stray cats, rats, mice and sometime possums. It doesn’t belong in Alamosa, Colorado. My eyes filled with tears.

Sometimes I’m homesick for California. Ok, I admit it. You don’t live somewhere 30 years without parts of your heart and soul taking root. And, it was 8 years ago today (thanks FB memories) that the deal closed on a house I never wanted to leave in a place where I was happy. Add to that, I was leaving a profession I loved. It was ending piled on ending. I had 48 hours to get out. I put a good face on it, but inside I was very sad and very scared. All that made it bearable was necessity and the knowledge that it would be very beautiful where I would live — though I didn’t know where that would be. I knew it would be the San Luis Valley, nothing more.

At City Market I wasn’t sure it WAS bougainvillea. It seemed too strange. I got out of my car and went to see, blinking back tears.

Of course, I’d seen too much of that plant NOT to know it when I see it.

Destinee came out with my groceries. I was standing behind my car, looking over at the plant, thinking about adoption and deciding against it. I was wearing a t-shirt with a big snowflake on the front — kind of a wearable prayer flag. A lot of my shirts have snowflakes on them.

“What are you doing, you little snowflake?” she said. “It’s kind of early for that!” I didn’t remind her that 2 years ago it snowed on September 9.

“See that flower?” I pointed.

“Yeah.”

“It shouldn’t be here.” I told her what I already told you.

“I’m going to be working out here one or two days. What can you tell me?” I told her that the colorful part isn’t the flower, and that the plants needed lots of sun but not a lot of water. She then shared about problems she’d had with a manager inside. We agreed that it doesn’t make sense for Boss A to make it hard on Employee B just because Boss A “paid their dues” so the young person should have to pay theirs. The conversation (mine) went to Goethe when I noticed Destinee’s earrings said, “Virgo.”

“You were born in August? So was my favorite poet and writer. August 28. 18th century German guy.”

“German guy?”

“Yeah. I met him when I was 50 and I was all like, ‘Where have you been all my life?'”

“I’ll look him up. What did he write?”

I explained about Faust, how it was an old, old story and the standard version had Faust damned for eternity, but Goethe’s didn’t. That for Goethe’s idea of God it was cool that a human was curious and determined, and after all Faust went through, God redeemed him and the devil lost the bet. Destinee was totally into it.

“I told you I’m going to back to school,” she said.

“Yep. I’ve been happy about that all week.”

“Well, when I do, will you help me with my English papers?”

“I would be honored,” I said. And I will be.

9 thoughts on “Just Another Day in Paradise

  1. Bougainvillea means Mexico to me. When I first lived there to study Spanish, we had a bougainvillea in front of the house. Every morning, the owner of the house where I roomed would go outside after breakfast to sweep the sidewalk – mostly bougainvillea bracts, rubber tree leaves, and cigarette butts. He would sit outside every evening smoking and toss his butts, which he would sweep up the next morning. (I just learned that bougainvillea is related to four o’clocks, which grow around here. I can replant them each year from the seeds produced by the previous year’s flowers.)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.