Monthly Archives: September 2016

Not knowing is most intimate

Dizang said, “Not knowing is most intimate.”

I’m standing around feeling kind of useless when the young girl introduces herself to me.  “I’m Ramona!” she says enthusiastically, sticking out her hand.  I tell her my name and I say nice to meet you and we shake hands.  She wants to show me her plot and so she walks me over. Everyone else is planting tomatoes, cucumbers, basil, but her plot is filled with flowers.   “I love flowers,” she says, beaming.

About a quarter-mile down the road, I pull into a gas station.  As I’m filling up my tank, I hear a commotion, so I turn to look.  An older man wearing dirty, baggy clothes is pushing a teeming shopping cart across a busy four-lane street, and traffic has reluctantly stopped to let him pass.  As they honk their horns at him, he mockingly makes loud, honking noises back in protest.

Bermuda grass—Cynodon dactylon, also known as dog’s tooth grass, devil’s grass, and wire grass—is fast-growing, aggressive, and very tough.  It’s commonly used for golf courses and sports fields because it recovers quickly when damaged.  It is remarkably heat and drought-resistant, grows a deep and extensive network of roots, and is invincible to most herbicides.  To really get rid of Bermuda grass, you have to dig up the soil and pull it out by the root.

I find a place to park about a block away and pull my water jug and a few Powerades out of the car.  My hands are even more anxious than I am, so I’m dropping things all over the place.  I manage to get everything into a plastic bag and set off down the sidewalk toward  the Handy Stop.

As he cleans up the mess, the tall guy remarks that they didn’t even bother to eat it.

We are all together now—mother, daughter, Lucky and Kona and I—as Kona and Lucky wash off  the blood and dirt.  They are gentle and concerned.  We are all concerned.  The damage is bad: a large patch of feathers is missing from his back and the skin has been peeled away.  I cringe as a wave of empathy hits me.  Occasionally, he lets out a string of what I imagine is the turkey equivalent of expletives, but other than that he seems remarkably calm.  As Kona gingerly plucks ants from around the wounded area, the group discusses the turkey’s fate: will he be strong enough to survive, or will the wounds become infected?  Lucky jokes that he has a friend who just completed training as a butcher.  Kona finds a towel to wrap the turkey in and settles him in a box somewhere safe.

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