The air’s not still, but it’s slow motion, like colors in a dream. The sun’s still warm, and flowers still bloom, and a season’s worth of foliage sways overhead, in a hazy lingering-summer’s lazy way.
I can’t imagine anyone not liking my Italian teacher.
I see her at the front of our class. A first floor room with opened, screenless windows. Trees outside, and a warm September breeze moving the air in the room.
She was maybe 23, from northern Italy, and she’d only been in the US two days. You wouldn’t say she was beautiful, but she was everything you see when you think sweet and sexy. Her hair was almost blond, she had soft blue eyes, and she wore glasses that weren’t exactly flattering. I think they had fancy light blue frames. She was built cute as a 23 year old can be built, and she wore dresses. All of us were in sloppy jeans, and there she was in a sleeveless dress, a cottony kind of fabric in an A-line shift that came to the top of her knees. And she didn’t shave her armpits or legs. Yes, she was cute and sexy in some kind of 23 year old, stylish, old world, northern Italy, kind of way.
She hardly spoke any English. She could say, hi, and, thank you, and she joked about us teaching her bad words.
Today. Yes, today. Today, it’s an October evening and I’m looking for my old Italian grammar book, and my mind wanders to an image that’s just easy. For life as it is, for the worries and challenges, there’s a picture from the past that’s just easy.
Those classes were wonderful. They weren’t hard for me. After years of Spanish classes, I did some American blend of Italian/Spanish, and she understood. She smiled, behind those glasses, and it was cool. It’s hard to explain how some people are easy. Easy in a wonderful way. There’s not a person reading this who wouldn’t absolutely love my Italian teacher.
Daylight fades swiftly, and gray roadways are quiet, but for some distant chatter. Window lights…rectangles of gold…make ready for the night, and evening shadows trim the pavement.
If someone did a Top Ten list of plants that inspire, ferns would be there. Mayapples would be there. Giant oak trees would be there. Flowers that show up on their own, and bloom at the edge of a paved street, for sure would be there. I’m talking about plants with personality, plants that stir the imagination, plants that make you smile. Plants that make you write a story. It’s a short list.
A field of wildflowers, as far as the eye can see. That kind of imagination.
Ferns. A stegosaurus stomps the ‘earth’, the way we imagine the earth looked millions of years ago. With each step, the ground thuds as the dinosaur moves past vegetation…huge, prehistoric ferns. Yeah, that kind of imagination.
So, ferns. This is what I love about ferns. Well, for one thing, they hang around all year. They survive the winter. Like we do. They’re not fresh and robust when they meet the first light snowfall, or the last cold icy storm. But they don’t dry up and wither away, or lose all their leaves like some bigger, stronger, more impressive ‘plants’, otherwise known as trees. Buried under January’s coldest, iciest cover, the fern hunkers down, close to the ground. You scrape away the slush and snow and hardened icicles. And there’s a fern. I have respect for that.
Is there another plant that comes to life with the charm and charisma of a fern? I know, somebody’s gonna come up with some mushroom that pops up overnight in an interesting way. Nope, forget it, not good enough.
You can smell the scent of ‘earth’. And take in the filtered light shining from above through the branches of those tall awesome oak trees. Peculiar little mayapples cover the leafy-rich surface. And ferns.
All those delicate flowers we planted in May, or June, they’re strong and showy now. Or they’ve withered and died. The tomatoes are tall, healthy, nearly out of control, ready to pick. And tall blades of grass that used to be bright green are a shamble of bent, disheveled straw.
The last days of summer always feel a bit restless. Maybe bittersweet. Like we’re living in yesterday’s moment, and holding off tomorrow’s worry. We try to relax, but there’s a nagging feeling … it’s almost gone.
It’s a lull. It’s a pause. It’s a pendulum ready to swing. It’s a moment that hangs there. It’s a breath, and then it’s gone.
© Etikser. All Rights Reserved.
Not my artwork in first photo. It was mass produced, and I bought it years ago. All other photos and images here are my own. They may not be used elsewhere or reblogged.
Please visit my other blog, Clover & Ivy, https://cloverandivy.wordpress.com.
I post mostly nature photos there.