Chloroplast envy

Today the weather is clear, but cold, and I alternate between letting the cold clear air fill my apartment until it is frigid and shutting the doors to crank the small wall heater until it is intolerable, and I feel as though my lungs are drying up, and I cannot breathe.

The dog looks out at me from her small dog bed that is shaped like a basket and snuggles her, as though she were a cat. I think that it is, in fact, a bed made for a cat. She is very small, smaller than a cat. When I got a dog I wanted one that was cat-sized so that we would have cat-like snuggle sessions, but in truth cats are meltier, and have far fewer elbows, and dogs are somewhat rigid, and they do not melt to fit the shape of your stomach, when you are laying on your back in the bed, and they are spread lengthwise on top of you.

Still, I love her extremely. She lies in her little bed, now, with a bright red plaid flannel spread over her, and her little head hanging out between the blanket and the padded lip of the bed, and her small black eyes closed, and her triangle ears extended.

Last night I went over to my boyfriend’s house to have quality time, but really I was extremely tired, for no apparent reason except, maybe, the impending apocalypse, and my boyfriend was tired as well, on the computer sending emails, and his room was cold like an underground meat locker, even though it is in the second floor, and the windows look out at the boughs of a cedar that is older than anything and smells good, like vanilla.

I was tired and I took a shower in his nice shower, with the tiny, hologramish purple tiles and his nice bath products all lined up around my feet. I dried myself off with one of his damp and moderately clean towels, moved my hair with my hands so it was facing the right direction, and he gave me a pair of too-big blue sweatpants to put on.

We had sex, the sort of sex where one party is overly-tired and the other is capable of becoming enthused but is penned in between the parameters of the first party’s over-tiredness. When the sex was over I washed my hands and immediately forgot about it, and led the dogs downstairs so that they could potty in the backyard. My boyfriend asked if I was mad at him, and I remembered the sex, and said no that I was not, just tired and checked out the way it’s possible to be when one is tired, because nothing holds one’s interest. The surface of things is absolutely smooth, and there is nothing to stick to. Except, sometimes, I feel like crying.

A few days ago, in the dim grey of a clouded afternoon, I listened to a John Denver record on my record player, and cried. The record was slightly warped, the sleeve dusty and mildewed, the way that only books can mildew- dryly. On the album cover was John, crouched in some dry, late summer grass, his teeth small and unattractive, a floppy hat on his good, straight hair. I had never before, as far as I could remember, intentionally listened to John Denver. I’d bought the record on a whim, having never before bought a record. I was at Value Village with my boyfriend and he, having just found a cheap old record player, had me excited to buy one myself. There wasn’t another one, but there were records, so I bought a handful- Foreigner, Stevie Nicks, John Denver. And then, months later, I finally found a record player- nearly broken, for five dollars. And then, some weeks after that, two speakers. So I was at home, and the light was dim through the windows but my lamps were glowing yellowy, and the apartment was warm- and I put on John Denver, and watched with pleasure as the plastic record went round and round, somewhat warpedly, and then he began to sing. From so long ago, and loudly, but through the smallest hole, about hawks and the freedom of flying.

Did you know that John Denver died in a plane crash, over the pacific ocean, while flying his very own single-engine plane, in 1997?

Of course you know that.

I must have been fifteen at the time, just moved in with my grandparents. I was not much aware of John Denver, except that my mother had loved him. I am sure that the world had been simultaneously sad, spiteful, and disinterested when he died, the way that fame creates a web of relationships with the idea of one’s individual identity which becomes a mirror into which nothing but our own inner selves are reflected back at us.

I had not known John Denver before, and so I sat in my comfortable green chair and listened to his record, and felt a great sense of pleasure, and then began to cry.

I suppose I should feel surprised when I cry, now, because T is supposed to make it so you cannot cry, and I was not much of a crier in the first place. But I always forget to feel surprised, now, when I cry, which is fine, because then I remember that nothing about T is true, because we know nothing about T at all- or nearly nothing- we know just enough to make what we do not know, in contrast, seem enormous.

In fact, I seem to cry now, since I’ve been on a full dose, more often than I did before. Or maybe it’s because of the fall- because of the red and yellow trees, the heavy dark skies. The dull light, the gathering rain. I learned yesterday that the red and yellow pigment in the leaves picks up a different wavelength of light than the green pigment- that the red and yellow (and orange) are always there- hidden behind the green- and in the fall, when the light begins to change, the tree stops making the green pigment in order to optimize light collection in this new, stranger light, and the red and yellow are at last visible.

Is that why so many things are red, yellow, and orange in the fall? Winter squash, sweet potatoes, tree leaves? Is it the season of different wavelengths? If we lived in a sort of perpetual fall, would all the green things change to orange, or perish?

Is that why I feel so tired? Because I am not orange, only beigish? But I am not a plant, I do not have chloroplasts. I eat the plants, I do not fix the sugar from the sun.

5 thoughts on “Chloroplast envy

  1. Nice to see you writing again, Carrot. Always a surprise on your page. You’re constantly evolving as a writer and a person, and that’s very inspiring to me. I’ll be waiting for your book.

  2. I am in awe of your writing style! Reading your blog is an effortless experience, like being the passenger in a rowing boat.
    Cat Power – The Moon accompanies your pieces exceptionally well too, I am grateful to you for sharing that song.

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