August 1, 2008
They are building a building in the vacant lot next to the firehouse we call home. Rather they were building a building. One morning 2 backhoes trundled in and dug a hole about 15 feet deep and 20 feet wide. Workers put up a big fence blocking the lot from the street, and then everyone left. The diggers rumbled away and the lot has been quiet ever since. Two months have passed and... nothing. We have back door onto the lot so we can go out there, not that there's anything to do. If we were smokers it would be the type place we would excuse ourselves for a minute or two to have a cigarette.
I don't smoke, but I do eat plums and drink coca cola. My family has been visiting my mother in law all week leaving me here alone. You can live alone for 20 years and never notice silence, but after 4 years of marriage and 3 years with kids, the silence is heavy. So all week I keep finding myself venturing outside with a coke or a plum in one hand and chair in the other. Tonight it was a plum.
People who study plums trees are called pomologists (Pomology is the study of fruit trees—not specifically plum trees). Can you imagine how great it would be to have a business card reading Your Name, Pomologist. (I've always imagined the Pomologists have an intense rivalry with the Olericulturists who study vegetables and who take pomological abuse in silence: "You study the radish?! Celery?! Cucurbits?!! Live man, for once in your life, live! Get your head out of the dirt and consider the glory of the peach and the pomegranate! Persimmons! We KNOW the persimmon. Go now, enjoy your arugula. Be gone.") Many Pomologists think the plum tree originated near the Caspian Sea in the Caucasus Mountains, but nobody really knows for sure. I've seen plum trees in the Hunza valley in Pakistan and a man there told me his valley was the site of the Garden of Eden and that it wasn't an apple that Eve ate but a plum. He also claimed to be the bastard son of the Mir of Hunza and to be one hundred and three years old, but that's another story. Anyway, I was sitting there in the dark, I ate my plum, and then I said out loud to no one in particular, "There are sweeter things." With that I finally felt the day was done and it was time to start dreaming of tomorrow when the house would be quiet no more.