Tuesday, January 21, 2014

clio takes a holiday

Now and then, the writing well runs dry.  Or, at least, the flow diminishes to a trickle.

That is where I find myself right now.  And I am not talking about writer's block.  I have plenty of potential material.  I am just not in the mood of packaging it into an essay.

If I were in a journal mood, I could tell you about yesterday's trip to four area schools with the church's community service committee.  To deliver school supplies to students, and teaching aids to -- well, teachers.

Even though it is a project that means a lot to me (Mexico's education system needs a serious overhaul -- especially in its rural areas), I also know that education without jobs runs the risk of pouring money into a leaky bucket. 

And Latin America has already been through that cycle -- where well-educated students repeatedly assisted populists in toppling governments.  The results?  Revolving governments.  No growth.  No jobs.

Or I could tell you about the little house in Villa Obregon that I looked at yesterday.  Once again, opening Steve's never-ending battle between the forces of renting and ownership.  And we have all been down that road before.  It always ends in me putting off the decision for another year or two.

Then there is the related story about a neighborhood in Barra de Navidad that may be without sewer and water services if a deal cannot be struck between the developer and the municipality.  The fact that discussions have been under way for 30 years has a way of taking the edge off of the story's urgency.

So, I won't write about any of those tales.

What I will give you is fungus.  Well, a photograph of fungus.

I have watched this rather odd nodule grow over the past month.  At one point, I decided I would try to do with photography what Claude Monet accomplished by painting the changing light on the fa
çade of the Cathedral at Rouen.  You can tell that my little Magritte experiment with clouds on the pond has morphed into hubris.

But I never got around to it.  The fungus grew.  Changed colors.  And the light moved across its face every day.  My camera remained snapped in its holster.

Yesterday, I took my first shot.  While I hovered around my rather tiny model, the gardener stood and just stared at me.  I undoubtedly provide him plenty of bemusing moments.  This was just another.

As I snapped and snapped, he told me it was just fungus -- in the tone of voice you use to convince the wild-eyed maniac in your path to put down the machete.  He probably thought I was convinced I had discovered some new wonder of the world.

And it was.  To me.  As far as I know, it could have been a rare white truffle just waiting for a s
auté pan filled with butter and garlic.

I wandered out later in the afternoon for another shooting session.  Only to discover my subject was gone.  But you probably already guessed that.  I found it a few feet away.  Uprooted and ready for the lawn garbage.

Thus is art strangled in its cradle.  Or maybe I was just saved from boring all of you for a few days with my fungus shots.

If any of you wish to thank my gardener, I will pass on your blessings.


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