Posted by: gdevi | July 24, 2014

Joys of teaching #72, or, Garden Beans and Garden Snake

I finished summer 2 today. Now to grade like a maniac and post everything by Monday. But what a lovely class it was. Thank you, kids — Jack, Mike, Max, Derrick, Erin, Anissa, Nathan, Erami, and Paul — I so enjoyed getting to know you all for this short period of time. Keep in touch and come and see me in the fall. Jack, don’t speed; I am reiterating what your mom said! Take care, all of you. Thanks for a good class.

I am so tired; I think it is time to fry some salmon! The dogs, the fish, the turtle are all fine, my dears. Daisy has separation anxiety and has started to sleep with me. She is enormous–82 pounds–and kicks me around at night, and promptly wakes me up at 5 in the morning. I am drastically cleaning house in your absence, K and D. Reducing your stuff. Giving it a haircut. You will be shocked to see your stuff gone when you come back. Sorry!

I planted only two bean plants this year, but they are growing so well. I just picked some beans. Salmon, and beans with almonds, garlic and butter! Que sabrosa!











9:30 pm update: I graded so much and did so much work for my women and mythology committee that I was dead tired and terribly hungry. I just didn’t have any energy to cook and the beans and salmon was a long time ago and all gone. So I called the chinese place and asked for some rice and broccoli and mushroom. I walked to the basement and opened the garage door and went to my car. Normally, I would turn both lights off–the light in the basement and in the garage, but tonight, I told myself, I am gonna leave it on. So I went to the chinese place, picked up my food and came back home, opened the garage and drove in and parked my car. I got out of my car, and I have to walk by K’s truck in order to get to the door to the basement. I stopped just in time. I did not step on the black snake  lying next to the truck’s front tires on the passenger side. One additional step and I would have stepped on it. Thank god I left the garage lights on. It was about two feet long, not very big. It raised its head and looked at me. I walked past it, and it slithered away in a sidewinding motion. I don’t know what kind it is, probably a garden snake, from the wet woods around the house. Because it was small, I wonder if there is a snake nest nearby? Maybe we should ask Yuri and his guys to clean out the garage and check out the woods nearby?  I am sure it is getting in to the garage through the french drain. I want you to be careful, honey, when you get back and go into the garage. K asked me if I wanted to kill the snake. I said, No. I don’t want to call animal control. We should not kill snakes. So I want you to be careful, okay, honey? What a strange feeling. All my hunger and appetite are gone.

Night of the Scorpion – Nissim Ezekiel

I remember the night my mother
was stung by a scorpion. Ten hours
of steady rain had driven him
to crawl beneath a sack of rice.

Parting with his poison – flash
of diabolic tail in the dark room –
he risked the rain again.

The peasants came like swarms of flies
and buzzed the name of God a hundred times
to paralyse the Evil One.

With candles and with lanterns
throwing giant scorpion shadows
on the mud-baked walls
they searched for him: he was not found.
They clicked their tongues.
With every movement that the scorpion made his poison moved in Mother’s blood, they said.

May he sit still, they said
May the sins of your previous birth
be burned away tonight, they said.
May your suffering decrease
the misfortunes of your next birth, they said.
May the sum of all evil
balanced in this unreal world

against the sum of good
become diminished by your pain.
May the poison purify your flesh

of desire, and your spirit of ambition,
they said, and they sat around
on the floor with my mother in the centre,
the peace of understanding on each face.
More candles, more lanterns, more neighbours,
more insects, and the endless rain.
My mother twisted through and through,
groaning on a mat.
My father, sceptic, rationalist,
trying every curse and blessing,
powder, mixture, herb and hybrid.
He even poured a little paraffin
upon the bitten toe and put a match to it.
I watched the flame feeding on my mother.
I watched the holy man perform his rites to tame the poison with an incantation.
After twenty hours
it lost its sting.

My mother only said
Thank God the scorpion picked on me
And spared my children.

Daisy, my fierce guard-dog protecting me! As you can tell, I feel terrifically safe, even from King Cobra, with Daisy around!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: