Tuesday, 24 July 2012

making sense of the whirled [another day at the office]

today i gathered leaves. slowly and literally 
one . by . one
from the streets of San Francisco

i went out into the whirled with the firm intent
of running a few errands such as
stocking up on reeds from the music store
 looking for interesting papers for the class at Goleta
and seeing if there was anything my students might find useful
from the fabulous Goodwill store down on Fillmore

instead i wandered down my favourite thoroughfare
[Memory Lane, where the potholes have been filled,
the roses are flourishing and fragrance fills the air]

i visited old friends [magnolias in bloom, mahonias in berry]


and discovered that it seems my feet know San Francisco
rather better than they know the city where i was born
- in Melbourne i have to carry and refer to a map, while
here my feet just wayfind whilst i am thinking of other things

i found a harakeke [New Zealand flax a.k.a Phormium tenax
that was raining flowers and 
the universe kindly provided a clean baggie passing on the breeze
[helpfully labelled "buttons"]

i found my heart high on a hill
admittedly a little tubbier than when i last saw it
and a bit ratty around the edges
but still quite serviceable
despite being wind-dried and a bit flat

i also found a nice clean piece of cotton string.

i very nearly filled a book with graphite rubbings
[thanks Roz for making me buy that bargain-priced 
book of Khadi papers in Melbourne the other day]

i sat awhile on the Greenwich steps by Russian Hill
where some thoughtful person has installed a small
Japanese-style water feature, and
listened to the parrots chattering in the treetops
- they call them the parrots of Telegraph Hill
but [like me] they like more than one hill in San Francisco

wandered past the Asian tailor
who has been closed for at least 36 years
- checked that the windows remained unchanged
it is good to have a few constants in life

and went to have an Africano
[to my mind the best coffee in San Francisco]
in my favourite haunt near Washington Square

where i couldn't help but overhear
the woman at the next table
extolling the virtues of something she'd recently consumed
stating in rapturous tones that it had been
"godlike, made by the ancients"
and then bizarrely opening a discussion about
"that artist, you know, the Alabama mumbler"

which reminded me of another "mumbler"
encountered [also in San Francisco]
on the shady side of 35 years ago when i kept spotting a somewhat eccentrically dressed woman [yes, yes, i know that's rich coming from me] who would appear as if by magic, mumbling something unintelligible, scrape brickdust or paintflakes or stonechips carefully from a wall, place the harvest in a small plastic bag and secrete is about her person.

i thought she was a fruitloop.

and now i am her. 
pottering about the streets
gathering leaves and dried berries from the pavements
singing to myself
enjoying another day at the office.

+++ sharp-eyed readers may notice the publication date on this blog is a bit kerfoops at present. it's because i am [literally and metaphorically] wandering yesterdayland while my MacBook is all set for the whirled of tomorrow, on Australian time +++


  1. long live loopy ladies lolling in lanes and alleyways.....

  2. ''another day at the office'' - goodness - that really makes me appreciate the life we have chosen - what a wonderful way of looking at it - thank you ! safe travels dear, hx

  3. Great story! I love the rubbing. Who knew staples in a post could look so cool?! Yes indeed, another day at the office.

  4. Oh! What a fantastic story! Love the ending. I agree with Ronnie - long live loopy ladies...I'll be the one picking up rusty bits.

  5. Takes a fruitloop to know another... fruitloops in eccentric clothing collecting on the streets are essential inspiration for young writers - the future fruitloops. I'm the one picking up interesting leaves and driftwood and dancing to the rhythm of the photocopier in the office.

  6. Waving Hi to you across the bay...yes, they have the best coffee anywhere!

  7. ...so you found it. That is good ❤
    Welcome stateside, may you get royally looped.

  8. It must be so much fun to travel with you! I think you should compile a book detailing your adventures.

  9. Clink! here's a toast to you & the celebration of all the wonderfully wild & weird women of the whirling world!

  10. Your post make me feel like I'm whirling round the whirled as whirl