Saturday, September 1, 2012

Bare Ruined Choirs--Not Yet

"This time of year thou mayst in me behold
Bare ruined choirs where once the sweet birds sang."

Not yet...this time of year the tree outside my window casts hard shadows on the brick wall of my building and the leaves are a deep, warm, translucent green in the late summer sun. I love watching this just before the light falls away, which happens earlier now.

When I come back from Thailand in late October, then there will be those bare, ruined choirs--at least until the branches are softened by snow. But I'm too happy with today's light to think about that now.

Earlier today I was drawn out of my apartment by firecrackers, drums, and gongs. There were lions and dragons parading down the street and people waved plastic Taiwan flags. When I came back toward my place after a quick grocery grab, I was stopped by some of the best lion dancers I've seen in this country--and a dragon dance that was mesmerizing in a very small space. I don't know where this troupe was from--their shirts weren't in English and when they were finished, they packed everything into two tour buses.

"Where are you going?" I asked one of the dancers who replied in strongly accented English, "San Francisco." "Don't go away," I pleaded and he smiled. Of course there is nothing online explaining anything about this, although it was performed for many prosperous-looking gentlemen in suits--and the amount of firecrackers that heralded and concluded this event wouldn't have disgraced a war zone.

But that's, as Jack Nicholson taught us all to say, Chinatown. In this city, there's no other spot where I want to live, with its sun-warmed brick and its private celebrations.

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