Wind, oh, what’s the weatherman say, Charlie?
Tell me, will there be weather today, Charlie?
I get up earlier and earlier. The soundtrack of the morning hours is my jam: jays calling, sprinklers sprinkling, traffic laid low, and no dark clouds formed yet in my creaky brain. Watching things wake up gives me a sense that I’ve somehow got extra time, and that’s a valuable thought, even if it just really means I end up in bed earlier. Morning is mine.
Always wanted to be the sort that meditates somehow. One that gets up just before dawn, takes a 5-mile run stomping around the dew, takes a breather to watch the sun crack open a fresh one. I’m picturing my grandfather Wayne who, when we stayed at his country house perched on a bluff overlooking the flood plain of the Mississippi River, would seem to have been up forever in the morning, sitting at the kitchen window drinking coffee while deer peeked in at his unmoving face.
Draw me one more bucket of foam Charlie
Shake this jangled thicket of bones Charlie
But I get up and take stock of the yard. Take notes of what grew new from the day before. Make some mental notes on what needs tending. And while the front part of my head creates these little task lists, the back part of my head processes things that are maybe too sharp when words are put to them. The Past. A tough work day. Money. Bad beats. The Future. Meditation is a way to let those little thought bastards come up, flit around a bit until you notice them and say ah Yes, I see you, and then release them like smoke rings. The Yard, because it’s slightly wild and slightly out of my ability to contain it, says “Do what you can today, but tomorrow is another day, and then tomorrow, and while you’re sleeping, and while you’re at work, we’re doing things here. We don’t stop.”
So every day the weeds come. And every day I pull them. We have a sort of existential agreement that we’ll meet every day to practice our own meditation together. Creeping Charlie, brother. This is a plant that seems to spring up out of nothing. Where once there was nothing is now Creeping Charlie. And you can’t just yank the thing out or mow it over. No, you have to get yourself a tool, dig down to loosen the dirt around the base of the root, down three or six or ten inches, then lift up from the bottom and remove the plant, whole. If you leave a trace, Charlie comes back. If you chop it up, Charlie spreads. If you throw the dug up bastard on a pile of loose dirt, it takes root. Reminds me of lots of things. Charlie is a thought that you thought you’d quashed and moved on, but there it is again. Funny.
What is it shakes this jangled thicket of bones, Charlie?
Set sail on this grand old bucket of foam, Charlie.
This song got into my head while pulling Charlies out of the yard. It’s not about the plant, but about the musician Charlie Parker. Peter Mulvey is the artist. The chorus plays in my brain over and over… Creeping… Chaar-leeeyy…
“Charlie” copyright 2004 Peter Mulvey from Kitchen Radio.