Saturday, April 11, 2009

keeping happy

Your friend did that to you? That’s just wrong! After all you’ve done for him! You’re mad, aren’t you?
Why? I mean, it’s maddening, anyone would see that…
Look, I’ve got what, maybe five, ten years of life? (we like to exaggerate imminence of demise in this household) Why would I waste them on feeling mad at stupid things?

I have soaked the pot in water. I have squeezed orange rind into the potting mixture. I have rinsed the roots of the orchid in grapefruit dishwashing suds. Still, the ants keep multiplying and spilling out onto my condo floor.

That’s it. Out it goes. I wanted to wait until the frost date, but this plant has pushed me over the edge. It stays on the balcony, frost or no frost.
Put it in a basin of water overnight. The ants wont be able to leave. Let's think about it.

(the next morning)
Any ants out and about ?
No, they’re probably having a town hall meeting in the root ball, thinking of the next move.
Put the plant outside for the day.
Yes, just that. It’s never coming back in.
But the water basin worked, no? The ants were contained?
Yes, but the roots don’t like to be placed in water…
Then put the plant on a platform, above the water. The ants wont be able to get out to the condo. They’ll farm aphids, or whatever the hell it is that they are doing in your orchid.
So, I should keep the plant inside like this?
..with a moat around it. Ants are happy, your condo’s happy. What more could you ask for?

Keeping happy.

It can be a moat around an orchid with ants.

It can be a game of tennis on a cool but sunny Saturday afternoon.
You're getting better! Fewer Nina hits! (He means fewer totally odd body contortions on my part.)

Phone calls from loved ones? Yes, those too.

I read an article in the Isthmus (our weekly alternative paper) about the appearance of loons on Lake Monona. It comes as a surprise: loons don’t like cities, they don’t like people, noise, they don’t even like to share a lake for mating purposes (odd thing, considering Lake Monona is bigger than a bed and loons are smaller than humans). Yet, they’re here, several dozen, passing through.

Ed and I head out to the lake to see if we can spot them. Black beaks, red eyes, darting underwater for minutes on end – they’re easy enough to separate from, say, the common duck. There, see it? A loon.


Shy, but daring, at least when in the company of fellow loons. But spooked by noise. And, over by Monona Terrace, on a sunny Saturday, there is plenty of sound. Out would come the loon, floating, as if on a forgotten Canadian lake…


…and back underwater it would retreat. Again and again.


The water hides them for a while and I never know where they will emerge next.

Ed lies down on a stretch of grass and dozes as I lean on the edge of the terrace wall, waiting, watching.

It’s funny how a new face can get your attention. The local mallard reminds me that he, too, is not without beauty. Yes, you’re right, you duck…


He paddles off to play with his mate on the silky waters of Lake Monona.


So happy. So very content to be following her this way and that.