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The Demonstrative Century Plant

December 13, 2015
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Tom Struckman, about 1964, with nephews Chris and Chuck Angel in Dillon, Montana.

Saturday.  Saturn’s day.  Saturnine ill humor.

Saturday was a good day for me.

In the 1960s I visited my brother and his friends, Bill and Mary Reynolds and their two cats, Evinrude and Mercedes, on a houseboat in Seattle.  A floating house, really.  I don’t know if it was floating on oil drums or what.  Maybe pontoons.  Looked like a bungalow, except it was afloat on a lake in Seattle.  Tied to shore, not out on the water.  Lake Washington, perhaps.  Or Lake Union.  I remember that it was relatively late at night the first time I visited the house.  It did not rock or move on the water.

What does this experience in Seattle have to do with today?  Just this.  One pleasant Saturday Tom drove me in his light green 1953 Chevy to Volunteer Park in Seattle.  There, we walked out onto a broad lawn to smoke some marijuana. There we could smoke, facing each other, and see the horizon in all directions.  Sort of like antelope on the plains who watch for predators.  We felt safer.  Soon we had the usual fuzzy ornate buzzing wheels spinning in our minds’ eyes.  We were stoned.  It was Tom’s grass, and it was good.

After a bit Tom walked me across the park to an arboretum where a century plant was — on display, I guess.  The plant was just a plant.  Whether on display or not.  There it was.  Itself.

I had a flash of insight, “Hey, it’s Saturday!”

Tom said, “Yeah!  Seems like whenever you get stoned, it is Saturday!”  Seemed profound, or stupid.  By God, it was Saturday.  Then Tom gestured toward the century plant.

“Dan, plants are our friends,” he said.  “Look, this one is speaking to us.  It is saying to us, ‘Thus!’”

I looked carefully at the plant, with its thrusting succulent leaves.  They all seemed to say, “thus.”

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