Sunday, April 17, 2011

Land of the Cherry People

I want to do with you what spring does with cherry trees
~ Pablo Neruda, Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair

I pilot the cherry red bus up East Shore Road out of Polson. She hands me the rubber hose from the water pipe my agronomist room mate crafted from a half carafe and chemistry lab supplies.

Her sun-ripened skin does not belie her anticipation. The biological card shuffler, heretofore known as the pas de deux of anticipation, lights me up like the tiny but relentless flames that keep a camp fire chugging long into dawn so the camp cook can prepare breakfast sausages 8-inches above the embers.

I'm relaxed, but cocked. It's either the Kalispell ditch weed taking hold, or that she simply plans me no bodily harm, like lopping off an unneeded appendage or two. Her smile is more alluring than the grin of any paranoia-inducing Cheshire cat my left brain might conjure up.

"We're entering the Land of the Cherry People", she whispers.

Our wheels roll past thresholds of unspoken reverence.

Into a tunnel of blossom-puckered cherry trees we go. These are not standard-issue cherry trees. They decorate the eastern shore like a wreath of ever-bearing biological spasms reminding us spring isn't meant for naps.

When we exit the Land of the Cherry People at Big Fork, I feel like time was pulled over for speeding.

I also notice I have grown a third leg that's pushing up against the steering wheel like a calf coated in afterbirth. Convinced this bewitching cherry of a companion traveling next to me might stick around long enough to some day trim the fibrous coppice from my ears in a nursing home, I fumble for diversion.

"Will you dig up the Frampton Comes Alive tape?"

"The one with the live version of Do You Feel Like I Do?", she asks.

Ever Patrician and exceedingly polite, my third leg is too pitiful for her to ignore.

"Maybe we should do something about Peter Frampton first", she intimates.

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