Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

telling cactus from euphorbia

My hearings ended a day early, but the airline choices on Thursday afternoon failed to include a convenient flight to get us home. In the post-9-11 era, late flights from the western cities back to Texas seem to have become far fewer and further between. My co-counsel and I elected to take our scheduled 3 p.m. flight Friday, so that I could get some work done early on Friday morning. We had a celebratory drink (my elixir: Diet Coke) with our clients, and then we sought out some good Mexican food. We went to a restaurant called Los Dos Molinas way down by South Mountain Park, where I had a really good and really "authentic" plate of carnitas. The menu said words to the effect "don't ask for mild, we don't know how to cook that way". It was not really the road burn which is real Tex/Mex, nor the chiles of New Mex/Mex nor the subtlety which is Arizona Mex, but instead a fun cross between the hottest Tex/Mex and Sonoran food. The signs said that the collection of old homes in which the restaurant was located was the old Tom Mix house, but I wouldn't recognize Mr. Mix's house unless it had movie cowboy pictures everywhere, and this place had a kind of kitsch decor.

I worked the telephone and the computer from dawn to the morning, and got several things done. Then I called poetbear, with whom we'd planned to link up before we went to our flight. We met him at Papago Park, where he showed us the easiest access to it's nice scenic vista, the Hole in the Rock. Then we headed over to the Desert Botanical Garden. I love botanical gardens, and I hadn't been to Phoenix's since I spoke at an insurance insolvency seminar in the early 1990s. It was only 102 or so, and the park was nearly empty in late August. The cactus and succulents were truly stunning--some in bloom, some towering over us, some small and just so gorgeous. The information exhibits wanted us to understand the way to tell the difference between cactus and euphorbia, which makes sense to me. I have some lovely small cacti now, one of which recently bloomed. But I want more, now that I have seen that garden again. Sadly, my eBay pencil cactus (actually, a euphorbia) never took root, so my massive four dollar investment is lost.

We sat on a park bench in the shade and watched a cactus wren emit its harsh cry as it scampered on a palo verde tree hunting insects. We visited the park library, a collection of old succulent books donated by a wealthy patron. I stood and glanced through books and day-dreamed of collecting enough used books on cactus to donate them to a garden. As I sit here, though, I realize that I should instead collect them on prairie, since that is much more where I live. Someday I am afraid my book collection would just be "tract homes sprawling across the fruited plain". I really enjoyed meeting poetbear, who has realized, after a long career being other things, that his job title is now "writer". That's cool. I have LJ friends who are long-time real life friends, one LJ friend who is an in-law, LJ friends who I first met through nanowrimo or other internet things, and LJ friends whom I met only through LJ. It's fun to meet in person LJ friends whom I've never otherwise met. Of course, I was thinking that some of my long-time real life friends who are on LJ I rarely get to see, and mentally calendared "need to visit Tulsa some weekend to see many relatives and gregwest98

I got an e mail rejection slip from a poetry magazine to which I'd submitted some poems a while back. This form e mail showed me that the form rejection slip genre is still alive and well, even after its transition to the internet. The first paragraph advised me that they could not use my poems. The second paragraph said that they don't publish rhyme, cliche, things that are general, or a variety of other things. The closing lines suggested that if ever I write a poem which is not one of those things, I am welcome to submit again. I don't really mind the rejection, other than the usual adrenaline rush of disappointment, as I feel that a little reminder that I do not move mountains in verse is perhaps good for me.

Today I work on an appeal brief, and tomorrow on other "catch up matters" that any out of town trip "creates". I'm exhausted, because my plane did not arrive until quite late (due to something called "microbursts" at the stop in Denver), but I want to be productive today.

I have now spent many weeks in Arizona over the past six months. I keep formulating "Arizona is...." type of statements, because I keep thinking that the state ought to lend itself to some summing up. But today I think I'll just let my impressions of Arizona hang in the ether, more valuable to me undefined than tied neatly into a bow. When I went to London years and years ago for one of those college summers, a friend said to me "don't draw conclusions. Don't make it what you imagine it to be. The old cliche is that England is whatever you imagine it to be. So don't come to one
conclusion about what you see. Just take it in". Sage advice--at least as informative as a form poetry rejection letter.

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