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Creek Running North

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November 19, 2005


Tibouchinas are in bloom in Berkeley. Tibouchinas are always in bloom in Berkeley. When snow covers my father's house in February and the plum trees bloom brilliant pink on Derby Street, or when Ohio pin oaks turn their crimson, or when the buckeyes wilt with summer and the hillside creeks run dry, the Tibouchinas wear their simple purple satin petals on red-rimmed velvet leaves.

Purple shards are scattered across the sidewalks. I walk a mile through petal-covered streets. Along the way are people heading home. Along the way, a hundred varied people heading home. A round, radiant woman - skin the color of baker's chocolate - smiles brilliantly as I pass. She calls me "darling" and is carrying shopping bags. Young mothers shyly say "ˇhola!" and push their strollers past, giggling. The playground shrieks.

An old man pauses at the base of a long set of front steps, asks if I have noticed the sky. It has been pale pink for an hour. Later, a pink band of sky will drape the silver Bay. The air is hung with jasmine scent. He pulls himself up the long concrete stairway, white leather belt with a gold buckle.

Old cars scrape slowly along Tenth Street. Shocks creak with each low speed bump. Bicycle kids circle in the intersections, hot-dogging before the tired commuters on San Pablo.

Posted by Chris Clarke at November 19, 2005 11:42 PM TrackBack URL for this entry:

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I love your slice of life/slice of nature writing. More, please!

Posted by: Orange at November 20, 2005 09:01 AM
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Thanks. My mom is out here visiting, and noticed a Tibouchina bush in the neighboring yard. We had both been trying to come up with the name. Now we know!

Posted by: Kim at November 20, 2005 10:44 AM
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That's the Berkeley I know and love. How cool!

Posted by: The Liberal Avenger at November 20, 2005 02:21 PM
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I've no idea what a Tibouchina bush is but what a wonderfully evocative piece!

Posted by: Trix at November 20, 2005 05:54 PM
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You're making me homesick. I grew up in Berkeley oh so long ago.

Posted by: Hattie at November 21, 2005 12:37 AM
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