When a Tree Grows Out of Your Head

When I was a young man back in the day, it was commonplace to encounter British writers having an awfully hard time accommodating the blues (for instance) into their writing, without anglifying it and getting it all wrong.

It was a late colonial time, before the colonizer switched to the United States, so it was commonplace. Now, though, the U.S. it is, and this is the West Coast, so the westernized zen culture of Seattle (and Vernon), well, that’s the thing.

You have to be wealthy to afford this nonchalance about the non adherence to material things.

Still, the same mis-translation is going on, as in those British poets and literary critics of the 1960s and 1970s. Here’s a Japanese maple hanging out, showing how it’s done.

And here’s a zen garden, aka a bit of blasted bedrock turning to salt in the dry air.

And the crowning touch, as I showed you last week, the Buddha as a doorstop.

But why not? We could ask an intriguing question: is this the americanization of a grassland, or the Indianizing or Asianiation of it? Such gestures of social status! It’s like Versailles back in the day. And isn’t it the same as this?

Chief Emmitt Liquatum of Yale in 1881.

Or this?

Or these old wetlands turned into industrial fruit plantations, weed fields, houses, an airport, and sport fields in the smoke of ingrown forests going up into the sun?

Aren’t we all dressing up for show? Aren’t we all a group of British poets putting on the blues? No we’re not.

Some of us are out in the mustard with trees growing out of our heads.




2 replies »

  1. I’ll play catch-up a little more, because I never know what I’m going to find here…I love that you noticed the Buddha sitting by the alarm system. Sigh. At least some beings know enough to grow trees from their heads.


    • Don’t get out of breath! There are a lot of posts. I should organize them. If I can just catch my breath!



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