Saturday, November 3, 2007

Beautiful Day in the Garden

I went to bed way too late last night. Am I done with my essay? NO! I woke up with a bad consciousness, got up at nine, others had already been on a thirty minute run, walked the dog, and read the newspaper. That does not help me with feeling less guilty. I had to water the plants, and what a gorgeous day it is! The sky is crystal clear, I can see the slowly turning leaves and the already red seeds of the dogwood pop from this clear blue. The nights are cool, but it has not rained, and the plants are soo thirsty. A few late bloomers still hang around, and they are appreciated even more.
My angel trumpet bloomed absolutely gorgeous this year. Have you ever seen the hummingbird moth (also hawk moth, Macroglossum stellatarum) feeding at night? They love the large white moon flowers, but even more so the angel trumpet (brugsmania suaveolens). It's scent is amazingly strong and carries far at night. So the hummingbird moth had a ball. Every night I saw only one at a time, but who knows, maybe there were more. I remember when I noticed that monster moth for the first time. I was not sure if it was a hummingbird, but then, so late at night - when it is dark? My neighbor from other country over there confirmed that I had not hallucinated, only, that it was not a hummingbird, but a moth. I watched it closely when the angel trumpet was blooming. The moth approaches, rolls out its little trunk-like tongue (actually that appendage is called proboscis), and then goes for the bloom, a great show to watch! These are the pleasures of living in a warm climate. Every place has its beauty. I loved the cold and snow in ice box state, but I also like it here.

Now, it is time to get back to my essay. I have to go to a birthday party tonight, do not want to necessarily, but have to, or my friend will lynch me the next time she sees me. The problem will be getting home in time since there will be many people from "over there," which means you do not leave after a couple of hours. I explained that to a colleague at U in even warmer place, since we have set up a time on Sunday morning to check in on our progress with our projects. After I told her that the party begins at six and that I can leave at the earliest at ten, she was stunned. "Four hours are a long time!" I guess so, never thought of it that way. Still I will hear comments like, only Bushlanders leave so early, or something along those lines. Almost a threat to my identity if I ever had one - if you leave early, we'll think that you are a Bushlander now! So what. I can be a Bushlander and over-there-lander at the same time, which for most is hard to truly accept, no matter how educated. Writing about national identity and imagined communities is one thing, but admitting to also being part of the establishing force, is an entirely other matter. Bushlanders living over there would react not much different, many would say something like "X. did not want to leave at all! Like a (name of inhabitant of country over there)!" I know that these are stereotypes, I preach this to my students constantly. So what do we call such "repeatedly experienced stereotypes"? Exclusion of our club of imagined community? We know that such stereotypes, even if repeatedly experienced, are not the truth, but rather a tiny part of the mosaic that constitutes a reality.
That's the fun of the state of in between, as long as it does not get to you. And believe me, sometimes it does get to me, even after many years.

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