A new leaf

I've been spending a lot of time gazing out the window lately. I blame this on Ray, who has spent an equal amount of time sleeping off his flu, but in fact I might have done it anyway. The wildness outside is lovely, and so unlike anything I've known that even without monkeys the view is endlessly fascinating.

There is, for instance, a small banana tree three or four yards from the house. This week I watched as it put forth a new shoot. It appeared, rather suddenly it seemed, as a tall narrow stalk, about two inches in diameter and straight as a steel rod. It looked nothing like a leaf. For days it stood there, growing taller but never altering its form and offering no hint of what it would become. The established leaves, sails that signal the slightest breeze, drifted gracefully in a constantly moving dance, but the stalk remained motionless. There was, obviously, no connection between the old and the new.

And then, yesterday, magically, it began to unroll. Faint lines appeared along the green rod, and the lines became the edges of the unfurling leaf. Then, wider and wider it opened. By evening it looked much like a large, green calla lilly, it's leaf edges still curled tightly at bottom. Today it is just another branch, drifting on the humid breeze.

Below it are older branches, split and sagging, turning brown and curling inward in a mirrored image of the new. They must be sticky because I saw a monkey wipe his hands after handling them. At the table by the window a recovering Ray watches a livestream of Occupy Our Homes as a crowd of New Yorkers take back a foreclosed home while a band plays and police look on. Out the opposite window school children laugh and dance a little jig and a car with a portable sound system passes by, the driver hawking an unknown something. Our little apartment welcomes life in (almost) all its permutations.