Viridian Season

The light lingers so little time in the air. Nothing to be done, it fades in its own sweet way, leaving behind those washed greenish skies in apprehension of darkness. No fear! we used to say as kids, it meant certainly, indubitably, we would be there, ready for anything: no fear. Deadly was another word we used, it meant awesome, excellent, mighty. This phrase came in a dream. When I woke I thought viridian seas and after that, viridian seasons. Then, remembering my boys, sea sons. The word in my head because I described light falling through the stained glass windows of my sisters’ bedroom in the house where we grew up as viridian riverine, trying to imagine, since I find no trace of it in memory, what it looked like. Now the absent memory trace, resurrected, has been inserted into the past: for instance that wet afternoon when, immured indoors in their bedroom, probably during the holidays, my two older sisters and myself took off all our clothes and in the rainy light falling through those windows, smelled each others bottoms. Still remember the odour: moist, earthy, human, with a whiff of the black mud that we turned over with our shoes on the bush track to town. I have found that scent again whenever I have gone there with any woman of my experience. Riverine comes from the river that ran behind the house and runs through my head now and forever though it is recall of sound not scent; unless there is a river smell to the word, made of weeds and wet stones, of the clean fresh transparency of water. Viridian seems to carry a memory of glass but it is from Latin, viridis, green, first recorded in English as the name of a colour in the 1860s. A blue-green pigment, more green than blue, made of hydrated chromium oxide. Specifically a dark shade of spring green tending towards cyan on the colour wheel. It must be an index of my mood as well as the season. Or my soul. Certainly my eyes are green. And it has always been my choice when asked for a favourite colour. Also the shade of envy, nausea, fear, youth, inexperience and a myriad of other qualities I need not enumerate. Death as much as life. Green, I want you green, wrote Garcia Lorca. Green wind  Green branches / The ship out on the sea / And the horse on the mountain. It is a dying gypsy bandido in love with the girl with eyes of cold silver; who will, before he climbs up to her balcony, have hanged herself on a sliver of moonlight above the cistern. It is himself, in love with his bitter fate. With the bitter sea. Viridian season must be the one we are entering, of green ice and swept skies, of occult conjunctions of heavenly bodies, of moonrise over the cataleptic ocean and the sun shrouded in nets of cirrus. Winter, in other words. When the neck of a broken bottle lying on the bank glittered in the moonlight . . . the shadow lay black under the mill-wheel; when yo ya no soy yo, ni mi casa es ya mi casa; when here, now, as senseless engines turn in the street and the light fades beneath the green dark shadow of the trees, we make our recurrent, never-ending accommodations with the night.

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