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2007-04-05 - 10:53 a.m.

Thirty years ago or more, people planted a certain kind of sidewalk-friendly dark-barked tree all over the city and I know this because now--right now--every one of them is in the middle of its full-bloom business. They've got globes of white flowers and, after a few days, you can see the lettuce-green fists of early leaves poking out from behind the flowers. The flowers don't last very long. In a few days, or maybe a week, they'll shower the sidewalks and make everything sort of magic-like, if I were into that sort of thing.

But waiting at a light this morning, on Pleasant Street downtown, I was looking at a line of these trees and thinking about how once you see these white-flowered trees a few times, they lose that magic. And I don't know why that is, but I suppose that as adaptive creatures we get used to things very quickly like how when I was a freshman in college I got used to the four-toned car alarms that would go off all night. So I was looking at these trees, flowers already getting battered by cold April wind, a few snowflakes in the air, and thinking about how much I'd want to see them in July, in sweat-down-the-back July. And isn't that a transportive feat? Imagining myself in July, thinking back to early April, wishing I could get a little cream with my coffee, maybe. We go forward and backward and forward and backward and I wonder if, the next time the three of us meet, forward, backward, and now, if I'll be able to recognize everyone's faces long enough to say hello?

Last night, after my class, one of my students came up and said, "Are you going to see the S.P.?"

She's an art student, very excited by new ideas, by new clothes and music, and generally one of my better students. She's very polite but inquisitive, and so her questions never seem challenging, but rather genuinely curious. Anyway, I said, "S.P.?"

"The Smashing Pumpkins," she said, and then she told me about the big show they're playing here in August.

"I like the Smashing Pumpkins," I said.

"You were so lucky to be around with all those good bands," she said. She's probably twenty-two years old.

I said that some were good and that some were bad but that she was forgetting about the Fred Durst guy's band.

And she smiled and nodded her head and said, "Limp Bizkit."

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