Jacaranda

Jacaranda

On alternating Monday nights you take the green bin out with the red bin and the yellow recycling waits for the off-weeks.

You remember this because you’re running down the other side of the hill and the rain that threatens to linger has softened the purple flowers to mush on the concrete so you slow but it’s past dark and the path slopes back up where you can’t quite see so you lose your balance and you fall not forwards but back, arms out. But instead of crashing into the concrete you burst into a garden.

Thick grass at your back, roots beneath your feet, held aloft by the greenery that grows in an instant below you to stop you falling hard to the path with a crack and a bruise and, no doubt, a call back home. You stop and breathe and you’re caught in the moment but not the vines. Above you in the quiet and the peace and your heavy breath and your racing heart, on the dark side of the hill where the houses slope away into their acreage recessions, you see dim stars through the canopy overhead. The moon above too through a gap in the dark clouds more purple than black. 

Your feet find the ground again but it feels softer now and not slippery. Not sodden slush but an undergrowth all about you, across where the path was, even the road now latticed by roots and vines as if the bitumen was beneath it rather than above all this time. Clear white light floats in from above and the fire in your gut subsides for a moment before you start to move again, your feet pushing against the soft grass about you before it grows tall at the edges where the Council’s poor gardens were stubborn and wild.

Every frustrated step feels simple against this, the drive that pushed you here in the first place fading as you continue to run, the energy this time out of the freshness of the crisp air as if the not-close-but-not-far stench of the motorway has evaporated too. In this way you come back up over the next rise, darting across a thin lane that leads off into the heart of the hill before it becomes truly suburban. As you land upon the black your knees feel the unrelenting immovement beneath before your soles turn tarmac to lawn.

Cresting again and now you’re passing houses whose already overgrown fence lines have become jungle in this new floral world. Ferns thicken the air with spores and you breathe this in deep as you fall into that familiar flow you’ve been chasing for the last few miles, finally freeing yourself somehow of the rest of set what you off, but it lingers in that unshakeable vault at the back of your mind as you go — though the grasses and the vines and the roots and the leaves feel as if they’re working their way inside you to wrap themselves about the great wheel that you’ve always imagined protects what’s within.

You’re wrapping around the hill now, heading back towards the easy, flat, straight sections that were cleared to make arterial roads that run parallel to the highway that runs down the length of the country’s east coast and you wonder what this hallucination will reveal as you get to the stretch with the park caught cramped between roads large and small but you don’t make it quite that far before the doe comes moving up the wide rock and dirt path of the road. You keep running towards it because you’re in a rhythm and to stop now would break it and shatter all of this and the deer is hungry but not for you, filled though you are with plants and protein, so you pass each other by with just a glance. Here the cold wind hits and the purple flowers return ahead in a tall round passage funnelled in by trees stretching across to the edge of the trail and bounded by grasses and gardens and eucalypts that reach deep down below and then high above it again, so high their leaves commune with the night sky to whisper in dreams on a spring wind.

The heavy sky breaks and you make your way into the passage as that vault in your mind, holding all of it from before, turns from steel to wood, some kind of reverse alchemy, and you feel it in your run as the pressure breaks too and you struggle some again at that wall because the downward slope has flattened out and you remind yourself that you’re keeping track with that black mirror and you can’t help it as the rain drips through the awning that fades in the harsh white light.

You’ve a good pace. But you look back up and it’s all gone. Night dark about you again and cooling as you walk now, having nearly but not quite forgotten why you left the house in your trainers without a word but knowing that, when you return, what was once fury had been sown as the flowers you’d seen all about you. The downpour takes the heat out of it, out of you, seems to steam it up towards the stars.

You start to run again both to get dry and to get home and you wonder how to see all that again but you worry about what it will take.

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