Caca de Luna
It’s been raining for a month – the eaves, the trees on the boulevard, the forest behind the house, the telephone poles and wires – the entire world is dripping. Even here on the leeward coast it’s been a month of relentless thick, wet air. Windward? Don’t even think about it.
Breakfast is late – everything is late – just getting out of sticky bedsheets, walking through thick air, lighting a reluctant fire in the hearth, all of these things wear on you – its energy from a dead battery. He opens the back door, steps a dozen paces out toward the forest – naked on muscular white legs – and stands – his hard penis pointed toward the hills to the west – and pisses the nights accumulation of rest, fading dreams and a bladders resolve in a heavy golden arc toward the garden and soaked earth. He pushes against the flow and emits a tremendous fart – hears it echo back from the valley below. I wonder if that bastard postal worker is up yet. That’ll start his day with a question.
He turns to scan the top of the hills for any holes in the cloud – nothing – surveys the garden and the land around the house – looking for pooling water.
At the edge of the woodpile – over against the shed there is a dollar size yellow disk that wasn’t there yesterday afternoon. He shrugs, thinks ‘if it was autumn that might be a leaf’ and goes about his business – scratching his bare ass, stretching shoulders, and moving back toward the house. Breakfast won’t make itself.
The week doesn’t look busy. Work has steadily dropped off for everyone. The town is hunkering down and waiting out the onshore flow. For the remainder of the day – he will sit at the desk researching, cataloging, typing explanatory text and checking email for further instruction. Email. The neighbors scheduled another get together at the center for Saturday – after church and before the evening hockey games get underway. Get out of the house for a few hours. Have some food with the clan. It will be a welcome relief.
Home business benefits – the constant flow of perfect cups of tea, comfortable clothing, the crackling fire across the room, loud music, and that bed in the corner – nap ready twenty four seven.
And sweaters, holy shit. The closet full of sweaters. It takes years to become acclimatized. It took him a year to figure out wool. You move from Calgary, flat prairie and try to grow sea legs. See how long it takes you. The wet. On the prairies you can get up early, plant in may, irrigate the shit out of your back yard and still – just hope for the best. Here, shit – do absolutely nothing – the ground pushes up vegetation so quickly you have to fight to keep a clear patch for your home.
It’s because of the pacific air – the warm flow and the moisture. And it’s relentless.
Tomorrow is the same as today. He exits the house every morning at the same time – pisses in the same direction and checks the cloud cover on the hills.
His gaze wanders again over the woodpile. The leaf from yesterday is now a pie plate. It’s grown exponentially.
He kneels at the stack of wood, leans left and right trying to see the blob from all angles. It’s like a pile of puke. What the hell? It’s got to be alive. It’s some kind of alien.
He opens the laptop – a search returns results – images of flat puddles of yellow goo – Fuligo septica – a slime mold that looks a little like scrambled eggs. It’s also earned the name ‘dog vomit slime mold’. Either is accurate.
He keeps reading.
‘It is not a plant, animal or bacteria. A slime mold is a completely different critter. We see it in just part of its life cycle, as a plasmodium, it grows with alarming rapidity, appears from nowhere when conditions are ideal and because it’s a fungus that reproduces by producing spores – lies in waiting for years in stasis and prepared for the future when again, conditions are perfect.’
‘…it’s utterly harmless to people, pets and plants. In fact, Fuligo septica is edible. Native people in some parts of Mexico gather it and scramble it like eggs. They call this dish “caca de luna,”’
It’s edible. It’s fucking edible.
Out the window rain falls from the eves of the house. Its a constant flow off the roof, into the rain gutter and through leaking joints – places where he will apply sealant in the next month or two when the sun shines for a week – or enough time to dry them. He glances toward the kitchen – thinks of the contents of the cupboards, refrigerator and begins to work out a likely result; I’m thinking a lot of butter, hot sauce – not overwhelming – salt. That should be it. Maybe a couple of eggs to bolster volume – and over a sourdough maybe. Some cheese?
They borrow the kitchen part of the community hall once a month – it’s supposed to be $300.00 for the three hours – including cleanup but no one has bothered with either the payment or accounting of it. It would be like taking a twenty out of your bank account and putting it back an hour later. Connie manages the hall. Connie manages the reports. Connie would make the payment on behalf of the group to the community association, and the community association would reimburse Connie for the payment as part of the agreement with the land-lease that allowed the building to go up in the first place. Land donated by Connie’s family. The government built the building, and not a single rental agreement has ever been signed or asked for since the ribbon cutting thirty years ago.
Inside the door an alcove leads you to the left – coats are hanging from wall hooks and folks are chatting, comfortable just inside the kitchen. He sets the glass lasagna dish onto a chair, wrestles his coat off and up onto the wall.
It’s Frankie – from the farm next door – his closest neighbor.
Hey Frank – you ready for your vitamin D injection?
It’s a long one hey? Here, let me take that – does it need warming? The oven’s on two hundred.
Thanks man, yeah, that’s perfect. It was hot when I left – but until it’s served, yeah, do the oven.
He looks over at the table – almost everyone is here – it’s all spread out already, pirogies, cabbage rolls – those will be Frankie, macaroni salad – that’s Connie, roasted potatoes – Jen for sure – pound cake and macaroons – Bill – from the grocer.
It’s a good group of people. He noticed when he was first introduced a few years ago – there aren’t sideways glances here, there are no hidden agendas that he can figure. No one has tried to pull him to ‘their side’ in any kind of discussion or plan. Everyone laughs. And they don’t talk about things they can’t win. Politics, religion. People are left to their opinions. The loudest argument he’s ever witnessed dealt with music. An accusation of plagiarism against Don Henley.
The discussions are real.
Are you gonna get cows this year?
We’ve got ten coming from the Chilcotin. Gang Ranch.
Well, alright. Lets get some beef trading done.
What have you got?
Jimmy, the backhoe is fixed, do you still need to ditch over on the west side?
Yea, I’ll need that before winter for sure. Can I hit you up in a month or so? When shit dries up a bit.
Just let me know man. It was a welding issue. It’s not gonna break again.
Hey Nicky, so nice to see you!
Jennifer – blessed Jen – perpetual smile and always up.
Hi Jen, hows life?
I’m OK – we’re hoping to get to Oregon and California next month – the van is ready to travel and oh my god, we could use some time on the road.
Taking the dogs?
Of course! She leans in closer. Hey – you seeing anyone yet?
Jen – please.
Ok. Hey – I don’t think you’ve ever brought a dish to one of these before – that is one great omelet – I have to have the recipe. You’re a good cook.
Secret ingredient. But I’ll fire it your way, text me a reminder.
I will – and really – thank you for participating Nick – I’m happy to see you brought something.
She looks around, puts her hand on his forearm, offers inclusion; I feel like you like us.
You know what? It’s all about people. Nothing in the world matters except the people you’re connected to. We’re all just walking each other home, right?