Hot and wet

butterflyDon’t let anyone tell you that wet leaves won’t burn. They will. They just put up a fight about it, and their weapon of choice is smoke. Lots of smoke.

This was my second day of leaf-burning in a week. I have two ethnic groups of dead leaves: pear and loquat.

And there were God’s creatures present.

Most important was the white butterfly who decided one nanosecond before I put the leaves to the torch that she would sit a spell, right there on top.

Of course, burning butterflies of any color is a crime, but torching a white one is an express ticket to Hell. One is doomed. So, I shooed the butterfly away.

She left peacefully, which is the only way a butterfly can leave anything.

The other creatures present made themselves known solely by talk. The horse and the hog next door were quite vocal during the smoke storm. It blew their way. But I have no control over the wind. They should know that.

In order to burn wet leaves, one must also invite dry ones to the party. Pure wet won’t work, but an ethnic diversity, as with people, will flame a fire. Plenty of smoke, true, but in time you have ashes, which is the objective.

A leaf fire smells good. It smells like the old days.

12 thoughts on “Hot and wet”

  1. My stash of copal is running low, I’ve been burning it on the front stoop for the high holy days, it creeps under my door and makes the apartment smell nice — it does the neighborhood as well.


  2. Nice that we can still do that here. In the states the Air Quality Control Board would have a SWAT team pin you to the ground!

    Merry Christmas to you and yours!


    1. Tancho: You are quite right, of course. There are lots of things you can do here freely that are prohibited above the Rio Bravo. Poo on them.

      Felíz navidad to you too. I will do as I always do. I will spend the night here alone in peace while my child bride stays up half the night downtown with her sister and some other folks. The upshot is that I will feel good tomorrow, and they will feel lousy. I keep trying to emphasize the inevitable result of this tradition of dining at a ridiculously late hour, but it never gets through to her, and it never will.


  3. Gee, a white butterfly is a ticket to hell! What happens if you burn a black one. Seems we just cannot escape that cultural innuendo. As a kid in Metairie I used to love the smell of burning sycamore leaves in the fall. It’s against the law to burn leaves now.


    1. Carlos: If you burn a white one, you go directly to Hell because white is the color of purity, as we all know. If you burn a black one, you are sentenced to six months attending NAACP meetings.

      Yes, the Gringos have sucked all the fun out of life up where they live en masse.


  4. Wishing you a merry Christmas, young fellow. I am also sitting quietly waiting for the Bearded Fat Guy to show up. Had a beautiful dinner at my daughter in-law’s house, Finnish food for the occasion. I have no idea what it was, but it was tasty. Sometimes it’s best to eat what’s in front of you and ask questions at a later date. My son made homemade eggnog with some kind of whiskey, sneaky stuff. He adds something to the whiskey also. I think he learned that in Montreal. He has culture, his wife also. I have none, so I sit quietly.


  5. Felipe,

    First of all thanks for your post. Beautiful writing. Beautiful imagery. Yes, in my book of dos and don’ts, it is also a mortal sin to burn a white butterfly. Well, as I read the fine print, it is a mortal sin to burn a butterfly. Period. Definitely, because they are creatures of grace. But, all creatures are of grace; all creatures are grace-full.

    Yesterday, during the Church service, I noticed that the pastoral team placed children all over the place dressed as angels, with wings and halos and all. How grace-full the place looked with everybody singing Christmas tidings, with angels, true angels, all over.

    Yes, they were there. The children of Newport, Connecticut. And we held silence for their families.

    This morning, I am here in the living room, looking out at the snow and wondering, and thanking… I am all right. And I know this is where I should be right now. Yet, my heart longs for Merida.

    Feliz Navidad, Felipe, and keep writing. And next time you see another white butterfly, know that you are blessed.



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