Apr 11, 2006

Should I Stay Or Should I Bushido?

If you're familiar with medieval Japanese history, this post will make at least some small amount of sense. If not, then we're both in trouble.

The wicker-armoured samurai of Japanese history was much more than the mindless killing machine that many kung-fu flicks and popular knowledge makes him out to be. The true samurai was as well-rounded as any Renaissance Man; he was expected to behave with excellent manners in court settings, and was expected to master such diverse arts as flower arranging (ikebana,) poetry, calligraphy, bonsai, singing, playing a musical instrument, horsemanship, archery, and painting. And, of course, be a skilled swordsman worthy of serving in his lord's army.

Well, I'm no samurai, and I cannot call myself a master of any of the arts above, but I do dabble in a few of those arts. And I tickled myself this afternoon heading back from lunch, so let me tell you a little story.

This being Louisiana there are numerous ditches, ravines, bayous and other ways to hold lots of water. Along US Hwy 1 there are pretty much continuous deep ditches it's entire length, and every spring for the past several years I have noticed, growing in the thickets of weeds and water and cattails a certain white lily. They usually grow in clumps like daffodils do when their bulbs daughter and spread, and they give the appearance of a star-like flower from the highway. Headed back from lunch today I noticed bunches and groups of them in full bloom, and decided that since my Don Joan rose in my desk vase had wilted the day before, and since I had no energy to try and wrestle an amaryllis flower in here from the house I made a high-speed mid-highway deacceleration and pulled a flawless U-ie in the road so that I could park on the shoulder by a little clump of these flowers.

I descended into the (thankfully) dry highway-side ditch, walking carefully as Hi-Tek Magnum boots, a full-face helmet, leather gloves and a racing jacket don't make for a lot of flexibility in the joints, and reached my goal shortly. I squatted down, took my first good look at these lovely white lily-like flowers, and carefully snapped one thick stem off at the ground. I unzipped my jacket to place the flower inside for the rest of the ride back to work and that's when I noticed the man whose property fronted the highway ditch.

He was standing dead still in his front yard about 50 yards away from me, holding what looked like a ditch blade in his hands, watching me with a hawk's eyes and that certain madness that only long-time property owners get when they see a loud red sport bike haul a big turn in the middle of the highway to disgorge a red and black armoured rider who, to all appearances and for all intents and purposes seemed to want to stop and smell the flowers.

So, I did what any samurai would do--facing the potentially irate property owner I slowly bowed from the waist, tucked the flower gently into my jacket, remounted Miranda, did another U-ie in the middle of the highway and headed off fast enough that he couldn't get my license plate number.

This evening I'm going back with a shovel and a bucket, so perhaps soon I can post a picture or two and you guys can tell me what sort of flower I've liberated from the evil grasp of the Highway Department and a certain very disgruntled redneck.

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