I Put My Teapot on Karl Roves Face

Donald Shephard

After class last week, I made a pot of tea, turned on my laptop, and brought up “My Music”. There I selected the folder called “Chopin”. Within that folder was another called “Nocturnes – Vladimir Ashkenazy”. This music could calm the most savage breast – it certainly calms mine. Then, with tea at hand and beautiful music in the air, I began to write.

I came home to have my tea. Colleen was busy drawing the plans for our new cabinets on Autocad. I put my teapot on Karl Rove’s face which was on the cover of a week-old magazine. I do not like what the ventriloquist Rove has done to this country but there I am in a minority. There is nothing for me to do but bear it. My mother advises me that I should not fret over things I cannot change. This is the unthinkable thing that I find hard to bear but cannot alter. Other human beings are being tortured in my name. If I focus on that I run the risk of slipping another inch down the slope from eccentricity to craziness. I fight that risk with every trick in my quirky mind.

One such trick is to cover up reminders of the mis-administration in Washington. Hence, I put my teapot on Karl Rove’s face. Another method I often use is to fill my brain with peaceful music and so I listen to nocturnes, harp music or guitar music. For, “If music be the food of love, play on. Give me excess of it.”

When the affairs of men grieve me most, I turn not to religion, which has so much complicity in man’s inhumanity to man, but rather to my communion with nature. At present, I am the steward of a splendid garden. Here, I tend fifty rose bushes. I have staked and tied an equal number of gladioli. I trim hedges and weed flower beds. I have brought great carnage on the innocent snail population. One garter snake lost its life as I reduced the overgrown lawn to a mowable state with a weed-wacker. Another snake seems to have escaped almost entirely except for the tip of its tail. The hydrangeas have been treated with aluminum sulfate to turn them blue. The rosemary bushes have been pruned to allow the calla lilies to flourish. The fuchsias have had their mite-riddled leaves removed. The windfall apples are now in the garden waste bin. Hummingbirds are endlessly fascinating and entertain me between chores. I have been a responsible gardener causing minimal collateral damage to innocent garter snakes while attempting to rid my world of pesky snails and mites.

In November, when we hope to return to Caspar Knoll, our rebuilt house overlooking Caspar Beach and Point Cabrillo Lighthouse, I will relinquish the stewardship of this garden and continue the construction of a new one by the Pacific Ocean. There I feel most in tune with nature. Although there are no wars in that peaceful setting, there is death and destruction. The osprey circles above me as I sit on my favorite tree stump. He has a hapless fish in his talons as he works to gain altitude. No doubt it is not pleasant to be in the position of the fish but it is quite natural. Osprey is not deliberately causing the fish unnecessary pain.

It is difficult to fully accept that I live surrounded by a beautiful landscape and seascape. It is as if I have returned to the idyllic days of my youth when I worked in the fields with few responsibilities and little cause for care. One difference is that now I have three grown sons who are healthy and reasonably happy. Another thing that distinguishes my youth from my care-free retirement is the love of my life, Colleen. It is a charmed life that I lead. There is truth, love and beauty all around me. There is no place in my life for lies, hatred and ugliness and so as I enjoy the flowers I see through the window, I listen to Vladimir Ashkenazy play Chopin nocturnes and put my teapot on Karl Rove’s face.

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