In the northeast part of the range on Saturday, Oliver Fern and I descended into the canyon through which the Graywolf flows, far too early for the Rhododendron show yet the oft-gnarled, skeletal form of the wild rhodie holds its own charm for the connoisseur. Altogether with side-trips we journeyed seven miles, enjoying a long lunch at the river. Oliver whittled a branch into an arrow, blanketing himself with fragrant curlicues. We explored downstream on the other side of the river until it got too dangerous for him, the disused path is carpeted with fine grasses of the understory but traverses a vertiginously steep slope which crumbles away in places, far down into the river.
One day after school earlier this week a stressed but unpanicked August urgently summoned Oliver and I to stay with young Selestino because she needed to be at the hospital after overdoing it (tearing) and she took the baby with her, in a cab. Selestino’s father, Ernesto, got stuck down south all morning getting his documents updated, having wanted to get this off the to-do list for some time, for fear of that certain xenophobic mania. Doggone it, he hung around for the rest of the day and got sworn in as a citizen of the United States of America! Part of me wanted to be delirious when he walked in the door as I’m a sentimental fool but pardon the dampened enthusiasm seeming as how the country is swirling down the drain a bit, of late. Misty relief, certainly. Ernesto, who left Lima at seventeen and also holds Italian citizenship (his grandfather) brought Selestino across the street to our place before dinner, I called upon him regarding an urgent matter as I felt a little sheepish not taking him up on that drink back at his house (no boozing until all the kids are off the bus) and so I poured us something potent, probably only the second time I’ve imbibed this year and it was good. We chatted on the back porch while the boys guided Selestino through the rusty toy truck graveyard. Forgot but should’ve told Ernesto about this winter when the boys, their mother and I waited in a dreadfully long line at the State Department. We turned around and saw Donald Trump’s portrait on the wall and the boys burst out laughing so hard I thought they were gonna pee their pants.
postscript: For what it’s worth, in the case of my beloved neighbors I’ve utilized pseudonyms. So if for some reason you found the name “Selestino” to not seem believable, your hunch was right.