Le voici, les Arbres du Jongle

Edward G. Nilges, “Ariadne auf Lamma”, 2005. Pencil, ink and wash. Copyright (c) 2012 by Edward G. Nilges. Moral rights asserted.

People were complaining online about today’s rain: but as I walked home the sun was at least making an effort and the rain was stopping. The trees and bushes were just opening up to the light and water, releasing marvelous scents. The air was as clear as a bell of the sort meant to draw our attention to here and now.

The first time I took my sons to California in 1983, I was perturbed as we rode the limo from SFO to Mountain View. They seemed kind of zonked.

But as we exited on Rengstorff (if memory serves) and approached Middlefield Road (near what’s now Google HQ), my younger son perked up…he saw the line of palm trees at a trailer park which I’m sure is gone.

He said, “look at those jungle trees” and I knew the kid was alright. He always thereafter manifested a great deal of verbal talent in a gnomic register completely unlike mine:

1. On Dedekind’s belief that “the natural numbers are made by God, the rest of mathematics is made by man”, he said at the age of three, “one two three four five ha ha ha”, whereupon I rushed over the the Stanford University bookstore and bought him a Stanford T-shirt.

2. On boundaries, I was accidentally crushing his toy bunny and he said, “hey Mister, get yer arm offa my bunny”, laissez-vous mon Lapin tranquille et moi, la paix. This is untranslatable into Chinese: if translated automatically it becomes 嘿先生下車我的小兔子,你的手臂, which is roughly, gentleman, obtain the arm from my rabbit baby.

3. On blueberry muffins, he said, “I got a blueberry muffin and you don’t”.

4. On modern women undt seinem travails, he said, “Mama go woik”, Maman va a sa Travail (je pense c’est la).

Note: I typed the French extempore, used Google Translate for the Chinese.


One Response to “Le voici, les Arbres du Jongle”

  1. spinoza1111 Says:

    J’ai une Muffine des Myrtelles et vous, n’avez pas
    Ah, c’est ton Jalousie qu’est mon Desespoir
    Furies, et Hercule, et le souer qui est Trois
    C’est une honte, et c’est mon autrefois

    (Nonsense French in imitation of Racine, here’s a translation that’s even worse)

    I got a blueberry muffin most sweet
    And you don’t got such a delicious treat
    Furies, and Hercules, and Sisters Three
    It’s a shame but it don’t bother me

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