Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Watermelon Sun

I've been sitting on the couch all day with the dog studying very inefficiently for some exams I have this week. It's been raining all day, which is fine. About an hour ago, as the sun was going down, everything outside turned this amazing warm gray color. I tried to get some pictures to show you what it looked like, and I think this is it:

I didn't alter these photos much, just lightened them a little to get the color more accurate and stitched them together. Everything was really that color. I feel like I finally understand this chapter of one of my favorite books, In Watermelon Sugar, by Richard Brautigan. Here's the chapter. You can listen to Richard Brautigan read it there, it with that player, or just read it, or follow along as he reads it.

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The Watermelon Sun

I woke up before Pauline and put on my overalls. A crack of gray
sun shone through the window and lay quietly on the floor. I
went over and put my foot in it, and then my foot was gray.
I looked out the window and across the fields and piney woods
and the town to the Forgotten Works. Everything was touched
with gray: Cattle grazing in the fields and the roofs of the shacks
and the big Piles in the Forgotten Works all looked like dust.
The very air itself was gray.
We have an interesting thing with the sun here. It shines a
different color every day. No one knows why this is, not even
Charley. We grow the watermelons in different colors the best
we can.
This is how we do it: Seeds gathered from a gray watermelon
picked on a gray day and then planted on a gray day will make
more gray watermelons.
It is really very simple. The colors of the days and the watermelons
go like this--
Monday: red watermelons.
Tuesday: golden watermelons.
Wednesday: gray watermelons.
Thursday: black, soundless watermelons.
Friday: white watermelons.
Saturday: blue watermelons.
Sunday: brown watermelons.
Today would be a day of gray watermelons. I like best tomorrow:
the black, soundless watermelon days. When you cut them
they make no noise, and taste very sweet.
They are very good for making things that have no sound.
I remember there was a man who used to make clocks from the
black, soundless watermelons and his clocks were silent.
The man made six or seven of these clocks and then he died.
There is one of the clocks hanging over his grave. It is hanging
from the branches of an apple tree and sways in the winds
that go up and down the river. It of course does not keep time
any more.
Pauline woke up while I was putting my shoes on.
"Hello," she said, rubbing her eyes. "You're up. I wonder
what time it is."
"It's about six."
"I have to cook breakfast this morning at ideath," she said.
"Come over here and give me a kiss and then tell me what you
would like for breakfast."


1 comment:

Lew L. Humiston said...

I wanted to share with you how much I enjoy your writing. I volunteer at the ZAPP Zine Project and happened upon your short story about the boy who couldn't sleep. It was a really entertaining read. I loved the cat, the gnome, and the main character. Do you plan to do anymore with these stories?