It wasn’t as if Java was trying, which was what was getting to me – and all I wanted him to do was to leave me alone for a bit. Instead, he kept up this incessant jabber about ‘tolerance’ and how it seemed to be at the crux of how the cause and effect flow kept going throughout the universe. It was pretty early in the morning up in the hills and the overnight rain had left the leaves sparkling in that special morning light. I was ready to walk the dogs – the usual ritual – and was in no mood to exercise the grey matter with analysis, semantics and whatever else was required to ponder on his postulations. Maestro on WorldSpace had an unknown classical guitar quartet doing some atonal Spanish sounding avant garde stuff that didn’t do much for me, so I switched to RIFF, the jazz station, and the change was instantaneous – cool piano, with a heavy bass backing was what I first heard and then the sax and drums slid in. I couldn’t catch the tune or identify the players for a bit, and then the sound and style got a bit more familiar. It must have done something to Java as well, as he kept silent, probably trying to identify the music and the players himself – before I did. And then it struck me – before it did Java – Pat Metheney, confirmed soon after by the DJ. Then, as Frank Sinatra eased into the next track, I made my move with the dogs in tow. Java stayed behind with the music and his early morning starter, but it took a few minutes for his words, that kept playing back in my head, to abate.

The walk was activated almost immediately by Sally, who unlike Buster, Rocky and Bruiser, is not yet trained properly to not attack Jungle Fowl (Gallus lafayetti), spooked a male and four females at the eastern edge of the garden. My yelling had no effect whatsoever, but fortunately there was no harm done and the Jungle Fowl family scattered to safety. Sally had to be reprimanded and tied for a bit in the hope that she would sus out the cause and effect number and it would prevent her from, or at least that she would have second thoughts about, repeating the misdemeanor.

Brekkers done, I get into a bit of landscaping of a neglected part of the lower garden. Sally’s whining and occasional howl to be released is getting through the meditative mindset and I try to shut it off by concentrating on other nature-sounds and it works for a bit, but after a while it gets right in there and dominates until it gets nearly intolerable. So I wash the earth off my hands, flick a couple of leeches (Haemadipsa zeylenica)  off my feet and get back to Sally, give her a bit of my mind, watch her squirm apologetically, and then release her. She goes ape-shit with relief and jumps up at me to show her gratitude, leaving a trail of blood from the leech bite on her paw on my shirt. Shit!

Heeyy maan, I be checkin yo ass out from da study window and see yo leave yo shit out dere to release Sally. How com?

I hadn’t seen Java since I took the dogs out. He didn’t turn up for brekkers, so I figured he was chilling somewhere in the house – probably spaced on some music. Anyway I told him how I couldn’t handle Sally’s yelping, so had to leave the ‘scaping for later and get rid of the ruckus.

Yeah maan, I be figurin dat out. Yo couldn’t handle dat sheet, huh? Yo mean yo tolerance level went bust? Breakin point reached?

I could see where this was leading – all the way back to earlier this morning and his spiel about ‘tolerance’

Maan, like I be tryin to tell yo ass, ’tolerance’ be a heavy number, hear? Jus yo tink bout it – from behavior of da individual, to society, to physics, to engineerin to religion, to…yo name it maan. All dat stress an tension sheet – all to do wit ‘tolerance’ – can yo dig it? Cause an effect – ackshuns an reackshuns – pressure builds – tolerance levels can’t take dat strain an den all hell can break loose – like in dem wars an sheet. Can yo see where I be comin from maan?

I’m trying to figure some way out of this conversation – in no mood for one of those metaphysical trips of Java’s – I’d rather get back to the gardening and sorting out drainage and erosion hassles that may be caused by altering the existing landscape. So I pretend not to hear him, take my shirt off and tell him I have to scrub Sally’s leech stains before they dry and head off to the sink.

Come to think of it, I did tolerate Sally’s yelping for quite a bit before it got really intolerable and then had to do something about it. Hmm, worth a thought or two – and that should please Java. But first, back to the garden.