Seaboard coastlines attracted me in the maps. Pushing toward water instead of land, it was strange to imagine these not being anymore land. Where did it go? Shuffle, shuffle. A contest was held to find out where it went to. I lost. I said it probably went to hello. But before that, I began with saying it probably spun around on its way on its axis, around and around, spinning so hard, cotton reached the trees and the branches and leaves turned to white. And it stayed that way. In the fall each tree had to decide what colors to turn since it was white -- which isn't really a color to begin with -- so each tree knew it had endless possibilities for color coordination, whatever seemed right, next to the rest of the earth's color schemes, they decided what would be best. But each one had certain ideas and different tastes, so they each did what they thought was best. Some leaves become blue, others more of a chartreuse, through the means of dyes. It was prettier than a regular autumn leaf drop. The leaves were fairly color steadfast. Sometimes when leaves are dunked in vats of dyes, they burn away, the dyes being too strong for such a thin cotton.

 

        Their next problem was how to grow back the leaves the trees have dropped. The spinning took care of the problem quickly by spinning a new set of leaves onto the branches, this time the cotton was more flimsy. Somewhat like tissue paper. A big spray of colors transformed them from white, unbleached, to a spring green. Luscious and attractive. Photographers took pictures of the springtime. It seemed so much prettier with cotton leaves instead of real ones. They sat back and drank coffee while the pictures were being taken.

 

        Summer arrived, hot as usual. A few of the colors dripped in the heat and some merely faded a bit. The trees were used as a shade for the visiting foreigners (except the ones that dripped -- those were marked with a sign). Leather strap thongs and swim suited fares logged the area wanting to see the cotton-adorned trees. The tourist season was a hit, the coastline became rich. When fall was eminent, they decided to make an attempt to speed up the spinning, logically hoping to make the cotton stronger, heavier, so the processing cycle could be even more successful during the next season. So the leaves could be dyed later without burning and so the colors would stay longer. 

RIVER BED   89

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