A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
It is chilly, even with the sun at high noon. I hobble along to keep warm, through the flattened grasses and the skeletons of Milkweed. I will try to remember the summer meadows. The dogs snooze in the newness of a wan sun, unaware that they are now labelled as vectors.
It is hard for us, with our history of invincibility to imagine power in nothingness. How daunting that an invisible virus can so completely immobilize with disbelief and fear. Perhaps that is why the smallest of joys can be soothing. I have lived long enough at 88 to know isolation, to accept it and find its pockets of beauty through my window. Fatalism becomes a form of serenity.
Aside from the birds at my window, all of my visitors are now in voices. Voices become life; caring is floated on a whisper, a phone ringing.
A chickadee has a very business-like flight, with only a few swoops…straight from the feeder with one sunflower seed in its bill, landing on a bare branch to bang away at the husk. I wonder at the amount of energy that is used up in preparing the meal. But I guess the rich oil is worth it.
A Jay sings his strident, one-note call, shifting from Pine to Balsam, doesn’t seem to come to the openness of the Red Maple. I have cut off a few twigs of it to prop up in warm water to try and speed up its metamorphosis. I should know it won’t work quite yet; nature has its own schedule. I need to find Pussy Willows down by the pond.
I scratch my arm, reaching underneath my ragged ‘hiking’ sweater. A tiny scab rips off. I expect the usual oozing that an anti-coagulant produces. But No, it stays pink and dry…a testimony to the body’s ability to heal itself. We need that now.
My son-in-law wanders in his garden following the paths of snow-melt. The tulips are up early: small spikes of folded leaves, the color of dried blood.
I hear a chittering of birds as a flock of Finches flit overhead. People have said they have seen Robins, but none here. The grandfather of Corvids flies overhead, his song starting with a gurgle and ending in a burp…completely unmelodious. One guard Crow settles in the tallest Black Cherry; the three others fly low to see if they can roust a chickadee from my feeder.
I move my rickety lawn chair to a sheltered spot. The lawn is littered with the detritus of two dogs not willing, in freezing weather, to venture farther than the back door. It is dangerous to watch the sun and your feet at the same time.
The sun finds a small cloud to hide behind and the wind turns chilly. It is winter again.
Snow. The eaves drip, the Balsam turn into Christmas again. I can see the small hill behind our old house; we dragged stones down to outline our garden. The kids ran barefoot all summer and washed their lithe bodies in the summer rains.
Copyright 2020 Suzanne Kusserow