Here we are – with the year started, and all the mechanisms of society or progress or whatever you want to call it, starting up again, like a balky, failing engine we never should have turned off, because now it needs jumper cables and whispered prayers. Here we are, in a world where bills are coming due, but no jobs are necessarily materializing. Here we are, in a month where hospitals in our area are treating people in the gift shop, and the EMT’s are no longer bringing in emergency cases, making judgment calls about who will and will not survive. Here we are, in a state of being we know isn’t particularly sustainable, and there are orange nasturtiums standing erect and bright in the cold, and the Anna’s hummingbirds have arrived, and the activity around the feeder is wild and unconstrained. Here we are, with the unexpected, occasionally diverting us from the present which is bleak.
Life Is Not What You
expected — cows
ruminate by the highway
even in rain or bat their
ears forward and back and how
you thought the story of your life
would get told: the children you thought
you’d already have by now partially grown
books and other accomplishments — houses
owned cities seen lakes traversed — and now
we’re stuck in traffic
and it’s not even rush hour
with the hurricane storm
moving slowly north from Alabama.
How come it’s raining here already
somewhere south of Albany — just one
damned thing after another and those
injections you’ve had to give yourself and
your dad’s bypass surgery. Just look:
Evening primrose all along the roadside match
the painted line and Queen Anne’s lace
on the other side rows of young corn
joe-pye weed blurred to Scottish heather.
When you go for a walk blackberries have started
ripening you pluck two
from each bush notice tadpoles suck air
along the fountain’s rim. Such small swishings
of joy maybe
this is it — every day puts forth a new song deer flies
dive-bombing your head when the breeze
lets up —
Notice, this is what we’ve always had – a new song, a susurration of starlings, a rainbow from a prism hung in a window – steady sources of illumination and comfort in a world gone dark and cold. Notice, and keep looking.