Our sparrows did not return this year. Their little brown house is empty and still. Only the wind shakes it now.
Last year at this time they were busy caring for their young. She, flying off to find food, and he, standing guard outside, darting off when she returned.
I wonder about them, the generations they hatched and raised while we looked on. And I wonder about their offspring, all grown now, and where they have settled, if they’ve found a shelter as secure as the one we provided for their parents.
Sparrows mate for life. But, it’s easy to get complacent, forget that things change, and sometimes, all we know is upended.
In high school, I opted for a class in Earth Science rather than Physics.
That year, I learned to recognize cloud and rock formations, and sat aghast as the teacher explained that earthquakes and volcanoes are constructive forces. How could that be? Surely, he had to be mistaken, considering the devastation, loss of property and life that came from such upheavals. But, no, he said. From a geological standpoint, these seismic shifts and eruptions are the earth’s way of adjusting, releasing pressure, remaking itself.
As millions fall prey and succumb to a novel pathogen, I struggle to remind myself that what seems devastating may also have the power to force long overdue adjustments and remodeling in thought and habit. I struggle hard.
The sparrows we grew to love and expect every spring will not be back. But a lilac bush, which seeded on our front lawn, is flourishing.
Everything has changed.
“The earth spins, cells divide, souls entwine…
…we grieve and grieve and somehow live again.”
(From an untitled work in progress.)
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