Change

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.)

©2020 All Rights Reserved

Common Ground

The question is not being, if or to, but rather when and what or why and where and how.

If one does this instead of that, results may shift by threads, or swelling clouds of snow. But time, as lord of all, crafts here and now at whim.

And what of this is relevant? What is fluff, and what’s concrete?

A crack, a stone, a thought, a breath, the need to move, progress?

It seems the center’s gone beyond not holding to full collapse. But those corners remaining, can they sustain our weight without it?

Years ago, I saw a man on a corner far from mine. Because there was no ground between us, we got by on shallow waves, our certainties preserved by distance until one day a spot appeared no larger than a tender seed and we set our feet upon it. And from each common yes no maybe, it grew.

Soon it will be spring and time to plant. That, I think, is being; that, I think is when and what and why and where and urgently, mindfully how.

Yes.

©2020 All Rights Reserved

Things Immaterial

I found a moth on my kitchen window,
climbing up the screen.
It was a large moth, close to an inch, I think—
I didn’t measure,
and it seemed confused
by endless mesh
beneath its legs, its feet—
fragile, if moths have them,
I didn’t check—
and morning’s heat,
the lack of exits,
how it became so impossibly trapped.

At another time,
I might have grabbed a weighty book—
Gray’s Anatomy, perhaps—
and disregarding frantic flaps,
each frenzied dodge,
would have taken aim
in memory of garments lost—
cashmere sweaters, silk shirts—
to their nestling appetites,
hatching broods.
Acrylic doesn’t suit their tastes.

But on this morning,
without a care for material salvation—
the artifice of dress, donned image—
I grabbed a glass instead,
possessed by instincts to
free, protect.

Its wings fluttered hard
against its new transparent jail—
momentary, but how could it know?—
then spread wide upon release.

On any other day, I would have crushed it,
for reasons that seemed right.

But not today…not today.

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