The first warm weather, and suddenly the street is full of people who have been in hiding for the last five months, blinking, stretching, squinting, strolling, looking like pale ghosts. Who are these two children peddling by, and why have I never seen them before? Where do they live? I smile. My smile isn’t returned. Instead they stare. And I suppose to them I must look like a hermit down from the mountains, or a being from another planet, which in a sense I am, except that I am also a tree that has been here all along. And so I shed a few cones, drop a few needles, and continue on. Five months of the freshest air, windswept, rain-cleansed, crisp, and astonishing in every way — feared, missed, wasted, thought of as inconvenient, or, as I occasionally overhear, as an out-and-out imposition. What meaning hath the warmth and the sun, when it is not balanced by the rain, ice, and snow? What meaning hath the lungs, when they are kept leaning next to a furnace vent like a pair of antique bellows? What meaning hath the nonexistent future, when the present is avoided and unobserved?
March 18, 2019
Be kind, little cloud —
let your mother catch you!
Songs and Letters, April 1, 2008