Each addition to this collection of poems, notes, and drawings has been made with the understanding that it could have been the last. This entry is no different. As far as I can tell, I am here now. I seem to be healthy. I ate a small breakfast and took a walk again this morning, filling my lungs with the fresh chilly air. I took a shower. I see now by the light in his office that our neighbor across the street, a young accountant, is working from home this morning — this at the peak of his work load and at the height of tax season. He works for a large firm. It’s possible they’ve told everyone to stay home.
The buds on our fig tree are pushing, but other than the heavy coat of moss it wears, the tree is still bare. We have two bird feeders, which are visited daily by warblers and jays, juncos and chickadees, nuthatches and wrens; these are joined by the occasional flicker and woodpecker, swarms of bushtits, and small mobs of starlings, whose careless, messy behavior scatters seeds for other tiny birds that are only too happy to eat from the ground. Yesterday, though, we saw something unusual — a pair of large doves. For a long time, they watched us nervously through the kitchen window. But little by little, they realized there was nothing to fear. They cleaned themselves for half an hour or so, then stretched and fanned their wings. Then they faced each other and cleaned around each other’s head and neck, in a way that seemed efficient, practical, and intimate. Finally, after about an hour and a half, they settled down together on a heavy branch warmed by the sun. They were in the tree for almost three hours. Not once did they visit the feeders. Then they flew off.
I date many of these entries, but not all of them. Dated or not, they are published in the order they are written. At the moment, and for quite some time now, they are being published about three weeks after they were written. I am writing this entry on Monday, March 16. But there are already twenty others ahead of it. I could easily publish them all today and bring myself up to date. The reason I don’t is because I don’t want to abuse your kindness. You have other things to read, or write, and certainly other concerns and places to be. And anyway, there is nothing urgent in what I write. Even if the world ends, you won’t need me to tell you about it. The end of the world will be your own private affair. That is the nature of things. And so if my world ends today, and yours continues for at least three more weeks, you won’t find out about it until tomorrow, when nothing new is published here. Tomorrow. I laugh.
March 16, 2020
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