William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tragedy, Triumph, Hope

On the street just south of us, the owners of three houses have already put up Christmas lights. They do so every year, but this is early even for them. They usually wait until Thanksgiving. Two of the houses are homes to families with young children. The other is occupied by a woman and her young adult son. Whatever their lights mean to them — a more cheerful present, a brighter future, an earthly link to the stars — may they bring joy and help keep alive the magic in their hearts.

Up before four, I read another chapter of Plum Bun. Such excellent writing. As far along as I am, I would not hazard a guess as to the story’s outcome. Tragedy? Triumph? Hope? Certainly all three are present on each page. Of course this a basic description of all American life and history, and of humanity as well. And again I think of the Christmas lights, their rainbow of colors vibrating to the same current, along the same string.

Later, at about eight in the morning at Goose Lake, we saw about a dozen bold-white tundra swans, or trumpeter swans — we are not sure which, but lean towards the latter. The water is low enough in most places for the birds to stand in; the scum and lilies of summer are gone. Several times one or another of the swans would take flight for a short distance just above the water, revealing their great wingspan, and then settle in a new place. A few kept near the water’s edge. Once in the foreground, a great blue heron flew low across the water from right to left. In the middle of the lake were a few ducks. While watching all of this from a fair distance so as not to disturb them, we could hear geese in the distance; a flicker called from somewhere nearby. The atmosphere was very still, the sky cloudy, the temperature about fifty degrees. The maples and black walnuts along the path were aglow with color. We saw a small hawk, but no rabbits or deer. Twice we stepped around the inspiring fresh evidence of a horse, with such admiration that we might have been in the Louvre.

November 3, 2020


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