Beautiful old-fashioned valentines.
There’s a box of them here in my mother’s desk that she kept from
her grammar school days. Delicate, simple, intricate, ornate, all
with familiar names. Off to the library, now, to high school, to
marriage, to war. Home again, home again. To clothesline. To family.
To a walk through the park. And what have we here? Someone’s
initials, in the heart of the sycamore?
Twenty degrees this morning. Up since
four, reading, coffee. Now to write a few words, then out for the
first walk of the day. Just a few words, for what is there, really,
to say? Like the birds in the trees, I’m free! I’m free! I’m
free! and may, at any given moment, fall dead at your feet. But not
really dead. For such is the nature of this dream. That you trust only
movement you can see. While granite nears and beach cliffs recede. An
old photograph in the family album. Is that you? Is that me?
Habitante du ciel, passagère en ces lieux!*
Dweller of the sky, a mere traveler here! (Lamartine)
Yesterday morning I heard the towhee
again. The robins were also out and about. But what surprised me was
the dove, which, for all the world, sounded surprised itself. What
else? Years and years ago, when we still lived on the farm, a hen
flapped down from its roost and stood in the dimmest light of dawn,
not quite knowing why, or what she’d done. She was a kind of ghost,
and so was I, looking on.
Am I being vague? I don’t mean to be.
I love words. And they love me. We’re naturally hesitant,
wondering, each time we meet, who will be the first to speak. What
should we mean? We aren’t nails hammered through wood. We’re more
like butterflies, or bees with pollen on our toes. Documents?
Manifestos? We laugh. We can’t all be bibles or epitaphs. Some of
us must be free.
I have nothing to say today, except
that when I was out for my early morning walk, I heard a towhee
spinning its song. I say spinning, for those few notes seemed a kind
of musical galaxy. I couldn’t see the bird. All the better.