This week, the bulk of my daily conversations with friends, family, neighbors have been swollen with current events. We circle around kitchen tables and stretch our own small theories, thin solutions, blistered understanding. We clash. We talk ourselves tired. After a long while, everyone agrees to one thing and one thing alone: It’s complicated, but we must never confuse legality with morality.
We all disagree on what that means.
Words I once read on a cloudless flight to New Delhi, from an interview with Mary Oliver:
I went to India and was quite taken with it. There’s a feeling there that things are holy first and useful second. And in this country, we have it backwards.
An American Marriage, by Tayari Jones
A Field Guide to Getting Lost, by Rebecca Solnit
James and the Giant Peach, by Roald Dahl
Between the Dark and Daylight, by Joan Chittister
Year of Yes, by Shonda Rhimes
The Soul of Discipline, by Kim John Payne
This morning, Scout wakes first, early. I scoop up the bundle of him, tiptoe outside to watch the last layer of the sky’s orange. We share the patio chair, a bowl of raisins. It is quiet. When I look away from the sunrise and down at his dangling feet, I see a small mound of feathers.
I know the bird is dead, I know right away, it’s clear she was stunned lifeless by a quartet of windows in the black night. Still, I throw on two gardening gloves in a flash, attempt light thumps to her chest. Over and over for minutes, two or ten, willing clenched eyes to open. When I finally give up I swaddle her in a Kroger’s sack for proper disposal. The whole thing, bird and bag, fits in my palm.
It’s heavy? Scout asks.
When Bee wakes up to the news, she performs a burial service with a rusty garden trowel, hums When I’m 64. I watch from the deck, silently worry over avian pox.
Someone’s grandfather once told me that a dead bird is a sign of new beginnings. The end is never the end, he cautions, and I didn’t believe him.
But I do now.
From yesterday’s read-aloud with Bee, a classic Lewis Carroll:
“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”