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.”
I have started every day this week in tears. Because of you, though, today there are some thoughtful tears mixed in with the sad ones. Thank you for always finding such a beautiful way to put hearts into words.
Oh, love to you, Beth.
Everything I read of Mary Oliver’s rings true to me, and your thoughts are comforting and make me feel less alone, thanks for sharing.
Amen to Mary Oliver! So love her work.
You really do have a way of making it easier to breathe. To feel not so alone with thoughts that can feel crazy when there is no one to bounce them off of. Thanks for making space.
Oh I so appreciate that encouragement, Julie.
Erin! As always, such a beautiful summation of things that are so complicated in thoughts and life. It is so true in India, things are holy first and useful second. We believe in making things auspicious before we use them. But sometimes in an overreach, we shun practicality out. Balance is the key. Love your words and their genuineness. Sending all the grace your way!—— Deepti
Always love hearing your perspective, Deepti – thank you for sharing!
Comments are closed.