Ars brevis

Some mornings arrive like an eighteenth century cabinet of curiosities dropped from the sky. Here are skins, skeletons, gemstones, artifacts of unknown use. The world is my juju. Other mornings shine mysteriously: an ancient bronze goblet brimful with ceremonial wine. The former lend themselves more easily to poems; the latter command a kind of silence from which it seems more difficult to break free.

This morning is one of those latter kind. After days and days of humidity, a cold front has brought a May-time clarity to the infinitely regressive and effulgent surfaces of July – which is a very pompous way of saying, My God, it’s fine out! I want to go look closely at things, to find a spot where I can sit and wait for things to happen, far from the infernal humming of this old computer. I would like for once to spot a fox in a tree or an ovenbird in an oven. Have the sharp-shinned hawks fledged yet? Has anyone picked the black raspberries inside the deer exclosure? Is the pennyroyal ready to be gathered for tea? These are the kind of questions that matter. All this other stuff I’ve been writing about here in the unreal precincts of Via Negativa – well, if it helps my office-bound friends escape the monotony of their own mornings for a little while, I guess my time has been well spent. But still . . .

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