Three days of hurricane-remnant weather —
a tropical depression — have brought varying
& unpredictable amounts of rain. Today
we’re in a cloud, which acts as
an acoustic blanket, letting me fantasize
that I’m living in some mountain fastness
a thousand miles from the nearest factory
or highway instead of just two.
The night before last, hard rains
loosened the bark on the lower limbs
of the dead elm in my yard, and I woke
to find the tree half-stripped. A pair
of nuthatches — bark-gleaning birds —
flew in & discovered the change
while I watched, spiralling rapidly
down the bare columns of wood
on their big clown feet, poking,
calling. The fog reminds me of early June,
and makes me miss the wood thrushes
& their melancholy flutes.
It occurred to me that memory
provides its own layer of vibrato,
whether or not the original tone
still sounds. But sadness wasn’t
the whole of it: the low pressure
provokes a mild elation in me,
as what was once a boiling fury
passes over these tired, old mountains
without opening its eye.
With our internet connection
rapidly degrading here, I may soon get
my wish for isolation. Which
was never of course my wish.
So I wonder if I really could live
without the highway & the railroad,
the quarry & the factories,
the human presence implicit
in all that noise?