Tired of dodging the persistent longhorn beetle, I finally let it land so it could verify that I was not a tree. Recovering from a week of crippling lower back pain, I was celebrating my personal Independence Day a day late, but the forest still had claims on me. I remembered the Sunday before, how my back had gone out just as I was sitting down, and the flies had landed on me just the same. We are little more than large and awkward guests in a world of insects, I sometimes think. If only we all had exoskeletons instead of these troublesome, tree-like spines!
This is how the recovery happened: I had laid down Saturday afternoon and unexpectedly fell into a deep sleep, though I had gotten plenty of sleep the night before. I dreamed I was inching across one of the high barn beams despite my bad back, a burning cigarette dangling from my lips. My father came into the barn, spotted me in the rafters, and said, “So that’s what you meant by a spiritual retreat!” When I woke up, the pain was already beginning to recede.
Fourth of July:
fireflies flash, fireworks boom,
the moon turns to fuzz.