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Covid seems to have a mind of its own—a stripping that flattens initiative, that dissects energy into unseemly burps, that short-shifts plans into uselessness, and impales spirits upon re-runs. Nothing seems to work the way it used to. Patience thins like threadbare overcoats on city pigeons perched upon window ledges.

A bleary scenario, to be sure, but not unlike November’s stripping, also in process.

No longer do winds tickle leaves from branches; they rip them asunder, strewing bits onto gables, creek beds, and wooded paths. Swirls of yellowish-browns skitter along sidewalks, bed down in gutters, spike in woody hedges, mass atop listless perennials. A solitary flame-tree cackles at this despoliation, until its own during the next windstorm.

Juvenile squirrels frisk around tree trunks, then gawk, stunned. Canadian geese meddle about like staid sergeants on a murder case. Swarms of blackbirds swoop and caw, echoing distress. Our world sighs in muted grays and browns as death stalks in between the next breath.

There is something to learn here if we are willing. It’s about acceptance of what is, including the cyclical nature of change. True, Covid has bruised every institution, modified communication, left a swath of the ill and dying upon our planet, and altered esteemed values—substantial losses, admittedly. But whoever said that we were more than human? That suffering wasn’t wrapped within everyone’s birthright?

Wounded as we are, hushness envelops us with the grace of waiting for what we know not: There will be some form of greening, if we are still and watchful.

As the rigors of winter fade, a single gold crocus pushes through the mulch of my barren flowerbed and preens in the sun like a rollicking clown—the tenth year of such flowerings that reveals the Creator’s kiss.

Glad are our hearts this morning.

 

A garden listens, tensed by pulsating rhythms of the underworld, by winter’s bitterness succumbing to spring.

Moist soil engages spidery roots of tulip bulbs.

Fresh shoots, forced from wintry graves, resemble punks’ greased hair.

March winds dampen tentative greens like children forgetting their lines.

Weeks pass.

Spiked blades pattern the garden like players on chessboards.

Hard nubs stretch like infants flailing rubbery limbs.

April suns toast the nubs, urging them to spring from earth’s closet.

Flickers of color expand and soften the petals.

Red-yellow tulips have returned!

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