Opinion | I Don’t Want to Spend the Rest of My Days Grieving


Final week, 4 tiny bald bluebirds hatched within the nest field I had set out for them. These will not be the identical birds that nested there earlier this summer season, and I frightened after I noticed a brand new pair transferring in. These dad and mom are younger, and expertise issues when there’s a territorial home wren darting by the comb piles. However the bluebird eggs survived each the wren with egg homicide on his thoughts and this 12 months’s stifling warmth. The gaping nestlings lifted their heads in live performance after I opened the field to verify on them.

A brand new-fledged red-tail hawk has taken shelter in my neighbor’s hemlock tree. It calls out, forlorn, because the mockingbirds and crows harass it endlessly, diving into the hemlock repeatedly, till the child hawk lifts clumsily into the sky to circle a bit earlier than settling within the tree once more. Each time its regal mom seems, the crows and the mockingbirds are those taking wing.

What are the antonyms for “velocity”? What’s the reverse of “hurry”? There’s “ambling,” maybe, or “apathy.” There may be “quiet.” “Ready.” “Calmness.” It’s not true that the dwelling is straightforward — for no creature on earth is the dwelling simple, not even in summertime — however as of late, it slows. The songbirds relaxation within the scorching timber, their wings held out to let the nonetheless air cool them. The resident rat snake curls slowly by the shady floor cowl, too scorching to bask within the solar. The black crow, panting, retains to the shade.

After which it comes me. Right here is the phrase I would like: “relaxation.” I consider Mary Oliver’s pretty poem “The Summer season Day”:

I don’t know precisely what a prayer is.
I do understand how to concentrate, the way to fall down
into the grass, the way to kneel down within the grass,
the way to be idle and blessed.

“Doesn’t every thing die eventually, and too quickly?” she asks. Sure, I say. Too, too quickly.

The air is so thick, I can hardly breathe, however I can really feel the breath of the earth on my ankles. Warmth rises from the sun-warmed soil. Dampness pours out of the dew-drenched tangle of white clover and wooden sorrel and mock strawberries that cross on this yard for a garden. The earth is respiration. I can breathe, too, as a result of it’s nonetheless respiration.

Margaret Renkl, a contributing Opinion author, is the writer of the books “Late Migrations: A Pure Historical past of Love and Loss” and the forthcoming “Graceland, at Final: Notes on Hope and Heartache From the American South.”


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