It’s This

It’s this. Sudden wind blowing through the Japanese Snowbell tree before it blooms. Greenery bouncing cheerily on the invisible current as I watch from my window wondering how a tree can be so gracious even amidst such changes in the weather.

It is splinters in the tender pillow inside of my left knuckle from pulling weeds out of the bark mulch in the front yard. It’s the drooping sadness that hangs in the silence; The peach pit in my stomach.

It’s this. The scent of wildflower honey and oats wafting up from the kitchen. It’s peering through my memories to recall a moment of joy and letting it fill my cells with life.

It’s knowing the tree will bloom and the wind will pause and the rain will fall and time will go on…

A January from Long Ago

When the sun casts soft, glowing dimples across the caramel wooden fence on a January day, I can taste the promise of Spring. There’s something in the way the air intermittently sways the neighbor’s wind chimes into a drowsy hum of song that says stay here, listen.

The birds flit from the Cedar to the Doug, following their own circuitous path through the afternoon. They chatter and jabber to one another; sit close, fly apart to opposite trees for a quick rest, then take flight again in an arcing swoop only to land again on swaying branches of the same tree. A soft breeze rustles the air with electric hopes of love. A buzz on the tongue of desire and the promise of full blooms.

What is time but a circle through the same places inside oneself, each visit noticing something both familiar and new? 



An Encounter with the King of St. Thomas

Standing water winds along the edge of the road like a shadow. It’s gray and fetid, but the plants don’t seem to mind. Roots of wayward shrubs show their stubby ankles above the glassy film. Insects cause a momentary vibration as they land for a drink.

Up ahead, a bare tree reaches a gnarled hand toward the sky – a plea for rain, perhaps. Or a gesture of reverence for the momentary train of clouds passing by.

A sudden cackling stops me in my tracks. I try to locate the sound.

There, up the green-spotted hillside, his black tail feathers stand erect and sprawled out like a palm frond. He bobs his head, flashing a red crown, and paws the hot dirt menacingly. You are the true king, I say out loud. All hail the rooster of St. Thomas. I feign a bow.

He crows again as I mosey down the road grinning. “Good afternoon,” I say, as is customary, to passersby. They respond in kind except good comes out sounding like guhd. It strikes me as a much prettier word pronounced that way.

The air is thick with salt and steam, as the midday sun bakes everything in her path, including my shoulders. I can’t wait to cool off.

-vignette from a walk to Coki Beach, east-end St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands