- Sunflowers painted on the ceiling of an ultrasound exam room
- Getting to an appointment 10 minutes early so I can sit in the car and stop rushing
- Living in a place where the trees are taller than the buildings
- Mentholated cough drops: bits of eucalyptus trees born thousands of miles away, soothing my throat and my lungs
- A tiny white pill that keeps me from breaking into tears every 15 minutes
- Miracle cures that ease cold symptoms, even if they do need to be taken again and again again
- The rain washing down the windshield of the car, softening edges and smearing lights
- The Fort Point Post Office, open 24/7/365, even at 7pm on the Sunday before Christmas
- Working in an industry where skills matter as much as connections
This morning on my daily walk, the woods were bare, barren, still in disarray after Sandy. Branches and whole trees strewn across the trails, the trails themselves obscured under a carpet of rust-colored oak and beech leaves. I’m fortunate enough to live next to not one but two different pieces of conservation land. On the opposite end of our townhouse complex, past a grove of eastern hemlock, is a circuit through a wetlands, boardwalk in spots, bare earth, rock, and mud in others. Closer to our house are the woods. Maintained by a different municipality, they’re the local stomping grounds of all the discontented youth in the area. We regularly come across the vestiges of bonfires and parties: carcasses of beer cases, crushed and empty cans, glass sparkling among the mica on the granite outcroppings. Once, an entire couch, or rather what remained after most of it was consumed by flame.
This morning, the woods were fully Novembered, bare branches and trunks rising over that russet-brown carpet, and the sky above marshallowed with clouds. The cold nipped along the edges of my fleece and I was glad I’d thought to bring gloves. Underneath though, legs swinging through the empty crunch of the bare woods, I felt myself opening, enlivening, made vital in the way that only the cold air can make one vital. Sweat ran down my stomach, cooled when I stopped to stretch against a boulder at the top of the hill, drove me on to greater exertion to bring my body temperature up again.
On the way back, I picked around the edges of a red oak, its entire crown fallen over a pathway as wide as a street. Someone had already visited the swamp’s pathway, taken a chainsaw to the trunks that had fallen. Who will come to tidy these woods, one small island of wildness in the city of Boston?
Later today, I drove from an off-site meeting to my office under skies still glowering and chill, skies that seemed to promise snow. Instead, at 11:00am, just as I pulled up to parking spot, the sun came slanting through my sun roof. I opened it, and basked for a moment in the November sun.
hug the trees awake
feel the sap rising within
outside, no jacket
march like a song, sad sigh
sun beats from the cloudless sky
dry sinus, cold hands
clouds obscure the sun
al fresco lunch in winter
dirty snow, green grass
afternoon sun slants
shows the marsh in a new light
witch hazel, hemlock
three deer in the trees
bound away with startled tails
tiny wild island
first set of tracks on the trail
corbins cry above