Saturday, May 9, 2020

Day 44 by Guest Blogger Ellen Pratt

Goose Pond Swimming - Free photo on Pixabay
Day 44 of Vermont’s stay-at-home order and my life has taken on a dreamy quality, a feeling of being suspended in time and space. The minutes blend together into hours, the hours into days. I no longer need to check the time and I rarely look at my calendar as there are so few obligations now.  My life has shrunk to a five square mile Eden that I can reach on foot from my front door.   

I’m reveling in this new life. There’s a pervasive calm and a feeling of boundarylessness between me and my small world.  There’s no bracing against the sharp, early spring air, no automatically reaching for a coat when I leave the house for my daily walk. I stuff my scarf into my pocket, preferring to feel the wind against my face and neck. 

When I walk in the woods I am the stillness and the world is entering me. The tall oak and locust trees I once saw as foreboding now stand as serene sentinels granting me entry into their mystical palace.  I hike the hemlock ledge trail, climbing through the brown, dry, deciduous forest to the highest elevation in the neighborhood, a verdant world where moss-carpeted trails blend into moss-covered boulders sprouting miniature, feathery ferns. The lacy, emerald hemlock branches screen the cerulean sky, and a small, orange moth floats on a sunbeam and dances before me.

I’m captivated by the diversity of birdsong washing over me as I spend hours in the backyard lounge chair.  I’m as thrilled by this as by Yoyo Ma’s cello I listen to while making dinner.  If life doesn’t return to its pre-pandemic state I’ll never again want for anything as long as I have the birds and the music. 

I watch the fat female robin nesting in the eve of the woodshed. The chicks must be newborn for she hasn’t moved in a few days and her partner is busily delivering her meals and feeding her. I’ve spied on him through my field-glasses, hopping through the grass and cocking his head, aiming his one eye down and then stabbing his fierce beak to nab the prey. The worm looks impossibly fat through the binoculars and I almost think it’s a snake. The robin swallows it in one gulp.  Later I see him dangling a short, skinny worm in his beak to bring to his mate during her vigil. 

I notice the budding, origami leaves of the lilac unfolding each day. And the modest trillium in the woods, all dressed up and no place to go. My husband brings into the house a few flowering peach tree  branches that he pruned from the tree out back. He carefully trims the stems and gives them center stage on the cold wood stove in the front room.

At night I walk down the dark road, open to the mystery that has been revealing itself to me lately as I’ve opened to it.  I hear a soft flapping above me and look up to see a lone Canada Goose flying low,  just above the stand of pine trees at the edge of the road.  The moon is full and encircled by a hazy halo.  Down by the pond, where the goose has landed, the wood frogs are croaking their riotous anthem to the brilliant stars overhead. 

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