Elisha said to Elijah, “Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit.” I never said that to Eleanor, though perhaps I should have. Or maybe I did inherit some of it, without asking for it.  Or maybe we shared a kind of spirit. We at least shared a type of sidelong way of looking. She often signed her emails to me “General Motors” for a reason that is too silly to explain.

My physical therapist has explained to me that three days without pain does not mean that tendonitis is healed. She said to think of the injured tendon as made of tissue paper instead of Carhartt fabic. Tensile strength, or some such. It has to do with how much of a load it can bear.

There have never been so many purple violets in the lawn, or white violets, or dandelions. The orchard down the road is “like nothing else by day.” All of the forty red tulips I planted in the vegetable garden survived the wet winter and the chipmunks. Why must it all happen at once, so fast that it’s hard to take in, so beautiful that it’s impossible to appreciate?

I understand that May Sarton could be very difficult. She had a terrible temper, for one thing. I didn’t much care for the one novel of hers that I tried to read, but I do like the poetry that I’ve come across, and I believe her journals are superb. I’m finally reading At Seventy. I understand her irritability, her need for solitude, her struggle with interruption.

The Great Crested Flycatcher has returned to the garden, as he always does in the middle of May.  He is a “charismatic” bird, with his crest and improbable rufous tail and the raucous announcement he makes when he arrives. Now and then I glimpse him on the back garden fence. The first one I saw, years ago, was in a nest in the iron crosspiece holding up an ancient clothesline in my friend Bea’s yard. I’d like a double portion of Bea’s spirit, too, but that would be greedy.

Things I have in the pockets of my jeans:  a small heart-shaped piece of sandstone from my desert-dwelling cousin Maggie, a Swiss army knife with a blade and scissors and a corkscrew and a screwdriver and a toothpick, a white handkerchief with a blue rose embroidered in the corner, a dozen or so tiny bacon-flavored dog treats, a Christmas lima bean from my friend Kathy, and a moss agate bead from a necklace Eleanor sent to me when she was clearing out her things. 

Today it's snowing, and the north wind is blowing cold. I don't have to like it, or be grateful for it, or smile at it. All I have to do is notice that it's snowing, and that the north wind is blowing cold. And I can be grateful for warm clothes, and a warm house, and the songs of the brave birds.

3 comments on “FA-LA, IT’S MAY: A ZUIHITSU

  1. Mary McGuire says:

    rats… I can’t see what you’ve written or created about May!

  2. Mary McGuire says:

    Ahh… I got to it. I am so glad to have read this today. I was in the snow, too – little flurries. They felt like blossoms. I had little dog treats in my pocket, too.

    • I’m glad both that you could read it, and that you, too, have dog treats. We were at a party last weekend at which there were four dogs (not ours) and I’d forgotten I had treats in my pocket. I was very popular with the dogs!


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