Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Rufous-Sided Towhee

Rufous-sided Towhee / Oil on black canvas / 5x7 unframed / $68


IT IS A HOT DAY, and humid. It feels like summer, and not like the start of summer - not like the start of anything. In many places in the yard, the grass crunches underfoot. The flowers are wilty. I am wilty. 

A few days ago, Norma Hickman, who was the oldest person in Wachpreague, died. I didn't know her, but my friend Liesl was her dear friend, and spoke of her daily. Norma had led a fascinating life, and was an expert on all things Eastern Shore, including Wachapreague, and the families of the Shore. As I got to know Liesl, I wanted to know Norma, but by that time, she was fading too quickly for new people. 

The night Norma died, a bright but far-off thunderstorm bloomed across the sky. I woke to see the lightning flashes, and Liesl, who was awake through it all, says she saw remarkable blue lights. 

These are called blue jets, and are a very rare event, according to the experts at the Weather Channel. (You can see photos and a video here). 

The night my mother died, there was a remarkable thunder and lightning storm - the lightning exploded all over the sky, again and again, in a night with heat much like today. And it went on and on and on, with distant thunder, and for an hour or more, no rain. Just the sky, lighting up, welcoming Mom. As the sky lighted up Sunday, welcoming Norma. 

For Today

Sonnet 29

Pity me not because the light of day
At close of day no longer walks the sky;
Pity me not for beauties passed away
From field and thicket as the year goes by;
Pity me not the waning of the moon,
Nor that the ebbing tide goes out to sea,
Nor that a man's desire is hushed so soon,
And you no longer look with love on me. 
This have I known always: Love is no more
Than the wide blossom which the wind assails,
Than the great tide that treads the shifting shore,
Strewing fresh wreckage gathered in the gales:
Pity me that the heart is slow to learn
What the swift mind beholds at every turn. 

- Edna St. Vincent Millay

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