In my next life I want to come back as a Great Blue Heron.
I will majestically stand by a lake, capturing fish, capturing the eye of all who wander by, pausing in awe and desire.
And I will have the one thing I know I now lack, that trait that has escaped me for far too many years, patience, the ability to stand and stare until the moment is right, then to act. I am not in a hurry for this reincarnation, so perhaps I have more patience than I realize.
Grace settles into the chair, less an act of sitting than of floating down onto the seat. She has borrowed my grandmother’s smile, kind, gentle, inviting. She pulls a book from her bag, its pages or most of them dog eared, and I glimpse some annotations in the margins. We sit around her like children awaiting presents on a holiday, as acolytes seeking knowledge from a font of poetic and prosaic wisdom, or so we think. She reads in a voice that is at once soft and loud enough to reach the back of the room, opening the book to a random page and diving in, then after what seems like a minute and an hour, she stops and asks for questions. We sit dumbstruck for a moment then fire at her like machine gunners on the range. She answers each, claims she is a simple grandmother who writes but we know better, know we are in the presence of a true master.
The moon was kind enough to linger this morning, knowing that I wanted a photograph, and that I needed sufficient ambient light to allow me to fully capture her visage. Sometimes she rises early and shows her face before the sun retreats. I suppose it may just be vanity on the moon’s part, showing off for her brighter sibling, certain I will never pause to photograph Sol. Tomorrow it will be cloudy most likely, and on that day the sun will get the last laugh.
There is a strange beauty in the slow loss of sight, for there is a progressive transition, a discovery of much that went unheard, unfelt, missing in the glare of the need to see, to categorize and organize, memories neatly arranged in an array of curated visual files.
But without sight what once was cast aside as noise is an intricate tapestry of sound and undistracted, you begin to see the individual threads to see deeply into the art and craft of the unknown weaver.
Without sight, you so often store images in two dimensions but now requiring touch, everything is three dimensional of necessity and the world is infinitely more complex and yes beautiful than you recalled.
And the darkness of night, which marked a border that dared not be fully crossed grows meaningless and hours once lost may again now demand to be lived.
They circle slowly each in its own tier of a near cloudless sky, their wings still as if frozen, riding the breeze, dipping and rising, going nowhere, needing nowhere, riding, riding, looking down at the wetland, and circling, until with a shift in the breeze the vulture vortex shifts east, and you watch them shrink, thankful that they are simply out for a flight, and not finding a meal in the reeds and trees where all the other birds live.
I’ve made a practice which feels more like a demand, that each day I take a few moments or more and stop whatever else I was, or should have been, doing to write a poem.
There are days, perhaps this one where it seems more a short bit of prose to which I have added line breaks despite the protest of the words, condemning them to bear the mockery, and others when I take a poem, ignore its inherent rhythm and pass it off as prose, that insult remembered, the words plotting revenge but lying low, waiting for the perfect moment to destroy a poem I know is worthy of publication.