morning lines, surrounded by flowers



In the quiet morning, Steller’s jays finishing their breakfast on the railing, fire warm, flowers embroidered by a woman 70 years ago. I see her by a window, threading her needles, stitching poppies, clumps of violets, primroses, the long stems of daffodils, her family across the ocean, her eyesight fading, easing stems, buds, leaves into linen. Yesterday I unfolded her cloth from the drawer. This morning I am thinking of her great-granchildren, her great-great-grandchildren, whom she never met. Georgia Strait, the mountains, the long patchwork of prairies, the Great Lakes, rivers without end.



In the little enclosure of black deer mesh, a copper beech is coming into leaf. At its feet, daffodils planted in the ashes of my parents. How small we become. How we go on.



The little children called to show me their library books. On the tiny phone screen, their faces so beautiful I turned away. Let me show you the jays, I said. I’ll put peanuts on the post and you watch for them. The blue shapes gliding down within seconds. When I said goodbye, I went out to cut flowers—currant, forsythia, kerria, daffodils. This morning yesterday’s buds are opening. The jays are always within calling distance. It’s everyone else who is so far away.

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