“How much – how little -“

We live in smoke. The wildfires rage throughout the province and a dense haze muffles the world. Changes it, makes it eerie and dangerous. Familiar landmarks are hidden (Mount Hallowell behind us, the rise of Texada Island to the west). Yesterday, after John filled the bird bath, five purple finches arranged themselves around the water, dipping, drinking, cleaning themselves. We never see finches around our house, though I know others have them regularly. Ravens have been hanging around, muttering, and the day before yesterday, one coyote was eating an old corn tortilla I tossed out for the birds just about 10 feet from the back door. Another one loped by my study window. The balance has shifted, altered.

I don’t know what to say about the world. It burns, a madman rages to the south of us, floods carry people to their deaths.

Instead, I cut out and prepared a quilt top to work on once it’s cooler. I catch up on work at my desk. And watering orchids yesterday, I saw this beautiful new frog on one leaf. It’s there still, wise face and still body. Like me, it’s waiting.


Yesterday a friend who came to lunch brought a gift of Emily Dickinson’s Envelope Poems, the brief gnomic messages she wrote on the backs of envelopes later in her life. There is stillness in these, and such power. Last night I read them, looking for hope—for the earth, for everything unsettled and troubled. And did I find it?

In    this        short        Life
that     only      lasts an hour
How    much –    how
little –   is
within  our

N.B. I can’t get the poem to retain its format. Think of it forming a triangle, like the flap of an envelope.