Every Good Morning

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The pachysandra is dying. Corn stalk leaves are turning in on themselves. The fields look like green spears of cacti. When we walk along them even in early morning, big grasshoppers take off and fly erratically. Their buzzing joins the low grade constant zzzzz of locusts in the tree line 200 yards away. We have had no substantial rain for over a month. A hot unstinting wind blows from the west.

Do heat and restlessness go together? It is 101 degrees outside our window. Wolfie is already showing himself to be a cold weather dog. He runs and runs after the Frisbee, but he cannot take the heat for long. Now he follows me from room to room as I roam the house like a fox in a cage; an animal used to covering miles per day, I pace, wondering what comes next.

Begin again. No question mark. The sentence is an affirmation, not a confused pondering. Begin again. Where? As what? I kid with my wife that I’m getting my lawn chair and straw hat ready and that I have the spot picked out on the intersection where our home sits. As soon as it cools off, I’ll place my chair and wave to passing cars. Maybe I’ll make the local news.

That is one image of my nightmare.

Stasis equals rot. Move or die. Those kinds of simplistic aphorisms rattle around inside me, but in late August, when the birds begin to migrate, and when the air gives hints of clearing, I will also want to jump out and go.

In his book The Songlines, Bruce Chatwin speculates that our evolution into Homo Sapien is inextricibly woven into our restlessness. Human beings moved to eat. We moved to avoid destruction. We moved out of a sense of wonder. We moved because we always had to satisfy our curiosity.

Meanwhile, I tear out brick walls with a chisel and sledge, keep the birds watered, teach Wolfie the names of things, read and write and think of other lands that would demand adaptation and a wrestling with new challenges – coastal Maine, French villages near the Alps, cliffs overlooking Three Fathom Harbor in Nova Scotia, all cool reservoirs of dreams in this hot land.

© Mike Wall

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