Of All the Creatures These Are the Creatures That Talk the Most
Some say that we are shaped like the pond upside-down: This is why we left the pond a long time ago. Some others say that we resemble the sky: That’s why we live so long. Either way, it’s not much important to us: Brand us your God or forgo us your teasing. One grub is as keen as the next.
We wait to see who will have a white flower, whose will be yellow, and who will have no flower at all. It was once a contest among young Mays which flower or no flower they would turn out to be, but the habit has been abandoned. It’s a custom we left behind just as our fruits discard their poison as they mature. Poison or no, flower of one kind or none, it’s all gone down in the long years of summer, passed in a thousand years.
At night beneath the log—and all time is night beneath the log—we sing to the eggs. Yes, to our eggs—the capsule of our future children—but equally to the eggs of spiders and newts. We sing songs of all eggs awakening. It’s quiet in the midnight world, and we sing songs of eggs awakening.
A story we tell is of the three days that our woods were visited by the men in red. They were tired and hungry, many bled from their hands or heads. In those days men had no machines, none except the carts drawn by animals in chains. The red the men were dressed in was as bright as feathers, and though there was mostly fright in their eyes and pain in their calls we found them to be beautiful—as one might in flight across the pond, looking to the referent surface below.
In the river we float. Ice river, autumn river, green river. We make our dams and caution our children, argue with the woodchuck, but mostly we float. What a thing to float.
This is not my home, down by the weedy ravine, and it is my home. This is not my home, in the midst of the daisies, and it is my home. This is not my home, where the bears used to go, and still it is my home. I am a dog—I meet you there.
We don’t mind if the bugs eat our bark, and we don’t mind if the deer browse our leaves. We don’t mind if rot comes too soon, and we don’t care if we lose a limb. But it isn’t true that we don’t mind a thing. We mind when the spring is too long, and we care when the raccoon come along. We don’t mind when the winds are too rough, but we mind when the soil hints of salt. No: Don’t believe we are the grandmothers of virtue. Don’t believe we are uncles of care.
We are always holding hands. We take up the grip of grief or violence. We hold hands with one another. We’ve forgotten how to hold the hands of eagles or fish. We make and remake the world. We’re tired. We do like to play with our hands.