Yes, I know that’s not the way e.e. cummings wrote the line in the first stanza of anyone lived in a pretty how town. But that’s the way it popped into my head sometime in the greenhouse hours between 3 and 5 this morning.
My pre-dawn editing, changing “he sang his didn’t he danced his did” to “she sang his didn’t he danced her did” is actually easy to puzzle out.
Check out the photo below:
The young woman is our granddaughter, Andie. The occasion was brunch at our home this past Sunday in a room we call the library bar. Lots of books and a round table for four, just right for good talk. Now, look over Andie’s shoulder to the bookshelves. On the second shelf from the top, a salmon-colored book with a black band near the top is Complete Poems: 1913-1962 by e.e.cummings. That sets the stage.
That evening, when Buck and I had closed our books, we turned out the light and talked until one of fell asleep like we always do. We had a tender conversation about how the sweetest fruit of a long, happy marriage is to grow old together and still have so much to say to one another, so much to share, so much love to express.
So, when I came wide awake with “she sang his didn’t he danced her did,” it made perfect sense. Still does. And it’s in my head now, more melody than poem.
It was a major interstate highway somewhere in Florida. For some inexplicable reason, Buck and I were driving separate cars. I think our destination was the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville. Not surprising, since we’ve been there many times and will be going again in early July. This time, though, we were approaching from a different direction, one completely unfamiliar to me, maybe from somewhere in South Florida rather than our normal route from Pensacola.
Even stranger, several days earlier, we had come the same way in one car, with Buck driving. The exit toward Jacksonville was tricky. I remember that.
This day, Buck was in front of me. Suddenly a car ahead of him spun out and left the roadway into the median. His car spun around, too, and as a result he was facing oncoming traffic, but I could see he was safely pulling off the road.
I was swept along in the fast-moving traffic trying to think fast about what I should do when I suddenly realized our exit was just ahead of me. I dove into it, drove a little ways and realized this was the wrong exit and I had no idea where I was. It was more like a theme park, similar to Disney, but I actually entered a kind of fairy tale kingdom right off the interstate with no opportunity for a U-turn.
Next thing I remember was Buck and I being together again in a dark parking lot, in only one car, and entering a back door to the hospital at Mayo via electronic sliding doors. We found ourselves in a medium-sized meeting room filled with old-fashioned metal folding chairs. The room was very dimly lit. I stood folding the armload of pale blue cotton sheets and pillow cases that I had walked in with, while Buck stood off to the side talking with a security guard. The elderly guard told Buck the President had been admitted to the hospital in grave condition.
I can’t recall any other details of this unusual dream.
Actias luna photographed April 1, 2018 near Pensacola, Florida
Easter morning. The woods are quiet except for birdsong, the sky cerulean, trees unfurling new life before my eyes. When a thought entered my mind, “Give me a sign,” I muttered out loud, “I didn’t mean to say that. There’s a lot of trouble and heartbreak in the world. Tend to those folks.”
Lou, the little chocolate Lab, and I had just returned from our morning walk to the gate when we spied this gorgeous spring generation luna moth on the driveway. I put Lou inside the fenced backyard to be sure her curiosity didn’t accidentally injure the moth and returned to take a photo with my phone.
When I have seen lunas before, they have been on a window pane on the east side of the house, near where I spotted this fellow. It bothered me that he was out in the open, on concrete, at 8 on a sunny morning. Someplace he probably shouldn’t be. Exactly where I was destined to see him.
I stepped back into the house and picked up a small piece of paper, thinking in some misguided, anthropomorphic way that maybe he was cold in the chilly breezeway and just needed a few rays of sun to perk him up. But when I slipped the paper under the moth, he flipped over onto his back and flapped around piteously. I managed to carefully flip him back over and onto my hand. We moved into the sunlight for a moment, but then I realized the moth would be totally exposed and vulnerable if I left him there, so I moved him back to a spot near where I found him but away from the concrete, and into a bed of hosta plants. I really thought he was about to die. So be it, I thought, at least here it will be a soft and lovely spot, not out in the open on a hard surface.
After a half hour or so, I returned to see if he was dead or gone. Neither, it turns out. He was in the same spot I left him, but furiously beating his wings and poised at an angle, almost as though he were trying to tunnel into the earth.
Now I wonder whether this lovely Luna is at the end or the beginning of his week-long life
? Yes, the luna emerges from his cocoon with all the food he will ever eat, having no mouthparts at all. Can you imagine? His sole purpose in this stage of his existence is to find a mate. Perfect timing here with a full, blue moon. I wish the little guy luck.
Postscript: When I returned an hour later, the luna was still, the vivid lime green fading. I’m sure lunas emerge and die without finding a mate in the short allotted time. I’ll never know whether this moth’s destiny was to mate or simply to be ready.