Week 23: Forever is Composed of Nows

A few days ago, Dagne watched a duckling hatch. All night it labored to emerge from the egg, worrying at a small hole it made near the fat end. According to Dagne, he burst out on the world as a wet, floppy mess, much like we all do. By the time I arrived home and found Dagne rocking him in an abandoned rocking chair in the garage, he had dried and fluffed up. Cute does not quite sum up this little yellow ball of feathers with dark streaks down its sides. Nor does it do any justice to a sunkissed nine-year old, barefoot and in an old-fashioned dress, rocking a duckling. Dagne dubbed him Sleeps-a-Lot because he suffers from narcolepsy. As she gathers him up in her expert, chubby little hands, he vainly struggles in fits for a few seconds and promptly gives into sleep. Perhaps it’s a defense mechanism. If you’re a little duckling without defenses in the wild world, you have just a few seconds to escape and if that is unsuccessful, perhaps the best thing is to just sleep through the final gulp.

Ingrid accidentally scared the mother from its nest. The mother probably thought it was a cozy little home, tucked under the sage in a rocky outcropping behind our house. Paul and the girls scatter plenty of food nearby to the quail. But it’s Ingrid, who is as good as a boy in being disruptive to all small, hidden things. Ingrid tussled the brush and the mother duck fled. There, lo and behold, lay a circle of eggs. Dagne quickly robbed one of them. We chided her for bothering the nest and then, when the mother didn’t return for some time, we worried we ruined the little brood. So, we decided to “rescue” two more and put them in an incubator Paul plucked from somewhere in the barn or garage – another one of those times I’m glad we hadn’t purged yet.

Ingrid, who in all her flitting and running and tearing over the property never misses anything, informed us the mother returned to sit again. She carefully avoided bothering her another time. When Bud and Anne heard about it, Bud robbed the nest again of another few eggs and stuck them under a brooding hen.  I felt for this poor mother duck who was thoroughly misguided when she picked our home.

A birth, like a wedding, causes me to descend into sentimental thoughts. Somehow, a helpless little someone or something erupting into the world becomes a brave and triumphal battle cry, a tremendous onslaught on a world which continues to assert absurdity and meaninglessness. A little duckling squirming in a child’s warm hands, a remembrance of that child when she was a squirming little thing, seems to say, “So there!” to the violence and abuses, to the famines and the sicknesses, to the chosen evils we turn to. Perhaps I am creating something where there is nothing. But I do it because I love a Father people tell me doesn’t exist, in a hope I wish they had regardless if He exists.

Today is Paul’s birthday. I bless the day he was born and nurses exclaimed over his dimples (women have been exclaiming over them ever since). Yesterday, while walking together, the beauty of the twilight was almost too much to bear. The clouds filled the sky overhead and dwarfed the mountains. An opening in the western sky framed the sunset. The pond, still as glass, reflected the family of geese we’ve been watching as they grow. They are almost the size of their parents now. You can only tell the adolescents by their positions in the line. I experienced one of those glorious moments of well-being. They are moments which have eternities in them.

I asked Paul, “Do you think we could ever speak to each other telepathically?” I was thinking about him being a Gemini and wondered if it had any effect on our ability to be so connected. Our walks are the place where I sound out many of my strange ideas. Paul is used to it. My mother would flip.

He shrugged his shoulders.

“Let’s experiment,” I said. “Let’s try and stay connected to each other wherever we are for the next 30 days. Perhaps we can take our love to another level, speaking to each other across the miles, through the busyness, without talking.”

He gave me a strange look. I think he was hoping “take our love to another level” had more than one meaning.

We’ll see.

Anyway, today I am trying to express a few beautiful moments to you because I hope it will prepare you for some of your own. We must take them as they come, gifts, like pearls to be swallowed.

Here is a poem by Emily Dickinson. My friend shared it with me last week and I promised to put it in the next post:

Forever – is composed of Nows – (690)

By Emily Dickinson

Forever – is composed of Nows –

‘Tis not a different time –

Except for Infiniteness –

And Latitude of Home –

From this – experienced Here –

Remove the Dates – to These –

Let Months dissolve in further Months –

And Years – exhale in Years –

Without Debate – or Pause –

Or Celebrated Days –

No different Our Years would be

From Anno Dominies –






Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s