Birds and Snakes and Aeroplanes, Part 6

This could be a hell of a bad two weeks. This is going to be a very bad two, and maybe three weeks. This is going to be three weeks like we’ve never seen before,” Trump said at a White House press conference Tuesday. White House officials are projecting between 100,000 and 240,000 deaths in the U.S. with coronavirus fatalities peaking over the next two weeks. “When you look at night, the kind of death that has been caused by this invisible enemy, it’s incredible.”

Darkness darkness, be my blanket
Cover my with the endless night
Take away away the pain of knowing
Fill the emptiness of right now
Emptiness of right now
Emptiness of right now

Birds and Snakes and Aeroplanes, Part 5

You’re a hurricane.

I’m a caravan.

Not Bedouin, like we thought. Definitely not the Van Morrison variety. But certainly nomadic. Maybe by choice, maybe not. Not sure it matters.

These days we all wander through assorted social distancing deserts on the thirsty backs of our phones. In search of an eye or an ear. Social media touches. Dots. Likes. Tags. And so forth and so on.

I left social media when this barmy dotard was somehow elected to what was previously the most powerful office in the world. Over time I got drug back into it. Now it is it. All there is.

It occurs to me that I’m not any more fit for this new is than the last one.

I did re-friend my pal Amos on Facebook, which helps a little. If he can operate in this new world, I should be able to do so. I really like that guy. I think he knows it. We are fellow first-world refugees.

I took the trash to the dump today, during my virtual lunch hour-and-a-half. There are a hundred thousand gnats buzzing around my ears and eyes. Only some of them are real.

On the way back, I stopped by HEB. Those folks are bringing it during these weird, dark times. No chicken livers to fry. But plenty of shrimp and iced tea. And bread.

You’re a lion’s tooth, I’m a piece of bread….

Had a few phone calls. One was dark, and one was bright and warm. Light, all of it. Or the absence thereof.

There are moths all over the house. We get along mostly.

Lights attract all manner of things. There’s muted colors of green and red. More immediate blue. Some stuffy white. Some that dim for a second when the air conditioning comes on. Power darkens. Or something like that.

There aren’t many black lights anymore, like in that long ago barn loft we turned into a smoky, musical, safe haven.

Do you know why you see more white sheep than black ones? Because there are more of them.

I laughed at that back in the day.

Diary of a COVID-19 Patient

We missed each other’s company, though, so I threw caution to the wind, washed my hands, and invited Will to wash his hands and lie on the bed with me, as far from my body as possible, to listen to a recording of the 1977 Cornell Grateful Dead show while watching the sunset from our bedroom window. I kept it together until Jerry, in “Morning Dew,” sang, “Where have all the people gone, my honey? Where have all the people gone today?”

Diary of a COVID-19 Patient, The Atlantic

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Birds and Snakes and Aeroplanes, Part 2

Birds and Snakes and Aeroplanes, Part 1


My closest neighbors on both sides are cows. A cattle farm and rented pasture. Full of families, and the remnants thereof, lost in a foggy routine of days. Sleep, eat, move from one grassy spot to the next. Waves of time, each part indistinguishable from the last or the next. Numbness not comfortable, but familiar. Routine like camouflage, betrayed only by the intermittent arrival of a horror that is at once familiar and untold. The smell of diesel. A long rattling trailer and some slobbering dog from hell or Australia.  Barking, growling, tugging at its rope.

Then absence. Yours or theirs. What was is not. What could have been becomes something else. Or nothing.

What mostly becomes is time. The true blue healer. The one who growls then quiets, and promises to forget.

But when? Days to pass one by one, while what you’ve been set apart from lies waiting in every thought. But it’s not yet a killing blow. Moments turn into hours and days that seem almost normal. This is how it is now. Maybe it’s always been this way. Until some implement or another announces the next upheaval,

Again, and again.

There are woods behind. Not enough pasture for livestock. Left to the birds and snakes. Deer, raccoons, and the occasional bobcat. I walk back there sometimes. Sometimes I wear boots. I don’t want to handle it.

Once I found a cleared spot within those woods. By the river that waters the grass that feeds the cattle that, for a while, are my neighbors. Someone put a tarp there, beside a pile of rocks and an old bag of sand. There was a chair for a while. An old woven lawn chair, like we used to sit in beside some other river. Long ago. Someone took it, or it blew away.

I think about that clearing sometimes. Usually in the late afternoon. When I hear a cow calling out in the distance.

Bemoaning the inevitable.