Red-wing blackbirds in legions rarely seen, except at dusk, are now making their mating announcement in mid-day sun. Their beautiful cacophony can be heard throughout the valley wetland trails of south suburban Denver. The Los Angeles skyline has been the subject of photographs, like those I took from rugged Damon Runyon Park when visiting a year ago. Unlike mine, these now show the lowest level of smog encircling the city since the 1980’s.
Chicago’s Loop has been featured in numerous flyovers from drone cameras: a lonely Michigan Avenue; tourist watercraft docked on the the Chicago river and its tributaries. The river’s surroundings, I imagine from these scenes, are free of the air horns which once cheered arrivals in the channels.
The contrast of a welcome fullness of birdsong and bustle on the trails is pitted against the apperance of suddenly unhurried urban centers seemingly hungry for their former hustle. These are the landscapes we surveyed throughout April. Without judgement of whether we should or shouldn’t be present in these regions now, and unfussed by our perception that these places are either satiated or starved, nature does what it will when humans are largely absent. Wildlife in the inter-regions flourishes when our predatious presence retreats.
I have recently submitted poems on these themes and experiences to an online journal, TEJASCOVIDO, edited by Dr. Laurence Musgrove, a poet who also currently teaches at Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas. The journal shares “with readers how COVID-19 is affecting health, mental well-being, income, family, friendships, work, the moral imagination, as well as local, regional, national, and international relationships.”
Here are two of my poems recently published to the journal, adjacent to this post’s theme: Isolation, Things Strange & Unforeseen.
Three Signs of Memory Loss or the Great Sickness
Shizukana utsukushi-sa (Quiet Beauty)