You and Me, Outside; or Only Connect

Mornings now, finally, are chilly and damp with whatever it is that happens in autumn nights that makes everything sweat so, and so gloriously, shining in the morning’s sun. I’ve cut down the garden but for the inane zinnias still blooming like nothing is about to happen. Even the small mum I planted in early September has given up. And what of it? Death comes to us all. It’s the peculiar task of the living to ignore that. (Matthew Zapruder again from Why Poetry: “More than any other use of language, poetry speaks, while also pointing to and reminding us of nothingness…In a poem we feel what’s there, but also what is not.”)

One primary task, surely, is to try to figure out how to make the best of living among each other. Each Other. Will we ever evolve enough to stop seeking to define — and therefore hate — the Other? Will we ever stop being overly alarmed by not-same-ness? One of these things is not like the others. Yes. Hallelujah.

Surely our life task is to find ways to connect with all the other things, the Other things, that are awake and breathing this day.

Even the loud family across the street? Yes. Even the people next door who let their dog bark frantically on and on? Even the centipede scurrying disgustingly down the wall? Ew. I guess no one said it would be easy. Some tasks are lifelong. Wait, even the terrible invasive vine that’s constantly trying to strangle the apple tree and forsythia? I’m sorry, I have my limits. I’m only human, you know.

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