The Last Night of My Year
It’s the last night of my year because tomorrow is my birthday. I’ll have officially completed 54 full years and embark on the 55th.
I’m ok with the number mostly. I don’t love it but it is what it is and there’s no point letting it worry me.
The gardens have gone wild – as much as I swear in June I’m going to keep up with weeding, by September I have officially resigned myself. The morning glories are climbing on everything, but they are glorious.
The cockscomb has gone mad, and even if I had the heart to tear up those gaudy blooms, the bees have discovered it and are virtually drunken in their buzzing from bloom to bloom.
One white cockscomb is pushing up through the seat of a wrought iron bench. Now it’s blooming and again, I haven’t the heart to rip those last three weeks from it, because in three weeks or four, the chill will come and it will go anyway.
I have one yellow rosebush that has sent a single branch probably eight feet up and is covered with buds. The cleome and ageratum and sunflowers are all blooming happily.
The Shasta daisies and the cone flower and the black-eyed and brown-eye Susan have bloomed for the last month or six weeks, now you can’t see them for the things flowering in front of them.
I’ve been reading other blogs tonight, and I’ll be talking about them in a day or three, but it seems, for the moment, it’s not inspired anything I want to say just yet, so, since it’s the last three hours of this year, I’m going to give my self a break and call it the end of this blog.
However, I am going to finish with a poem I just thought about, when I talked about the flowers. It’s one of those poems that always makes me think of the dance of dominance and submission, and the line “the landscape flowers, Outdoing, desperately Outdoing what is required,” is the one that flashed through my mind.
The Heaven of Animals
Here they are. The soft eyes open.
If they have lived in a wood
It is a wood.
If they have lived on plains
It is grass rolling
Under their feet forever.
Having no souls, they have come,
Anyway, beyond their knowing.
Their instincts wholly bloom
And they rise.
The soft eyes open.
To match them, the landscape flowers,
Outdoing what is required:
The richest wood,
The deepest field.
For some of these,
It could not be the place
It is, without blood.
These hunt, as they have done,
But with claws and teeth grown perfect,
More deadly than they can believe.
They stalk more silently,
And crouch on the limbs of trees,
And their descent
Upon the bright backs of their prey
May take years
In a sovereign floating of joy.
And those that are hunted
Know this as their life,
Their reward: to walk
Under such trees in full knowledge
Of what is in glory above them,
And to feel no fear,
But acceptance, compliance.
Fulfilling themselves without pain
At the cycle’s center,
They tremble, they walk
Under the tree,
They fall, they are torn,
They rise, they walk again.
James L. Dickey