Wednesday, April 22, 2020
Today I watched a little girl just splash into the Santa Fe River in her pink striped Adidas tennis shoes, same shoes as I had in college. It felt like a miracle. Not the coincidence of the shoes, but the unrestrained exuberance of the girl, to splash full-on into cold moving April water without a single care for the virus or the shoes. I watched the water wash over her ankles and gulp into her shoes and I could feel it as if it was happening to me, as if I was the girl, unrestrained and wild and one with the rivers and the mud. She was with her father, who held on leashes the family dogs, and he didn’t say anything, not one word about the shoes, he seemed truly not to care. A small miracle. They raced sticks down the water, and I cried, remembering when my girls were young and their father and I together watched them splash in the rivers of Appalachia, a lifetime away. I walked home under pink boughs that smell watery and just like Paris, the way Paris smells for me, aside from the urine and the car exhaust, having always gone in the spring. In an optimistic moment a few weeks ago I bought a plane ticket for October. The ticket was cheap. On that day The world was different from what it had been and different from what it is now. When I got home the girls were talking to their friends on their computers. I sat in the back yard and watched the sky go rosy and the atmosphere go gold, like it used to in Brevard, in North Carolina, when the mists would rise over the green and the whole earth would rest, so soft, sighing in and out her breath and the flowers exploded from every corner like a Dionysian riot. This astonishing world. As I type this the church bells are ringing. The bird song is sweeter. How strange that the air should smell just as it did for all my previous springs on earth when this one is so different. The birds do as they’ve always done. So do the flowers. Children splash through cold streams. The colors leave and return in the sky.