My apricot tree is in bloom—a beautiful burst of pinkish white flowers. Apricot flowers appear before the leaves (which are appearing in bud form), presenting a glorious flash of color with nothing to dull the display. First nothing but grey sticks, and then, suddenly, technicolor. It’s a wonderful harbinger when so much else warns of dreary pointlessness. Our artificial world is not so fruitful.
My classes are going well. My students repeatedly win awards, both on campus and in the community, honored by the Provost, the college President, the Writing Committee, the town Mayor and a host of agency heads. The badly needed redesign of the Composition Program is ½ my ideas (I’m on a nine person committee), and the journals my students have created are the “poster child” for our new 200-level writing initiative. But my Peer Review Committee denied my promotion, noting that the criteria specifies an emphasis on successful teaching (although the Personnel Committee had no problem at all). Huh?
The woman I anticipated sharing the rest of my life with not only didn’t show up, but disappeared, and when I finally called just to inquire as to why, informed me she felt “abandoned” (although she did seem glad to hear from me). The irony that I can never reach her by phone (she turns it off) or even leave a message, that she didn’t answer my email, that she no longer uses her Yahoo IM, and yet makes no effort to contact me appears lost on her (other than apparently sending me a letter, when we already know that mail across the Canada/U.S. border has become a joke during the Bush administration). She loves me, she keeps saying. To quote one of my friends, “I’ll believe it when she shows up.” And now? She has another reason for a delay. My friend’s point is well taken.
My government is insane. The economy no longer works well. The elective wars in Afghanistan and Iraq aren’t conforming to the administration’s fantasies. Looming but solvable problems with Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, Unemployment, Global Warming, Rising Energy Costs, Rising Food Costs, Insufficient Health Care—all are lost to jockeying for short term political gain, and the only consistent push seems to be for cutting taxes, as if no taxes would magically solve all this.
I was finally able to get some sleep, and after rising, I took my dog to Stoney Pond for a longish run. She quickly found some deer parts—the forequarters of the front feet, fur still attached. Poachers, probably. We run on, and when deep into the woods, her demeanor alerts me to the presence of wildlife—but clearly not prey. We run on, and her nose and ears track the changing direction. Finally I hear it—once, then twice. Certainly not a dog (and without an owner out here). Coyote, I suspect. We run on. Then I see it—or at least a swish of tail for a moment. My dog, a few seconds later, sharply turns her head once she catches the scent. We run on, repeating the pattern a few times.
Then I see, directly in my path, neatly laid out, a feather from a red-tailed hawk. I pick it up. My Native American friends (who associate me with a red-tailed hawk totem) would say I was given a gift from the deer (I let my dog take the bone home), the coyote, and the red-tailed hawk. Once, in my younger mystical days, I’d have thought so too. It’s a wonderful, and probably healthy belief, one of reverence to things greater than ourselves. It’s spring, though, and I run virtually every day. The odds of our coming across such things are high, and when we do, it’s just nature playing itself out—just as we all are living the course of our lives.
But I took the feather home, accepting the gift, real or imagined. And for all else that happens, my apricot tree is in bloom.