Monday, May 23, 2011

When the Birds Begin

Yesterday I woke to a pink dawn and today, before dawn, to all the birds singing at the first glimmers. 

A window chorus. 

The sky is blue, the day calm.

But it is a blue Monday in Joplin, Missouri, visited yesterday evening by a tornado. 

So, once again, I hear Emily Dickinson's line, "Let us keep fast hold of hands, that when the birds begin, none of us be missing."

I know people in Joplin are seeking the missing right now.

All the recent disasters ripple again, the earlier tornadoes in the South, the earthquakes, the tsunami.

And all the recent Rapture silliness slinks away, and should, shamefaced. This is real and always will be.

Sympathy goes out, as will donations. Quiet gratitude stays, for my own moment of blue sky. And joy in it. I was so moved, many years ago, reading about a woman who had survived an awful terror. She was committed to joy, so the terror would not win. 

Ever since, I've felt a responsibility not just to people and work, but to joy. For her.

[Mary Cassat, Lilacs in a Window, public domain, Wikimedia]


Maureen said...

Lovely post, Kathleen. Wonderful choice of Dickinson quote.

Sandy Longhorn said...

Yes, to joy. No, to terror.

I had just heard the updates about Joplin this morning when I noticed that the robins were back to work on their nest in the tree outside my writing window. The nest nearly succumbed to a deluge yesterday (no eggs yet), and I wasn't sure if the birds would return. There is joy in the fact that they did return.

Kathleen said...

Thanks, dears! Still blue and breezy out there, many things blooming; took a long walk and had two lovely conversations with the man from the railroad who is making the crossing safe for pedestrians as they reinforce the rails for the "bullet" train.

Emily said...

There's always a few birds wintering near my apartment building.

(And I live nowhere near Joplin, so don't worry.)

Kathleen said...

Glad to hear you are safe, Emily. We have family in Missouri, too, but we think they were far from this particular storm.

DJ Vorreyer said...

This post is a poem. A little editing and line breaking, and you have a winner. Lovely.

Hannah Stephenson said...

Many beautiful reminders here.

Kathleen said...

Thanks, Hannah and Donna. The beauty just keeps happening here, so somehow that keeps honoring the missing in my mind.