i stepped away.

i stepped away

today

not to be contrary to the coal black pain, but rather

just for a moment not to be at all.

to feel

the rush of a stream over my toes, and

to hear

the call of cardinals, searing red.

i stepped away

to regain

my footing, shaky and weary to the bone.

what good are we

if we forget what it is

to breathe

broken but alive

under the summer sun.

“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it.

The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time.

On some of those rocks are timeless raindrops.

Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.”

Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It

Quarantine journals: April 18

I stopped putting a tally in this space.

All numbers do is smear and blur the pain and fear.

All numbers do is feed the enemy’s lie that it has the power.

Today I took my dog on a long walk

in the woods. Deliberately,

of course. And just to see

if there’s any marrow left in the world.

For a time

when we were out there alone and all we could hear were birds of all kinds and the swish of still bare tree limbs in the wind

I almost felt

normal

again.

Just me and him

like the good

old days—when was that?

Oh. Yes. A handful of weeks ago.

I almost couldn’t remember

the before.

Or is it just that it hurts too much

to think of all we’ve lost so

fast? “Front only the

essentials,”

Thoreau said,

“living is so dear…”

Indeed.