By Nancy Huggett
Birding at Fletcher’s
We have come for the cherry blossoms.
It is spring. And a pandemic. And we wander each evening looking
for signs that this languishing is really a disguise for the liminal.
Sidetracked by a woodland path
and the warning trill of red winged blackbirds,
we find them balanced,
in full red and yellow epaulets, on cattails
by the edge of the spring overflow pond.
Robins deak the damp ground for worms.
Cardinals, goldfinch, thrush, warbler
sing the spring back into our bones
and we lose for a moment the sense of pandemic loss.
A silky ruffle draws our gaze up.
Nestled between the branches a grey owl opens its eyes wide
and watches us
watching. The silence
broken by the thrum
of wings above us:
ORNGE air ambulance
rushing intubated COVID patients
to the nearby hospital
from overwhelmed ICUs across the province.
An accidental, a vagrant
blown in on pandemic winds.
Note: As of May 2021, more than 2,100 sick, intubated COVID-19 patients had been put into ambulances,
helicopters, and planes and rushed from one Ontario (Canada) hospital to another with more capacity.
This morning I devour
Poetry instead of prioritizing
my To Do list, which
I left upstairs, which
hovers over me and my Bad Night
sleeping/not sleeping beside
my anxious daughter.
It is fall and
the world is falling and
my To Do list won’t prop it up, so
I consume Poetry and pour it down
my throat like medicine, thirsty
for its Burning Balm.
Nancy Huggett lives, writes, and caregives in Ottawa Canada, on the unceded unsurrendered Territory of the Algonquin Anishinabe Algonquin Nation.
Birding at Fletcher’s” During the spring this pandemic, we often went for walks after dinner at nearby green spaces, including Fletcher’s Wildlife Garden, which is on the grounds of the experimental farm, situated just across from our big hospital. I actually stole (with permission) this particular experience from a friend who told me about first seeing an owl and then looking up to see the air ambulance. “Thirsty” is just about the way I seemed to desire and consume poetry when everything else was falling, falling, falling. On poetry during the pandemic: It has saved me, both others’ (which I have consumed like medicine) and my own (the pandemic has given me the gift of early mornings with nowhere in particular to be, to write).