Earthscape artwork by Andres Amador
Shelter in Place
The used bookstore is only a couple of blocks away. There's a faded old awning outside its plate glass windows. Upon entrance, chiming bells would alert the bookseller of your presence. When did you last step into the shop? Could it have been last year? You know it's more than a month. Inside, you could lose yourself among its stacks, go on a personal scavenger hunt for the perfect art book, that amazing volume of poetry, some 1930s sheet music stacked up in a pile at the back. Sheet music to frame and place upon a wall for staring at. The bookstore is closed along with most everything else. Because it was so near, you seldom made time to stop in. Now you stare at the volumes still propped up in the window display, dust gathering.
Droplets suspended in spring air.
The gardens lie across the street, beyond grassy lawns, beneath scattered-cloud skies. A rabbit's white cotton tail flashes across the graveled path. A masked couple walking their dog approach from the left. Turn right, toward the brook instead. Somewhere in the quiet, the eye catches a hint of movement. A duck drifts with the current. Time passes. You head again toward the gardens, choosing a different approach. You cross the bridge, carefully avoid the handrails, turn toward the garden. The dog-walking couple is gone. There are yellow tulips, blue hyacinths, forsythia, bright green grass. You ponder the safety of resting on a sun-warmed bench. Squirrels chatter in overhanging trees.
Robins lay speckled blue eggs.
Each morning, the woman who lives across the street ties a scarf over her grown-out hair, steps onto her front porch and sits down on an old folding chair. She stares at the three black cars that have not moved out of their parking spaces for more than a week. When this all started, you'd sit in a wicker chair on your porch and wave, but she never waved back. Dandelions have sprung up everywhere. Bees feast at their sunny centers. The woman on the folding chair takes no notice, folds up her chair, rests it against her porch railing and retreats inside. The white peony in the front garden is just beginning to push up its blood red shoots. Soon the iris will begin to open their buds and show the color of their bloom. There will be more time to keep the weeds pulled. You'd like to have some fresh mulch to put down between the perennials. Not sure whether to seed anything new.
Each moment unfolds then fades.