Thursday, August 5, 2010

Black Bear in the Orchard


It was a long winter.

But the bees were mostly awake

In their perfect house,

The workers whirling their wings

To make heat.

Then the bear woke,

To hungry not to remember

Where the orchard was,

And the hives.

He was not a picklock.

He was a sledge that leaned

Into their front wall and came out

The other side.

What could the bees do?

Their stings were as nothing.

They had planned everything

Sufficiently

Except for this: castastrophe.

They slumped under the bear’s breath.

They vanished into the curl of his tongue.

Some had just enough time

To think of how it might have been-

The cold easing,

The smell of leaves and flowers.

The curl of death wraps around me this morning. Overlooking the frog enshrouded San Diego harbor in the lightening sky, I have been watching the US Navy boats come in from the night’s patrol. I can just barely make out the silhouettes of protection and outrage. I think of the navy people, surprised by death in Pearl Harbor and countless other encounters on sea and land. Perhaps caught in their bunks by the warning siren, I wonder if they had time for regrets and mournings, of what they could have been and done. I imagine they did, as I do today, for who in the end can avoid catastrophe despite all our carefully laid plans and dreams? So too who can avoid perfection in the midst of chaos and nightmare? This morning, this inner mourning, I see how the water reflects light in the dark, as our lives reflect life in death.

Have you even been surprised by death or tragedy?

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