Resting on my bed dayindayout typingmousingtyping frantic to meet these deadlines—Irish immersion, rushing by like the Shannon in flood—tá mé go maith, cad é an t-am é, dé luain dé máirt dé luain dé máirt dé luain dé máirt dé ceadoin—and meanwhile this mad massive dive into all things wild boar—where did you come from, fine piggy, fine sow? How did you grow so great? And the spear that took you down, and your bristles that crown the helmets of fine Celtic warriors, and all those piglets swinging from your teats.
Till my neck hardens, head pounds, back screams but—ah!—the luxury of unbroken days to work and eat and feed the birds and stretch these aching bits. No appointments. Few interruptions. Ahhh.
But no walks. No visits. Except online, on phone and online; who knew (I knew!) the things that we could do if only we decided. But why did it take catastrophe to bring us here?
Waiting for the words. Who will die?
Here’s a surprise. My sister, never one to look these things straight on if she can avoid it, suddenly and silently working out her will, and who will take her daughter, and who will take her sons, if she should fall?
Saddens me. Unthinkable. One father down. The mother must remain.
We are all afraid. But we are stretching in ways we never thought to stretch. My brother with one lung as of days ago, and all of us scattered across the globe reaching him through telephones and chat forums and webcams. Letting him know, baby brother, we are here.
One friend tells me stayathome! and brings me food. Another puts her scanner outside my door, touches palm to my palm through the glass, picks up the duct tape left there, retreats. One more brings a table and a chair so I can sit outside and be somewhere else but in-here.
There is joy in this calculated loving. There is joy in having time to read and think and write what we must write. A language is trickling into me. A beautiful vision of an enigmatic beast and how another species came to see it, reflect it, live on it, deify it, strive to embody it steadily grows with every paper I consume, every tale I review, every voice that speaks to me of the great and bristled boar. It will coalesce, I know it. Chants will come of it. Dreams will come of it. Looking in and seeing who and what we can be and are—all of this will come of it, and soon. Deadlines, recall.
While on my feeder a red-lined cloak flares and folds: the flicker male with his stabbing beak. Finches settle. chickadees quarrel. Sparrows hophophop.
It is a beautiful thing. There is death and life together in this moment as never before. My brother soon to leave us. My sister fearing for her life—with reason, I should say. And me, alone yet not alone, in pain and relative safety, drinking in the sight of juncoes on my step, the sound of small birds muttering, the cool air settling toward night. And the Irish washes in. The boar rouses my blood and makes me seek. And the kindnesses abounding among friends and strangers carries me away.
—March 30, 2020