Stuck in the age of Covid-19, racing to nowhere except a way out of this box to which the world has been condemned, a prison cell of prevention, or not, for those unlucky thousands who carry coronavirus with them to their graves, leaving the rest of us to worry about droplets lingering for days on Amazon delivery boxes, empty grocery store shelves, dirty gas pump handles, or our own Fido’s nose, even a child’s hand fresh from a playground jungle gym when the real jungle is Mother Earth spinning in all her infected glory, laughing as she twirls leaving that voice message that cries, “I told you so.”
Weep not for me, sweet redbud tree,
Thy leaves will take no chances
Each heart resides most playfully
Upon thy silken branches
Dangling in the wind they sing
Hearts ready for damnation
Search for love against the wind
And hope for procreation
Young ones be the shiniest
Deep ruby red reaction
Thus what creature dare resist
So lovely an attraction
Seeds strewn about with local help
Assures that love will grow
New heart-shaped leaves thus soon to sprout
Come melting winter snow
Wouldst that my own heart sing so loud
And dance to its own tune
While suitors called upon my door
In light of harvest moon
These ruby lips await the kiss
That stirs my dormant soul
Much as the weeping redbud waits
‘Til she achieves her goal
Be patient, she advises me,
Love grows at its own pace
The kindest words, a gentle touch
That make a red heart race
When redbud leaves remain too long
Their red begins to fade
In favor of a dulling green
That hides beneath the shade
Younger leaves retake the stage
Flash colors in the sun
As older ones accept their place
Their usefulness now done
Yet hidden behind a shady branch
Old lovers rekindle a flame
Dull green, a few new dents perhaps,
Still loving all the same
–Victoria Emmons, 2017
While visiting friends in North Carolina, I discovered a Weeping Redbud tree in the yard. The tree’s red, perfectly heart-shaped leaves fascinated me. Then I noticed the older leaves were solid green, having lost their brilliant, red color. It reminded me of the joy of finding love.
The invisible line is cast across the river,
across the canyon, or the ages, obstacles
that find us as we travel dusty roads, always
searching, forever unsure. Pleasure in
windblown branches hobbled against the slant
of a craggy mountain, predicted to lose,
yet they blossom, somehow gaining strength
from light and the occasional storm.
Rain is approaching current location
and is expected within thirty minutes.
The line reaches out, centuries compelled
to forge a lineage unbroken. The invisible line.
Our heritage. We cannot see them, nor they us.
Mere black and white images painted by the
hand of a craftsman or a Brownie Instamatic.
They smile or laugh, more often
furrow brows within the frames of their lives.
History recorded in a frown, perhaps too serious
the thought of the invisible line.
Rain is falling now.
The burden remains. Casting the line is all
too frightening, creates a link in a chain that
cannot be undone. Populate. Procreate. Pass.
The cycle begs for renewal. And so we perform.
In our innocence and duty, the people perform,
create the invisible line that stretches from
one generation to another. The line sends all
our oneness to the next and the next,
on down the line.
The wind blows harder.
Never an end of the line, just a passing
of the wonderment of life, love, creation,
knowledge, laughter, responsibility, inspiration,
thoughtfulness, caring, tolerance, joy, simplicity.
Never an end. Always a new beginning.
The invisible line is not broken, merely
reflected in the crystal blue eyes of a child,
the exploration of a scientific discovery,
the digital painting of a sorrowful face.
Black clouds ahead.
Cast your line. An ocean awaits. Sandy shores
reside amongst the clouds, no matter their color
or shape. The line must be cast. Too late for
indecision. Stretch out your heart to the next
in line. Leave your trace of glory to be retold
in story after story. The blessed line.
Follow it and find the softest space in Heaven,
find those who climbed in before you.
Rain clearing by tomorrow morning.
–Victoria Emmons, May 2017 for Uncle Jim