This afternoon, driving too fast on a dirt road, I spun around a corner and heard rocks spitting from the truck tires. I was in too much of a rush, after too jumbled a day, and I didn’t slow down. A goldfinch burst before the windshield, then flew up into the maples. Peering over the steering wheel, suddenly slowing, I saw the bird’s underbelly, so yellow it was iridescent, glowing like Rumpelstiltskin’s freshly spun gold.
A flash, nothing more.
That flickering goldfinch, that gleam of beauty, so startlingly unexpected, tore before my vision as a feathered shrapnel of truth.
At the school’s sixth grade graduation tonight, the speaker handed each child a shiny 2015 penny. Be truthful, she counseled wisely, like Honest Abe. Myself, so long past the years of sixth grade, feel my own truth dispersed and muddied among so many humusy layers of living. And then this goldfinch before my eyes, harbinger of unadulterated truth, pure beauty. It might have been my heart leaping from chest.
There is only one heart in my body, have mercy
The brown leaves buried all winter creatureless feet
running over dead grass beginning to green, the first scent-
less violet here and there, returned, the first star noticed all
at once as one stands staring into the black water.
– Franz Wright