When my teenage daughter recently spied a rattlesnake, we talked about the antidote to snakebite. Antidote: literally, a dose of a substance that’s given against a poison or illness. Antidote is an aggressive word, a noun rearing up on its hind legs and surging forward, or fiercely worming its belly-slinking way beneath razor-sharp lines of barbed wire.
Or perhaps a rose stem slid into a rifle barrel.
A child’s toothy smile after tears.
Or what I suggested to my daughter this rainy Saturday: pick up a brush, raid the paint cans in the basement, and color your walls anew. Step One on your way to solving the rest of your life.
This year we have two gorgeous
yellow warblers nesting in the honeysuckle bush.
The other day I stuck my head in the bush.
The nestlings weigh one-twentieth of an ounce,
about the size of a honeybee. We stared at
each other, startled by our existence.
In a month or so, when they reach the size
of bumblebees they’ll fly to Costa Rica without a map.
– Jim Harrison