Rain unearthed a tiny toy from the cotoneaster’s soil I planted a few weeks ago – a plastic white ram smaller than the length of my thumb.
The soil’s sandy here, loamier on the house’s southern side where an immense mock orange stretches nearly to the second-floor bedroom windows.
My archeological find, near the barn’s ramp, is good child’s play area, near the house but not too near, cool in grass in the summer, with the cement a fine place to spread out small toys. Orange tiger lilies and silver-lavender allium spread tenaciously along the barn’s side, and I’d like to think some small child knelt in the grass there, happy to be home from school, entranced in the roaming world of her or his ram and animal companions. I’d prefer to think this creature, its back legs gnawed or worn at its hooves, wasn’t discarded carelessly.
I gave the animal to my daughter, youngest at the house now. Folded in her hand, she carried it on a walk all through town, then laid it on the windowsill beside a geranium, in the sun.
Somewhere, Heidegger says we are constantly tumbling towards death, and every once in a while we get a clear glimpse of this fact. We must then adjust our minds to accommodate the new knowledge. It makes us sadder, but also more urgent in our living, more aware that lives are fragile, ephemeral, not to be wished away. It make us, it should make us, humble.
From my recent interlibrary loan, Pitiful Criminals, by Greg Bottoms