Last Week of November

My female friends, thinking of middle school, cringe – like me, too – as though we’re all reliving those years.

Just months into middle school with my second daughter, it seems to me the heart-wrenching agony is driven by a burgeoning and raging sense of injustice. Sometimes I wonder if the adult world ever escapes middle school, or merely wears down and accepts bad behavior.

November, November, I remind myself. Afternoons of lake swimming will return.

The girls and I cook dinner and wash the dishes and – because it’s dark – take an evening walk in the dark. White sparkling lights are strung on the footbridge suspended over the river, and even the closed stores on Main Street are lit. Around us, the lights hang low on the mountains stretching up into the black sky. A crescent moon cups its white-gold place in the sky. Walking, I think of Martin Luther King’s long arc of the moral universe, bending back towards injustice, imperceptibly and, yet, making its gradual way.

December, season of falling snow and good cheer, isn’t far.

If ever God’s heart was drowning
in fifty gallons of despair, I would mention
the anatomy of birds as a flashlight
to shine through His heavy grief.
Avian Pallium, I would say….
… the kindness
of this gentle bone, how it protects Cerebral Cortex
like hands wrapped around
a small snowball.

– From “The Anatomy of Birds” by Steven Coughlin


2 thoughts on “Last Week of November

  1. Yes, that is exactly where I am. Maybe it’s an existential crisis, but not to believe that the universe bends toward justice appears to open the door to nihilism – which I refuse to do. Is this the basis of faith?

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