On So Many Small Scraps Of Love


4/30/17 a.m. (in Louisiana)

You’re still around, sometimes. This morning the batture and marsh are emerald green. Crows circle on thermals. A red shouldered hawk sails up, then settles in the top of a tree, squawking. Gulls swirl around and over each other.

On my walk into town, I pass an old man sitting on his porch. He’s there everyday lately – settled into his over-stuffed chair, his small bag of bones flanneled-wrapped, a cap on his bald head despite the almost 80 degree-warmth. I wave at him, and he waves back. Most days, we see each other, and wave.

It makes me think of my childhood, of sitting on the old Hahnville porch with Grandma and Major, and sometimes you, your bare feet propped on a column, all of you commenting on who’s passing by on the road. Your neighbors’ habits so familiar you’d know who to expect, where each driver must be going – so if you needed a ride, you just walked out to the road and flagged one of them down.

You knew that place, and its people, so well they were like your own internal compass – you could count on them. That must have been fun for you, to come back from the anonymity of living in D.C. and Europe – and to settle right back in like you were one of them – which, of course, you always were.

I think about all the little bits of meaning we squeeze into the million tiny tasks of a life. Me, chopping stuff for salad before a big feast; my mom, cooking something yummy when we were kids; Nanette smoking meat and making jambalaya. Every movement an art, a body comfort, so many little scraps of love. If we don’t have time to savor all these small, tasty bits – to watch the red shouldered hawk sail in and out of trees, or to wave at an old man on his porch – what’s the point of a life?

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