NDJ:7 Karol Kullberg, LCSW-C

A Sunday Visit

In the grey damp of a February Sunday, I park my car along the lawn with its chewed up edges from careless tires and reckless snow plows. Careful not to forget my keys, I close the door behind me, thinking how easy it would be to lock myself out, such a simple miscalculation, with such unpleasant consequences. Slipping the keys in my pocket, I catch my breath against the afternoon chill and zip my jacket up tight against my chin, as though to form a protective shield. I head down the garden path, noticing the disorderly arrangements of plastic flowers protruding from the brick. Garishly red poinsettias mixed with tulips and roses offend my senses. A red fox darts soundlessly across a distant corner of the lawn, turning a lazy eye to make sure I am not in pursuit. He disappears into the low brush at the road’s edge and into the woods, as if swallowed whole. This drama between two creatures takes no more than a few seconds, yet preoccupies my mind as I wonder where he is going and where does he sleep? And who waits for him?

I see evidence of nightly visits by deer and the nibbled greenery of a rabbit’s unfinished meal, perhaps the result of an unexpected interruption. Rows of carnage line the footpath with an occasional bloom left for no apparent reason, a simple oversight, or perhaps saved for another meal? Distant cars whiz by with haste and determination to unknown appointments.

A sense of dread overtakes me as I approach my destination. One grave is well mowed with the disarray of winter’s leaves and twigs apparent, the other starkly fresh, dirt still mounded and not yet settled back into a flattened surface. Still rocky and rough without new growth of grass, it lies a barren spot in this landscape of natural plenty, strangely silent and still, surrounded by life. The honk of a Canadian goose redirects my attention to the edge of the meadow where a pair feeds, one erect alerting her mate of my intrusion. Each takes a turn to dine while the other watches. I feel a pang of envy at the effortlessness of their synchrony. Who decides who feeds and who waits I wonder.