By Glory Cumbow
Oh, please, please look up. I know the consuming temptation to lock eyes arrow-straight ahead refusing the risk of averting your gaze elsewhere and accepting the landscape immediately before you as the only possible reality. Oh, but please, please look up. Within the strict parameters of frontward vision that neglects the peripheral, your perception is mighty slim. You might behold a rose bush, but all you will know is that singular bush. Yes, it is lovely, but why limit the beauty in your life? You would miss out on the ivy swirling up the trellis, or the apple tree heavy-laden with fruit. So do yourself a favor, and just look up. Otherwise you will splash through the puddles, with squishy, soaked socks but forsake the rolling thunderheads as they rule the sky. Wet and shivering, unsheltered and alone, the misery ahead of you is a fraction of the grander portrait you’ve been painted into. Please, do not withdraw from the red-tailed hawks circling, the dragonflies darting, the travelers a mile high jetting off to destinations unknown, the constellations spelling out fortunes. Blink, rub your eyes, and for your sake and mine, please look up.
It Doesn’t Translate
Come here and watch close, because I want to show you something that you won’t believe. Watch as her nimble fingers thread the needle, then delicately sew the pattern, piercing and pulling. Her precision and patience are unparalleled. Marvel at her craftsmanship of the scenic cross-stitch masterpiece. I know, I was shocked too. You know just as well as I do that her hands have choked the life out of innumerable days, years, experiences, hopes, and dreams. Now that her mind is going, and she no longer has the presence of thought to scorch the earth, we see that she was capable of beauty all along. Is this a redeemable quality, or is it too late for all of that?
Conversations Worth Having
When the dolphins regale you with tales from the depths of the sea, that is a conversation worth having. When the hummingbirds pause long enough to greet you with pleasantries and honorifics, that is a conversation worth having. When the squash, watermelon, and cabbage sing their ripening song, that is a conversation worth having. When the spring irises giggle and crack jokes, that is a conversation worth having. When the moon spins a yarn and gives in to tell just one more bedtime story, that is a conversation worth having.
My muscle memory has me filling and heating the tea kettle before my brain realizes what my hands are doing. I’ve switched my mind off to avoid the spiral. Instead, I drift over to the window to focus on the early birds catching the worms. The worms just want to get some fresh air and to quietly enjoy their existence of warm, moist dirt. But the birds mercilessly prey upon them. It’s not fair, is it? The soft-bodied, appendageless worms can’t defend themselves against the whetted beaks with acute aim that descend from the high ground. This unjust slaughter is truly reprehensible. And it happens every single day, morning after morning, the sunrise bringing a fresh hell for the lowly creatures of the earth. Who will mourn for them? The squeal of the tea kettle snaps my attention away from the massacre. At least I dodged that spiral.
Glory Cumbow is a writer living in North Carolina. She works as a strategist helping other writers to get their work published. She is dedicated to the arts and works with local theatres and sings in her community choir. When she’s not writing, she enjoys traveling with her husband, catching live shows, and visiting art museums.