I walked into the kitchen. Through the window, I could see the field behind my house: purple asters, yellowing birches, the hunched weeping willow. It was like an exquisite painting, made just for me—my birthday painting!
Outside the house were industrial noises. Across the street, a huge backhoe was scooping out the Esopus River. I asked my wife about it. She said, “They’re ‘de-watering’ the channel that runs along the bank, so they can reinforce the bank.” I put on my shoes and walked across the street to watch the machine dredging. It moved like a dinosaur in a 1950s movie. A leaf fell.
My wife and I drove to Woodstock, to buy food at Sunflower. Afterward, we went to Family, a place with free books and clothing—I was “shopping” for my birthday. In a book called Sound and Sense: An Introduction to Poetry, I read:
Though leaves are many, the root is one;
Through all the lying days of my youth
I swayed my leaves and flowers in the sun;
Now I may wither into the truth.
I received 178 birthday greetings on Facebook.