By Adam Zagajewski
Translated by Clare Cavanagh
I watched the arctic landscape from above
and thought of nothing, lovely nothing.
I observed white canopies of clouds, vast
expanses where no wolf tracks could be found.
I thought about you and about the emptiness
that can promise one thing only: plenitude—
and that a certain sort of snowy wasteland
bursts from a surfeit of happiness.
As we drew closer to our landing,
the vulnerable earth emerged among the clouds,
comic gardens forgotten by their owners,
pale grass plagued by winter and the wind.
I put my book down and for an instant felt
a perfect balance between waking and dreams.
But when the plane touched concrete, then
assiduously circled the airport's labyrinth,
I once again knew nothing. The darkness
of daily wanderings resumed, the day's sweet darkness,
the darkness of the voice that counts and measures,
remembers and forgets.
Sunday was as beautiful as Saturday in terms of the weather, so after watching leaves falling in the backyard all morning while Adam was volunteering at Hebrew school -- I was reading Kate Mosse's Sepulchre, which has a bit too much historical exposition and whose prequel I keep mixing up with Kathleen McGowan's books, but which sucked me in because the author commissioned a Tarot deck for the novel -- we went to Huntley Meadows, which I don't think we've visited since November of last year. There wasn't a cloud in the sky, and when we came out of the woods onto the boardwalk through the wetlands, the sun was so bright that it was actually hard to see beyond the cattails, though we eventually managed to see herons, turtles, geese, ducks, red-wing blackbirds, and many other little birds.
This is the boardwalk through the wetlands at Huntley Meadows Park.
At present, there are two large beaver lodges just off the path -- including a new one since we last visited, though we didn't see any beavers awake.
We did, however, see evidence of very recent beaver activity.
We also saw herons, who appeared to have no problem catching fish even though it's November...
...and turtles sunning themselves, unfazed by the cooler water...
...and Canada geese nibbling on whatever's still green in the water.
The leaves are further past peak here than near the Chesapeake Bay, but still very pretty.
Here are my kids with what's left of the fallen tree where we used to photograph them when it was upright.
On the way home we stopped at Michael's so I could get a couple of things on sale and again got to see an amazing sunset from the road, accompanied by a huge flock of black birds flying over the highway. Then we went to get haircuts; Adam said, "On my list of things I'd like to do, getting a haircut falls nicely below being held hostage in a bank robbery," but we subjected him anyway, and now Daniel has slightly more respectable hair for a college interview on Monday. We watched The Simpsons, which was one of the sillier ones, then Boardwalk Empire, in which Margaret asserted herself nicely but unfortunately about her desire as a consumer rather than Prohibition, women's suffrage, or something that matters. I worry about the women on the show; I know which men they can and can't kill based on historical records, but neither Margaret nor Darmody's fiancee has much of a paper trail. I had to root for the Giants to beat Dallas so Michael Vick won't win the division, and the Cowboys won! Ugh!