Monday, April 25, 2022
Musings of the Forensic Anthropologist
The kitchen still smelled faintly of sweet and spice, my having baked a dozen banana chocolate chip muffins late last evening for my husband to take to work to share with his team. The house itself was quiet, the work computer still, my not having to log in for another hour. The morning chores were tended to, the dog fed and walked, the bird feeders filled, as was the water dish we leave out for the creatures that live among the tall stand of Spruce trees. Lunch was made and packed, the muffins corralled and wrapped, small daily moments that removed me from reality and let my mind go back to other landscapes, other mornings.
I will miss the mornings where the ground is covered with thick white, the blanket of white hushing the sound of traffic. For others and certainly for me, in such moments, as you step out into the hushed cold, you can almost imagine you are in a place other than a bustling city, your mind taking you back to days on open land where corn rioted and stands of tall trees stood as kings over their subjects of deer and wildlife. You were yourself a quiet subject, there up high in a tree blind, Winchester in your lap, bewitched and cut off from worry and hurry and fear, those things that seem to belong to another world.
The sound of a siren from the first accident or serious illness of the day, takes me from my musings, reminding me that indeed I am in the city, and it's waking up quickly around me. The siren sound is one that haunts my dreams sometimes even though normally when I am in the company of such a vehicle it is moving away in stony silence, the only sound that of tires reverberating in holly claps as they kick up gravel from a place where lay only the memories of those too late to be saved, their only voice a cluster of little yellow flags upon the ground.
So far, as I have walked such places, the dead have not revealed their secret, something for which I should probably be grateful.
As the siren fades away, I briefly look at the news, seeing it as not mere words today, but rather the sound of drums, of peace, or war, or of prayer, I don't know. Such are the days, I'd just as soon write, having no desire to further scan the computer for news, or social media of strangers, growing tired of how unkindly the world is of things it fails to understand. As a scientist, I'd like to live in a world of straightforward facts, but the feeling is short-lived as soon as I look at the media. No, I drop a few notes to friends, then a look at the weather, as I settle in to write as the sun comes up.
I have no story today, merely words of observance, of the surface truths in the world outside my window.
Although I honestly love the Fall and Winter over the heat of summer, there is something transfixing about watching the earth bloom each Spring. It's nothing like the mornings of winter, the sky brooding over the earth, becoming more somber by the minute, as if irritated by your attempt to stay warm. Spring is more like a lover, coaxing from the ground new life, as it touches everything with shy wonder, that is as new now as it was this time last year. Even as there is snow on the ground, the sun peaks out behind a cloud with exquisite brilliance.
The sun glints of the newness as the last bit of snow melts away. I know too well, that even light can lie, yet this Spring beam had no manipulation of light or pose, it simply gazed on everything with equal warmth and equal depth, lending its truth to a new beginning.
The earth begins another season for those of us that remain, as those that have gone before can only watch from the heavens. The earth is simply a standing place, one that we dwell in with that modest, clear flame that is our hope and our faith, even as we understand too well, how easy it is for that flame to be extinguished.
As I turn back into the house, I turn one last time to the trees, to a sound I can't hear, to a thing I can't see, to a memory of another tree, another morning, from a year that I can't get back, but one that will be with me always. - Brigid