by Jaye Shore~Freyer
“The earth gives birth to these boulders,"
Mrs. Wilcox said, “Heaves them out like babies.”
I stared at the boulders in the fence, moss covered,
girth held by gravity in place. Her husband called over,
not looking up from the thicket where he was working,
“Sylvia, Darling, be careful what you tell the children.”
“I always am,” she called back with a sweet compliant note.
“My husband, bless his soul, calls it frost-fracturing,
But then he is a scientist and we are not scientists.
These poor boulders are tossed out into the world
Like lambs in the springtime and have to spend their lives
keeping their place; their biggest excitement
Is being lugged across the field and fit into a fence.
The only way they will ever get back into the earth
is to crumble into it in their old age.”
This seemed to satisfy her and her billowy soft grey curls
blew like a cloud around her face and neck.
When I was the age of the girl in this poem our neighbors would take us along on outings while the husband, an entomologist, would work. We would run around collecting bugs and show them what we managed to find. He taught us to pin them and present them in a scientific manner. His wife was wonderful – and probably the reason we were brought along. She had a whimsical sense of nature and it didn't occur to me then how different she and her husband were. She has peeked out from my memory throughout the years. I crafted this cameo with fondness for her in mind.
The photo at top is taken of a portion of the Tiffany stained glass fountain at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The photo on the left was taken recently in the Bronx River Reservation of a small butterfly resting among the Japanese Knotwood flowers and seeds. Both photograph and alterations by me.