Next week we're finishing up with school. Every year at this time I am grading huge piles of work and fretting that nobody learned as much as I had hoped. Every year at this time I am convinced I won't finish everything, and this will be the first year in my teaching career when I will not turn in my grades at all and just, I don't know, suffocate under a mound of unevaluated student writing. This year, all that is happening times a million. Of course, this year the writing is all in Google Docs, so the suffocation would be virtual. The perfect end to 2019-2020, when we here in Haiti spent more than fifty percent of our teaching time in lockdown, first for political crisis and then for health crisis.
Meanwhile, on Sunday I wrote this poem.
Palmchat, Source Birdsoftheworld.org
Pandemic Birding, Sunday, May 17th, 2020
Today my brother wrote to tell me
that the nighthawks are back.
A friend texted a description of a bird
and then a photo of a scarlet tanager.
Another sent a video from a walk she took,
in which I could clearly hear woodpeckers.
My online birding group had a Big Day today
and birders all over the world added their finds to a spreadsheet.
It felt good to check for numerical updates on a list
that had nothing to do with sickness and death.
(We were just over a thousand species, last I looked.)
It’s not always easy to know
what to say to each other, these days,
as tragedies mount
and interpretations vary,
but then, we have the birds to report on,
and they’re doing what they’re supposed to,
behaving the way the books and apps predict,
going about their daily routines,
unaffected by human affairs.
I sat and watched palmchats today,
the national bird of the Dominican Republic,
our neighbor to the east.
They were enjoying the fruit
in the ficus tree in my yard.
There weren’t very many other birds out,
maybe because the palmchats were so noisy,
eating and hanging out close to each other,
the way - remember? - people used to.
Ruth, from thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com
You can see more pictures of palmchats, and listen to how they sound, here
Carol Varsalona has today's roundup,
and it looks as though she and I were on the same wavelength, with seeking relief in nature.