All this settles into me. The daily colors and sensations I often miss. To notice is a kind of centering, a reminder that we’re still alive. Me with my feet up looking out the window and glad for air conditioning, glad for a cold shower, glad for Joni Mitchell and her beret, it’s 1976: too far from the Bay of Fundy. She’s rising higher like jasmine on the breeze, like white lines on the freeway.
I have unwanted back hair (as if there’s a kind you’d want). I have hair in places I shouldn’t and I’m missing it in places I want more. And we’re still animals, we forget. We once needed toes for climbing but now we don’t so they recede and fall off like unused tails. Or in places where the wings or fins once attached they’re now empty sockets. Evolution corrects, but like a big ship turning it takes time to redirect.
Today it is just me and the dog convalescing from a knee replacement with her leg shaved bald as a raw chicken, starting to bruise. Wrapping it with cold compresses; pain pills and peanut butter, naps. Me and my plantar fasciitis trying to build up muscle in my foot by lifting a wet towel with my toes, balling my toes in a fist. We are singularly alone with our pain and that’s probably best.
It’s so hot we had to invite my mother-in-law over to hunker down in the AC for a few days. We water the yard in the early mornings and at night the sprinklers make the earth smell, you can smell it drinking, the birds gather round, the crickets with their guitars and harmonicas, everyone joins in. It’s a good night to be out and I’ve got a large Colman tent with an inflatable mattress, too hot to sleep inside, no need for the rain fly.
We forget how good we have it, we read books about the apocalypse for entertainment. We get a taste of that and the first thing we do is run for the toilet paper. We’re like domesticated dogs, we wouldn’t last long in the wild. Me, barefoot on the leather sectional with my Wi-Fi typing with my thumbs. Buying shit on my phone and then dragging empty boxes up the road come Monday.
It’s so hot we can’t go outside anymore, we’re forced underground to artificially lit cells and canned food. We stop believing in science and follow fools. The West burns, the oceans rise. One day a comet whistles by and if the earth is like a smartphone or wireless device, there’s a magic reset button in the back where you just hold it a few seconds and then everything turns black.
We return as apes with sloped foreheads. We forage mushrooms and discover poetry. We find exotic ways to alter ourselves, to strip off hair from our groins. We invent AI and make robots like Santa’s little helpers. And then we rise up again.