“light as the stroke of a branch – Sandra M. Gilbert, “Simplicity”
Simplicity lived in the long grass of summer. The field mice and grasshoppers were her companions, and she wove huts of grass and dew for their families from the meadow to keep off the hot sun of July and August. She sang to them at night so their little ones would fall asleep, and she breathed the morning breezes to wake them. The soft fur of the mice tickled her cheeks when she came up close, and the delicate feelers of the grasshoppers played against her skin when she was nearby. As long as the grass was tall she stayed in the meadow, the mice gathering seeds to store for winter, the grasshoppers eating their fill of the grass they lived in.
But on the autumn day when the grass was scythed, leaving only stubbly fields and earthy furrowed rows, Simplicity moved on. Her winter was deep in the rocky mountains where she clambered with the mountain goats and dozed with the grizzly bears. Simplicity made small weavings of the hair from the goats and the fur of the grizzlies. She tucked the weavings into her pockets.
Light transported her. She would dance in the lazy golden light of summer in the long grass and she would flow in the starkly white light of winter high in the mountains. A hundred spheres shining.
The signs of spring came. The melted sheen of glaciers and the chattering squall of icy streams. Tiny green buds on the alpine flowers and bright sprigs on the boughs of evergreens. It was time to go.
She arrived at the place of the long grass. An early-season firestorm had swept the fields before her, leaving charred outcroppings of stubbly stems. Fire-blackening and crackling the few scattered willows.
Simplicity swept across the field, once, twice, thrice. On the third sweep she reached into her pockets and let the goat- and bear-weavings float down onto the brittle remains of the long grass. As she dropped the furry weavings, she breathed a long slow song for her friends the mice and the grasshoppers, an elegy for the insensible.
“Who keeps the owl’s breath? Whose eyes desire? / Why do the stars rhyme? Where does / The flush cargo sail? Why does the daybook close? / So sleep and do not sleep.” – David St. John, “Elegy”