Sunday, summer. Hot. Humid.
Nearly a hundred at a quarter til noon.
How the world stays plump and green in this steam, I do not know.
In the opposite lane, warming itself: a box turtle. No—a pinecone.
In my lane, warming itself: a shredded fan belt. No—a king snake.
Wheels dodge, spin past.
By the old Whatley place, two does materialize. From the furry green ditch, their eyes ask permission. I slow. They traverse the double yellow line, as always graceful yet unsure, as always one at a time.
A squirrel, bushy tail an eternal question mark, never asks permission. Zig-zag-zig-zigzig-zag-ZIG! across pavement and almost-not-safely into tall grass.
In the hollow by the Primitive Baptist cemetery, a great blue heron glides across the tops of the pines. Black-tipped wings, yellow legs, crooked flight-neck: hello, hello, goodbye.
All an omen, all a blessing—all a signal of hope.
© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)