The salt marsh across the street from the park was overgrown today. Plush, shaggy and sodden. I decided to take a lap around while out walking in the rain. I was calling it a “mist” in my imagination, planning to use this word if anyone questioned my being out, but it was raining. I needed the walk more than I needed to be dry or to appear sensible.
The path dribbles off to the side in a few places, providing spotty benches for couples or cyclists to sit and look at the marsh. This path is not a circle, it wavers, rises and dips over hills, and even provides forks in the road where you must decide which way to go.
I have walked through here many times, but this was the first during which the opulent overgrowth completely obstructed the view of the gravel path. I was surprised by this but felt drawn in, as if I had been invited by some unseen force to be here. I put one foot in front of the other and used my memory to direct me, because I could see nothing but the rich grasses and a little piece of foot path right in front of me. This made me think of my coursework about teaching the visually impaired. If one is congenitally blind, there is no knowledge of what something looks like so navigation is all about using the other senses. If one is adventitiously blind, memory of sight can provide a roadmap of how to move. I was following blindly but this territory was not new to me. The long grasses reached all the open places in my trench coat and brushed water across my legs. This was the most spectacular walk I have been on for some time.
I listened for cicadas and katydids, the sounds that remind me of being a kid going back to school in early September. A couple of years ago I wrote this haiku:
Crying outside the closed door
Only one comes out.
By some standards, I know, haiku is supposed to be about nature. Me, a school door, picking up one child instead of two. I believe this pain has brought me to a place better understood by the cicadas and the deep grass than by any human means. Nature, and nature only, can swallow loss and put it in perspective. One cicada does not live long, but the song of cicadas will be there for the long run.
It is a rough time of year, September. There is no longer time to clean my house or ponder or just be. Susanna is not here to go to school and add to the list of stationary supplies I need to pick up. Susanna is not here to pick out new clothes. Susanna is not here to cheer me up. Susanna is not here. I feel full of cement. I feel full of toxins. I feel full of tears. There may be any number of things to complain about or to deal with, but nothing compares to her absence.