Tag Archives: Fear

Courage at Twilight: Covid Blues

The wedding is in three days, the last of many weddings and receptions and courts of honor and baby blessings to enliven Mom’s and Dad’s beautiful back yard over two decades, under the big tent. And we are getting ready.  Since neither Dad nor I can face yardwork this week, Dad hired a man to string trim and mow the lawn to wedding-standard perfection.  But the man’s mower had a flat tire and every pass left high spots on one side and stripes of drying grass on the other.  The man promised to come back later after his other jobs, but his truck broke down.  So Dad offered to mow the lawn himself (Dad: “I can ride my own mower”), and the man promised to come back tomorrow and string trim (Dad: “but I can’t string trim”).  Dad moved on to scrape the peeling garage side access door, prepping for new paint, while I pulled weeds and crab grass in the flower beds—we each lasted half an hour—whereupon we retired to our respective recliners, him for an onion sandwich and me to use my literal lap top to address the latest urgent legal problem that couldn’t (wouldn’t) wait for my recovery.  My home office sits above the garage, and the electric rumble of the automatic door motor, embedded in the floor joists of my office, startles me every time.  After the door climbed its track today, I heard a woman’s wailing and I bolted barefoot for the garage, racing with the image of Dad dead on the concrete floor and Mom weeping unconsolably over him.  But the garage was quiet, and Mom’s car was gone, and Dad was going round two with the door frame—and a branch chipper ground away down the street, sounding every bit the wailing old woman.  As my heart settled a bit, I wondered at my paranoid catastrophic jumping to unwarranted conclusions based on some perhaps far-off future.  You worry too much!  (I know).  Brad, a nice neighbor, brought his muscle truck and yellow straps to wrestle the 800-lb. brick knocked over mailbox back into its hole, and Ray wandered over to help, and Darrell, and every car driving by stopped to comment and encourage, but Dad had to watch from his chair, feeling useless, and I chose to watch from my upstairs office window, feeling useless, because I was not going to be the person who gave Brad and Ray and Darrell and Mom and Dad this modern plague of Covid-19 like the giving person who shared it with me in Dallas last week, despite the fancy hep filters and my liberal use of germ killer.  I’m just glad Dad was not lying on the concrete floor with Mom wailing, and the wedding can enjoy the celebration it deserves.

Wind (Poem)


Summer winds rip through the funnel of the Stockton bar and down across the Tooele valley floor where we live.  Or they fly in from the north across the Great Salt Lake.  Either way they tear at the siding and roof shingles and rattle the house, making sleep impossible.  Frightened children wander to the foot of our bed hoping to be welcomed up to sleep with us, happy even to sleep on the floor curled up in their quilts.  This poem describes how nothing frightens me like the wind.


Nothing frightens me like
a million whispers rushing
through a million forest leaves,
coalescing into crescendo and
a horrifying howl,
a gusty, sibilant scream,
a prolonged and violent accusation.
rattles my home,
shakes my bed,
shivers my nerves.
disturbs my well-gelled image,
exposing me: unkempt and scattered.
bellows dirt into my eyes and nose and throat;
I squint and cough and curse.
batters and tears as
I fight for footing.
whips up the storms
that stir the deep and hidden things,
monsters that slink mysteriously about,
revealing themselves in
cursings and covetings, in
lashings and lustings.
Give me
driving Rain,
booming Thunder,
sizzling Lightning,
desiccating Sun:
I embrace them.
But keep away the