My waters have gone, much more quickly than they came, and I am left in the time after, finding my ground again. This happens every year, but usually much more slowly; a long period with nothing but water, then a slow, slow ebbing, and all the while holding my little square of frozen earth until at last there is the landscape again, mine but transformed by the water, and myself transformed as well, and I must begin again to learn it all, step by step until the next comes.
Except this year, not. This year is new, however much I may cling to the familiarity of my old calendar (being unwilling so far to take the path of the revolutionary French), and so I should not be surprised that the climate changes as well. The past came, and I did not drown, and it has gone again, and my landscape is changed, but only just, and myself — well, I am changed and changing with this constant motion of growth, but no sudden shock this time, no distillation, just myself a little damp and tired and confused and happy.
Now as I look around, seeing the puddles still left, the mud, the places where the bark came from the trees and the places where, somehow, the flowers remain in full bloom, I think of Margaret Atwood’s “After the Flood We” — especially this stanza:
fish must be swimming
down in the forest beneath us,
like birds, from tree to tree
and a mile away
the city, wide and silent,
is lying lost, far undersea.
That is from her first book of poetry, The Circle Game, from 1966 — about which I have many mixed feelings, although it is quite good poetry. But that, I think, is another post.