Amy G Coombs

author, reader, teacher

Life Goes On

Today, caring for my failing mother, I managed to find time to take a walk. Passing under a tree, something glanced off my head and fell to the ground. It was the tip of a branch, maybe twelve inches long, six or seven full green leaves firmly attached. Similar clusters of green-leafed branches lay scattered around me on the sidewalk.

Had I been so lost in dark and anxious thoughts that I’d completely missed seeing someone trimming the tree? In the paper this morning, news of the debt-ceiling and imminent economic doom. An eight-year-old boy was abducted and murdered on his first seven-block walk from day camp to home, where his parents waited, having practiced the walk with him before allowing him to go solo. New studies show the hunting and destruction of large animals of prey causes more environmental havoc than previously assumed. My twenty-something sons are branching out into their solo lives in this scary future. My mother might be near death. Or she might pull through, but to what kind of life next?

I stepped to the side of the tree and looked up. The tree was too slim to hold an adult, and there was no cherry picker in sight. So my brain corrected from tree-trimmer to child playing.. But what did I see? A squirrel, with a branch-end bigger than her whole body clasped firmly in her mouth. Ignoring me, she crunched and manipulated the leaves for her nest of old, dry, brown material. A fresh green bed for her babies. So life goes on.

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