My early evenings after work and before dinner are usually spent alone, waiting for my husband to get home from his shift as a security officer. It's the perfect time of day to be alone, I think. The day's tensions slowly release their grasp around my shoulders, and I can cleanse myself of it all with a book and a glass of wine, or with my writing, or in doing the thing I've been meaning to do - tidy my side of the bedroom, change our sheets, clean the kitchen.
In the quiet, I resist the twinge of loneliness, the urge to turn on the radio or watch television. If I wait long enough, let my ears adjust, I can hear the world unwinding with me. Our apartment sits near an industrial park, just past a busy highway and on the edge of a forest preserve. The trees muffle the sound of trains and planes and cars so that I can hear birds going wild with the sunset, calling to each other at the end of the day as the sun slips below the horizon.
That sound, of birds, of rustling leaves, and that light, the long shadows of a day at its end, always reminds me that I am never alone, and the words of Mary Oliver and Walt Whitman meet me in that place of brief and whole contentedness...
by Walt Whitman
The spotted hawk swoops by and accuses me — he complains of my gab and my loitering.
I too am not a bit tamed — I too am untranslatable;
I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.
The last scud of day holds back for me;
It flings my likeness after the rest, and true as any, on the shadow’d wilds;
It coaxes me to the vapor and the dusk.
I depart as air — I shake my white locks at the runaway sun;
I effuse my flesh in eddies, and drift it in lacy jags.
I bequeathe myself to the dirt, to grow from the grass I love;
If you want me again, look for me under your boot-soles.
You will hardly know who I am, or what I mean;
But I shall be good health to you nevertheless,
And filter and fibre your blood.
Failing to fetch me at first, keep encouraged;
Missing me one place, search another;
I stop somewhere, waiting for you.