|For only a moment --|
A long, black file [of ants] marches across the soft wood like a sprawling prehistoric sentence. Each jointed body is an unpronounced letter, or an unspoken word, on its way to an idea hidden somewhere deep in the green mind of the woods. I follow the ants with my eyes until they hit their end mark, a dead sweat bee, where they heap up into a writhing mass of legs and mandibles.
...I had never thought that Chicago would stretch north around the lake this far. Or that this little cabin we cobbled together here in the woods might someday be part of a Chicago suburb. But I think it’s possible, which is ironic, and depressing, and a bit amusing. Particularly now, as I walk through the woods, watching and wondering when the new neighbors will arrive, when the coyotes will move in.
|Life is fleeting, as spring itself|
The signs for the airport led them away from the lake, out of downtown, up into residential streets of wood-frame houses. A few of the roofs had collapsed up here, most under the weight of fallen trees. In the morning light there was beauty in the decrepitude, sunlight catching in the flowers that had sprung up through the gravel of long-overgrown driveways, mossy front porches turned brilliant green, a white blossoming bush alive with butterflies. This dazzling world.
In the en suite bathroom, Kirsten closed her eyes for just a second as she flipped the light switch. Naturally nothing happened, but as always in these moments she found herself straining to remember what it had been like when this motion had worked: walk into a room, flip a switch and the room floods with light. ... She ran her fingertips over a blue-and-white china box on the bathroom counter, admired the rows of Q-tips inside....
On silent afternoons in his brother’s apartment, Jeevan found himself thinking about how human the city is, how human everything is. We bemoaned the impersonality of the modern world, but that was a lie, it seemed to him; it had never been impersonal at all. There had always been a massive delicate infrastructure of people, all of them working unnoticed around us, and when people stop going to work, the entire operation grinds to a halt. No one delivers fuel to the gas stations or the airports. Cars are stranded. Airplanes cannot fly. Trucks remain at their points of origin. Food never reaches the cities; grocery stores close. Businesses are locked and then looted. No one comes to work at the power plants or the substations, no one removes fallen trees from electrical lines. Jeevan was standing by the window when the lights went out.
|Clouds and cool mornings are beautiful, too|