My neighbor scrapes old paint from the fence around his pasture, an annual chore he attends to, for he knows the white he applies revives each slat. I think of his recent essay, peeling back the layers, as he said, of online education, revealing a barren base devoid of the body’s subtle gestures— how a screen cannot replicate confusion written on a brow, engagement flashing in the eyes, or a hand touching a shoulder. How a cursor cannot translate the voice’s inflections, nuanced as the nod of his head, greeting me, while he lays down his tool to rub my dog’s ears, while he motions toward the remaining wood, tells how he’ll finish the job before winter.
Sap Moon, Crust Moon, Crow Moon— by any of its names, this moon announces, in all its fullness, worms stirring in earth’s softening center; sap thawing in the maples; snow dissolving by day, crisping by night; & calls of crows converting from haunting ballads to heralding hymns. A robin reappears, throwing off the pine cloak it hid behind all winter like a god hard to find, hard to hear, maybe hard of hearing in the ruckus wind made as it bayed across the plains & yowled in the valleys, hard to see in ice suffocating once-tasseled fields, pinecone & bayberry, numbing perhaps even wings, rendering the soft touch this moon offers almost senseless. Welcome, worms, twisting & teeming with prophecy, welcome, crows & robins, plucking these crawlers from grass now breathing green, welcome, syrup, born again, pushing through the spout, welcome, waxing light & waning dark, welcome one, welcome all, no matter your longing for answered prayer, come, sun yourself beneath the low Lenten Moon.