In Linda Rand’s latest Pandemic Diaries entry “From the Perspective of an Inanimate Object,” she shares a diary entry from a year ago, when COVID was fresh but established, imagining the perspective of a statue in her garden.
(written one year ago, April 2020)
Much has changed since the end of last year. You used to come out here with wine, glowing amber lights, and he would smoke a joint. Wet drips from branches, errant yellow leaves, it seemed you two were close. But now that I think of it, you had an air of renounced happiness. Subdued, you were an audience for one. Then the lights weren’t turned on anymore, and the only company I had were the crows and dogs, as the geese honked their nasal farewells.
Winter came and all the branches were bare, the ground slumbered, sometimes rain pitter pattered on the tin roof nearby or through the branches upon my stone slab. I didn’t mind the solitude in my garden alcove, the worms curled into little wreaths at my feet. In the coldest part of winter, I dreamed of you and the baby in summer. Nursing her under a pulsing blue sky, laundry flapping on the line, acrobatic hummingbirds, carnelian dragonflies. I dreamed of the eclipse and crescent moon shadows glistening like fish scales. I dreamed of fat blackberries and whispers of rose petals upon my face. I dreamed of the heat and crawling legs of insects.
Then the faintest beginning of spring stirred, and I was roused as little crocus fronds began to stir and tickle the earth. They raised their purple faces proud, before becoming dejected by the rain that slithered down my feathers, mirrored in the fractured puddles. The roots pushed underneath to extract nourishment, and I realized the rhythms of the neighborhood had changed. No more rushing cars from the driveways, children being called to hurry for school, no slamming doors. Daffodils nodded their cheerful heads, robins and stellar jays jostled, their eager beaks in profile, calling or jabbing. Grape hyacinth permeated the landscape with their plump and tender orbs.
I didn’t see you for a long time. You’d leave the porch light on all day. The car didn’t move. The silence was so complete it was redundant, like an empty promise. I tried seeing far to the horizon, to take in the empty streets, the invisible line keeping all the people inside.
I see you examining areas of the yard with a faraway look on your face. There is a prescient energy, an expectant thrum.
I heard you begin to open the windows in the morning. When the sun grew strong, I saw you investigating the new buds on the lilac. You tried to start the lawnmower over and over. You opened the gas and oil caps, shifted different configurations of gears, pulled the starter, finally wrestled it up and back into the shed.
You’d come out and have coffee. The baby, now a toddler, frolicked around with the dogs like a curly lamb. You made the boy come out and read Siddhartha in a lawn chair in the sun. I see you examining areas of the yard with a faraway look on your face. There is a prescient energy, an expectant thrum.
More sunny days passed, and you cut the blackberry back, got the mower to finally run. You examined the thorns on the baby hawthorn tree, the fuzzy leaves of the comfrey, strolled around and around excited. I can feel neighbors stirring in their yards, changing out of their pajamas, moving rocks in their gardens, grilling food and talking.
Now, I’m surrounded by bluebells and pansies, while lily of the valley are beginning to push through. There are fuzzy bees visiting for a sip here and there. You come out often as part of your routine and you like to visit me. Sometimes, you’ll smile as a text comes in.
(Photo by Linda Rand)