Goundhogs and Fireflies

img_20200618_200022356It’s summer with all the luxurious roses and the brilliant buttercups that enchant a young photographer. Today’s image was made by my granddaughter who has suddenly developed an interest in photography.

It is tremendously hot in Montreal and the good weather has been holding for days. I thoughtlessly planted a lovely rosebush on my mother’s grave about 10 days ago and watering it has been something of a chore. Because of Covid 19 access to the big mountain cemetery has been limited to late afternoon and  evening. Only one entrance can be used by cars. I am on foot and that means I have been getting my exercise by walking from the gate at the higher level through the old section with its wonderful trees and monuments and then up a steep incline to the top where my mother’s black headstone sits baking in the merciless sun. Fortunately a dear friend has been giving me a lift from time to time. Besides the inaccessibility of the site, the taps set here and there for relatives to water their plants and shrubs have mainly run out of water. I scout around on lower levels to find a tap that works or when I get a lift bring my own water! We met a widower the other day who promised to water my mother’s precious rose bush. It  is already blooming with many pink blossoms. However, I know I will not rest until the heat wave is over and I can trust rain to once again take over my duties.

The groundhogs, you ask? I saw two lovely ones up in the cemetery and then, as if to remind me of my responsibilities the next day – – a fat one in my city garden. He was bustling away under the fence. When he heard me he turned as if to say, “Well, is there a problem here?” and off he went.

Fireflies appeared that evening as I was watering my plants in the blessed darkness. I have a stubborn clematis that does not want to open its magnificent purple blooms, but it too will yield to the heat and length of days. In the meantime the little flashing lights, pulsating with mysterious life in the dense leaves, remind us that other lives, other forces are at work.

Covid 19 Test

person hand on steering wheel

Photo by Lê Minh on Pexels.com

 

Magic bus driver in the Covid screening bus,

you don’t take my ticket through the low slot

of the plastic barrier that cuts the wattage

of your brilliant smile.

You take my medicare card, sanitized, in order.

In return, you, the driver, give me a ticket.

The three magic questions,” Do you have symptoms?, Have you been

in contact ….?” The right answers, any answers grant me admission to the

bus with no seats.

Nurses (later I learn they are not nurses) decked out in Covid regalia on the

hottest day of the year, wait to test me in the bus with no seats.

Four cubicles. A figure in a sanitary burka peers at me.

A Quebec scandal!

“anglais ou francais, Madame?” Through the barrier of our masks and

my diminished hearing, we arrive at the compromise of “franglais”.

a ping-ping of both languages in which we are both fluent.

A long swab down my throat elicits a discrete gag on my part.

Then the nose. “Sit still” I tell myself, “If Trump can do this every morning,

you can do it this once.”

All done and I am released through the back door of the magic bus.

Like a sheep guided through the “it’s for your own good” dip,

out I go into the blazing parking lot of my beloved library.

Why did I test? As we say in Quebec, “Le coeur a ses raisons.”

Magic bus driver, stop giving tickets! Take the wheel.

Let the wheels of your bus grow light, transparent, buoyant,

Slam down the gas pedal and carry us away from

Montreal, plague city, city of wary looks, masks, no touch, death.

The next day an email. Negative. For today.