Parting Glances: A 135-Year-Old Request Fulfilled

By |2021-04-27T11:13:05-04:00April 1st, 2021|Opinions, Parting Glances|

I celebrated the return of Spring three weeks ago by helping to fulfill a 135-year-old request by America’s beloved poet, Emily Dickinson (1830-1886).
That recent memorable day in March was occasioned by what poet Emily might say was radiantly highlighted by “a certain slant of light.”
It was sunny. Warm. Brilliant … nature stirring. Sixty-five degrees of newly reawakened Spring.
The occasion was indeed all that, and so very much, much more to me.
I was having an impromptu lunch and outdoor celebration with two good friends I had known, admired and worked closely with for slightly over 30 years: Jan Stevenson and Susan Horowitz, the newly retired co-publishers of Between The Lines Newspaper.
Because of the ever-looming darkness and oppression of COVID-19, Jan, Susan and I had not seen each other for a gloomy, oppressive, social-distancing year.
Our reunion was given a comforting, hopeful touch because as we reunited, all three of us had each gotten our two COVID-19 vaccinations weeks before.
Seemingly out of the surrounding bluest of blue skies, we had an unexpected drop-in guest as well.
“Well. Well! Look who here,” Jan said. “A robin! A sure sign that Spring is either here or on its longed-for way.”
“Share this,” said Susan, handing me a convenient table cookie that I crumbled and tossed artfully in the direction of our winged guest who unexpectedly flew away.
“Birds are smart,” Susan observed. “This one wants just a few crumbs more.”
I tossed two, three, four and, indeed, the clever robin returned and stayed put. It ate contentedly and took off again. Mission accomplished.
I recalled to mind an Emily Dickinson poem that was her heartfelt, poetic request that we, reunited three, had also just honored that unblemished Spring-returns-to-Michigan day.
Emily wrote a century ago:
“If I shouldn’t be alive / when the robins come / give the red cravat a memorial crumb — / If I couldn’t thank you, / being fast asleep, / You will know that I am trying / with my granite lip.”
So honored to do so, Emily. Kind thanks for your eternal verse. Virtual hugs to you from Jan, Susan, Charles and our, somewhat flighty, winged guest.

About the Author:

Charles Alexander