Mothering

Observations Brought Back From The Zoo

by Marcia Aldrich

snow leopardNothing is simple. Nothing is pure. Sorrow folds inside the wings of happiness. And, as Louise Bogan says, “At midnight tears run into your ears.”

•••

Late last April, when the fist of winter in Michigan was finally letting go, I sat in my tiny office and received the news that my essay “The Art of Being Born” had been selected for inclusion in The Best American Essays. I let out a little whooping sound that died quickly, and then I bounded into the hall looking for someone to tell. The hall was empty. I took big gulps of air and sighed. I even hit my chest to quiet its banging. Returning to my office, my euphoria began to trouble me. Didn’t I remember how once before, when I was carried away with my own good fortune, I looked through the windows of my dining room and watched as my neighbor’s hospital bed was wheeled out the front door? Roger had died that morning, the morning of my good news.

Nothing is simple, no one emotion comes without the accompaniment of another, the wolf inside the grandmother, the tears running into the ears.

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