After a while, my restless mind wandered beyond its regular haunts to where my housebound body couldn’t go. Against fair afternoons’ sunlight fractured by a thousand spindly branches better for kindling than for climbing, the Linden tree outside became a faraway forest. Other days the wind blew pearl-sized rain drops that ran like silver streams down the bay windows. Under the harvest moon, the back porch transformed into the deck of a sailboat on the South Pacific where I breathed sweet salty air. I yearned for forests and ocean voyages and had learned to summon them at will.
Between lurid broadcasts, podcasts, twitters and tweets, updates of grim statistics on disease and death, ominous forecasts about the new world order yet to come, I fed on books about Cook and Drake and that rascal Walter Raleigh. Together, we rounded the Horn, got tattooed in Tahiti and scoped the shores of Suriname for rivers inland to El Dorado. Later, I wandered the Western Plains with Paul Kane and paddled the Northern forests of Ontario and Quebec with Radison, at night sleeping under the heavenly aurora borealis, by day witnessing the golden era of an ancient civilization not yet crushed by pestilence and God. In time, my days became a foamy wake trailing behind me as I waded neck deep through the rivers and sailed the seven seas of my mind on the voyage I had summoned.
(Maybe fake) news: somebody said that at the peak of the pandemic in China people were welded into their apartments to force them into self-isolation. Here, at the school across the street they wrapped yellow caution tape around the outdoor basketball hoops.
I wonder what Al Purdy would’ve made of it all.