Acupuncture After The Apocalypse

Off In The Middle Distance

This house I’m occupying has a view of Lake Michigan—can you believe it? I see the sun rise over blue water from the comfort of a king-sized bed with a quilt so fluffy it’s like sleeping in a cumulus cloud.

This morning when I awoke, I lifted the pleated window shade before I turned to the more serious business of rising. The greatest feat of strength I accomplish each day is getting out of bed in the morning. I’ve never been one for transitions: when I’m asleep, I want to stay that way. When I’m awake, I don’t want to go to bed. If I’m working, I don’t want to stop. If I’m not working, I don’t want to start.

I wonder how you, my dear son, manage the monastery agenda with four a.m. wake-up bells and ninety minutes of pre-dawn chanting.

When I glanced out the window, out on the lawn were three coyotes. One was sniffing around the lilac hedge; one was lying down in the wet grass; and another was sitting up, alertly watching the lake’s waves off in the middle distance. The one lying down appeared to be licking something it was holding between its front paws.

Later, before I got into the car to drive to work, I strolled over to where the coyotes had been. A disgusting internal organ from an ill-fated creature lay in the grass, half buried. A crow watched me from a branch as if it was wondering if I was going to throw myself on that unappetizing morsel and devour it, or whether I might leave it for him.

Jill Riddell is a writer in Chicago. She teaches at the School of the Art Institute and has a weakness for nature, magic, and pennies abandoned in sidewalk cracks.