This morning, after the last of the rain, across the street on the new, brave grass, several pairs of cardinals grazed the space between the curb and the sidewalk. The soft earth of late March must offer so much to the beak.
This scene is most unusual, the plump males strutting and pecking, strutting some more, their mates at their wing or gathering together for some chatter. There are always flashes of red in the treetops, the single whistle I know so well. But to see them on the street, unflustered, not timid is not a norm.
Foot traffic past the house on both sides of the street is rare. The buses that line the block for 15 – 20 minutes at 8:20 a.m and 2:15 p.m five days a week for dropoff and pickup of participants of the adult day center are absent. So is the gaggle of drivers smoking and waiting to pull into the lot across the street in succession.
The rumbling bass line from the music venue a block away is gone. The drone of the leased tour buses through the night is as well.
The church is quiet and dark. Monday night Bible study, the young pastor running in for something he forgot or to check on something in his office, the band of ardent young musicians singing for the Lord, the families on Sunday morning have all been hushed.
Even the dogs are quiet. They feel it. The air, full of absence. The air, full of confusion and fear. The air undisturbed at rush hour. The air belongs to flying things right now. Then they land to graze like chickens in the yard.