Magazine article First Things; A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life

Skiffling Shuffling Skittering Scuffling

Magazine article First Things; A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life

Skiffling Shuffling Skittering Scuffling

Article excerpt

As I am sitting at the stoplight under the maple and oak and cedar trees

I see three tiny kids skiffling and shuffling and skittering and scuffling

In the leaves-bigleaf maples, mostly, but also some oak, and a serious

Drift of fir and cedar needles-duff is the word for that, a delicious one,

Is it not? They are maybe five years old, these three moppets, and I hear

Their bus groaning a ways behind me, but they are totally into sculpting

Little hills and ridges of leaves, and I can hear them giggling, and in one

Minute the bus will hold out its arms and absorb them, and the parade is

Starting to move in front of me, but for another perfect instant I can hear

And see them skiffling and giggling, and smell the sharp savory death of

The brilliant leaves, and see the shoulder of the mom or aunt or neighbor

In the lee of the apartment building, where she is just lighting a cigarette,

And we get these moments all day long, don't we, we get them all month

And week and year all our lives, such a flood and flow of them, too many

To count, too many to endure, they are too generous and savory and holy,

We could not bear to see and savor and sing them all; we would go blind. …

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