Yesterday, I trimmed the one hedge that occupies our small bit of property. I always wait until the purple flowers bloom, wait until the bees have danced and pollinated, wait until the blossoms are no more. The waiting creates a wild display of California Lilac branches, sticking this way and that way, perhaps an eyesore to those who prefer an angled bush.
Gripping my hedge clippers, I powered up and cut wide swaths eight inches deep into the top of the hedge, until I was met with the nest pictured here. At my meeting, a quivering bird, flat and low, shook atop its egg. Stunned and concerned, I covered the nest with a few of the soft branches I had cut away, in hopes the bird would feel safe. I held off on more trimming until today, but alas, the bird had left its nest, left its egg, and here I am, staring at the result of all the choices made by a woman and a bird that led to this moment: a half-formed chick, a fly in amber, a freezing, a stunting, a stopping, a sigh, a wish.
In Volume 2, Issue 3 of Club Plum, unfinished business–or is it finished business?–rustles the pages. We hear it in the acceptance of women in snow, in the cries of women on beaches, in the grasping of women in bathrooms, and in the “whispers of breeze” near forest floors. Business that will be finished one day without doubt, we hear in the strong yet fragile steps of women who tread with caution, and in the steps high–so high–of women whose tread is resilience. Whose tread is determination. Whose tread is a call.
Please step inside. We are so happy you are here.
Yours in words and art,
Thea Swanson is a feminist atheist who holds an MFA in Writing from Pacific University in Oregon. She is the Founding Editor of Club Plum Literary Journal, and her poetry, fiction, essays and reviews are published in places such as World Literature Today, Mid-American Review and Northwest Review.