It is everlastingly funny that the proud, metaphysically ambitious, clamoring mind
will hush if you give it an egg writes Annie Dillard in her essay about a total eclipse
which she watched a hilltop in Washington state. As the “monstrous swift shadow
cone of the moon” rushed toward her and everyone else on the hilltop,
screams filled the air. Then the eclipse ended and she went out for breakfast.
She had a fried egg and felt better. Perhaps this is why in tough times
people buy baby chicks, though it will be months before they produce eggs.
Yesterday in the grocery story the security guard sitting at the sliding doors
next to the on-sale oranges smiled at me as I entered. A man wearing an actual
N95 respirator passed me on his way out, carrying a brown bag and a bouquet
of Gerber daisies. And that was the thing, finally, that made me burst into tears,
the man in the mask with a handful of flowers, the utter lunacy of it.
But my mind was obedient, after a moment, and pulled itself together,
and led my body to the coolers where the eggs are kept, and eggs were there,
and I bought my allotted two cartons and drove home.