After graduation, after a divorce, after an election
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Ellery Akers is a writer, artist, and naturalist who lives in Marin County, California. Her most recent book of poetry is Swerve: Environmentalism, Feminism, and Resistance. She spends as much time as possible sitting in a camp chair in the wilderness, writing, drawing, and looking at birds.
I’d broken up with my boyfriend, and my sister had broken up with hers and sprained her ankle. She was furious and weeping and mad at herself for weeping, because her mascara was running. She sat in front of her mirror and stroked on fresh mascara, picked up her false eyelashes and stuck them on as if she hated them, slapped her cheeks with her powder puff so hard that powder floated around her in the air.
By the time I left college and became a naturalist, I knew that change was slow and difficult. At thirty I felt stuck, as if my life had stiffened around me, and for some reason, perhaps unconscious at the time, I began to get interested in insect metamorphosis.