Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Fast and Furious Rain

December is a difficult month.
The bright, clean snows blanketing much of the country, are absent in southern Ohio, where clouded skies bring us, instead, rain.
And, for months, only shades of gray hang above the brown fields.

I work hard to keep an attitude of cheer, especially with Christmas just days away. But even I find it hard to keep joy in such gloom.

Beyond my window, Goldfinches, now in their olive drab, nestle close to the trunk of our Hawthorn—a cluster of vines wrapped densely about it, their shelter from a fast and furious rain.

Much, indeed, most of what I love has gone.
Against the white sky, the dark shapes of bare branches reveal empty nests where the colorful birds, in reds and yellows and blues, were once hidden behind summer’s green.
The surface of the pond has become quiet and still.
And even the milkweed patch, once teeming with every winged or walking insect, stands dry and withered—its few remaining seeds, waiting for the next breeze.
It would seem that with the end of the year, has come the end of it all.

Across the field, beneath tumbling clouds pushed by a strong wind, I went to the vernal pool—where, last spring, Spotted salamanders gathered to dance beneath its cool water on a dark, moonless night.
And wood frogs sang the first notes of spring’s great chorus.
Sending the next generation out, from water to woods, the last days of summer dried it, and, as it should, left it empty and waiting.

For four months I have waited, too, as brown grasses and faded leaves have filled the dry basin.
Wondering when water would return.
And the pools, again, start their cycle.

First water in Little Pond Pool
December 17, 2008

In this time of so many endings, today, it has happened.
The first drops of cool water, left standing, still clearly there.

Now beginning, even as all else ends.

First Water in Wood Pool
December 17, 2009

From the archives

Spring 2008
Little Pond Pool, full

Spotted Salamander returning to Little Pond Pool
March 2008

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NCmountainwoman said...

Yes, this is how the healing begins. Just like the rain returns, so will your joy.

nina said...

Carolyn, I wish you could have seen me standing there, my toes covered...just so happy to see the water return.
Knowing that, even as it looks lifeless all around, the first subtle changes have begun.

Tom said...

Nina- You and I are feeling pretty similar. I guess it is time to start the countdown to spring.


Deborah Godin said...

I can sure identify with your yearning for spring. Hard not to with such wonderful creatures awaiting with us, like the little spotted guy. I love salamanders, we used to have a lot of Tiger sals. out west, which I could never quite figure out, it was so dry. Now in the east, I'm looking forward to finding some whole new species, as well as maybe some old friends. Loved this poetic and photographic "essay" on the seasons.

Lynne said...

I understand your feelings.
Winter sleep is here, but the changes, unseen are happening.
I'm wishing brighter days your way Nina.

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Sarah Laurence said...

Nina, I love your blog banner and theme. Sorry to hear about the brown and grey. I do wish I could share a corner of my white blanket. Still, your photos and words still paint a pretty picture. Such a cute salamander! I enjoyed all of your nature shots in posts below too.

giggles said...

Soon, oh so very soon, the days will begin to get longer again, and with it, the hopes that more sun will help us, flora and fauna, all!

Cicero Sings said...

"Weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning!" Psalms

Cold, cold, cold here and white!

RHCarpenter said...

In northern KY we are experiencing many grey days and rain - but when those clouds start scooting across the sky, they are so amazing! Look up at this time of year, Nina, and enjoy the show! And if you're lucky, you'll get a glimpse of pure cerulean blue amidst the grey :)

dAwN said...

Wishing you a joyful Holiday season...loved your mournful story...

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Nina, You have a gift for writing.. I enjoyed your post--and it certainly makes me yearn for spring also. BUT--I'm a gal who also loves winter. I love walking when it's COLD outside. Of course, here in TN, we don't get TOO cold usually. I love the smells of wood smoke coming from our chimney. I will admit that I will be thrilled when Spring gets here--but right now, I'm enjoying winter.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but I am just getting in the swing of winter things. So much beauty.

Cynthia said...

Nina, I enjoyed your nature photos and remembered what it was like to have distinct seasons. I live in the Caribbean; when the wind and rain wips around the pine and palm trees, I feel we have weather. The area looks a lot like southern Michigan. I used to feel so melancholy during the late winter months when I lived there. We had a little pond in the back field and I would walk out there to see if it was filling up. Our basement would fill up too! My father would wade in with knee high rubber boots and we would all hope there wasn't a live electrical wire. Those photos remind me of how often I'd go for a walk in the fields and woods and my mind would fill with excitement and expectation.

Susan Gets Native said...

I'm just glad we got our roof fixed this past summer. We would have ice in the attic now if not.

You know, a nice pure snow and then lots of bright sunlight would do just fine, wouldn't it? Make all this drear bearable.

Hugs to you, Nina.

Mary said...

Just a few months away, Nina. You'll take your walks and find what you need.

Rain, glorious rain... We've had 8 straight days of low light, clouds, mist... Right now, it's raining. Tired of it? Yes! But, after a 3 year drought, I'm also thankful.

Your Christmas spirit will show. I'm looking for it, too.


Marvin said...

Just one more day and the days will start getting longer again.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Hang in there Nina. The days will begin to get longer now. It won't be long...

BPOTW said...

and just when we think we can't take another day the first signs of spring arrive giving us hope. You've captured everything perfectly. Are you anywhere near Chillicothe? Not that I'm trying to stalk you or anything, my husband's family is from there ;)

Thanks for sharing your post with Best Posts of the Year!