Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Power of One

Teasel, bent at fence


Mailboxes in the Morning

Mounds line the edges of the roads, a crusty ridge, where Wednesday’s snow was left by the township plow--a small truck with a blade. The face through the frosted windshield, the grown version of a boy I remember seeing on the playground, years ago, behind the small school at the end of the road. Not much by measure, the snow, probably less than 6 inches—but able to close down this community and most around it, in a single snowfall. The boy, now man, splitting time behind the wheel of fire truck and plow, an integral part of this rural landscape.

Ice on Golden Alexanders

With a shortage of salt this year, county roads are barely passable, the accumulation, hardened now by traffic, into dense, immovable ice. Schools have been closed for several days, businesses empty of their patrons.
And the open farm fields, that rarely disappear entirely beneath white, are trimmed by drifts extending across the ditches with graceful, wind-carved arms.

Snow on Pasture Grass

Like the dunes at the edges of the oceans, where countless grains rest and nestle together, strong until just one is dislodged--then broken and blown on the wind.

When our fields wear white, I wander,
and search until I find just one.
So fragile,
so fleeting,
so powerful,
that I would hold my breath to save it.

Can you see just one?


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Friday, January 30, 2009

And in the Bower, Birds

Laid round bare shoulders, winter white,
a veil, with diamonds dripping,

she steps slowly forward.

All stand.

And in the bower, birds.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Glass Beads (SWF)

Like a strand of glass beads, broken,
and bouncing loosely onto the roof in a million tiny pieces, the first sounds of this morning woke me with an abrupt reminder of the day’s promise—ice.
The gentle tapping at the window last evening, the fine mist I’d left falling softly in the darkness before bed, almost forgotten.
And what, in the dimness of dawn, seemed a delicate satiny glaze, with the daylight showed, in fact, a much chunkier covering. Which, with each slight sway of the tall, broad trees, repeated its shattering, as sections of the glassy layer fractured and fell in silver showers all around.

By mid-day, the freezing rain had become large flakes pouring wildly from a thick, swirling sky—
until there was no more to fall from it.
And then, in the stillness it remained,
soft and white above the night’s icing.

And I, without the demands on it of every other,
could let this day be just that.
Soft and white and still.

all photos click to enlarge

Glass Beads
Ice on Ironweed

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Get rich quick!

I’ve been overlooking the obvious--
an opportunity for a lucrative home business, right in my own back yard, just steps from my own back door! And, though I haven’t thoroughly explored this goldmine, from what I have seen, I have quite an ambitious work force already in place.
Imagine the possibilities!
No job is too big…none too small.

Now, to write a business proposal and grab a catchy name.
Web design—everybody’s doing it!

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Counting Toes

I like my seat by the window.
It seems a good gathering place—
I, on the inside, typing and looking out,
while they, from the branch look in.
For the most part, perching birds, or passerines, who, between trips to the feeders or hops along the ground, light on the small branches and rest a while. Or holding a small, black sunflower seed carefully between their toes, skillfully tap at it until they can pry a tender morsel from within.
Braced against a cold wind, I can barely see their toes, three forward and “thumb” behind, wrapped tightly and tucked in warmly beneath fluffed feathers. Reds, and blues, greens and golds--they fill this small tree with their colorful forms.
Perched throughout the branches.
And watch me watching.

Chickadee on branch

With them, but a different sort, of a different order, this little Downy, whose two-toe forward, two-toe backward stance makes him a great climber--like a parrot, not a passerine. Up and down the trunks he hops, barely pausing long enough to look around.
Never pausing to perch.
And never seeing me, tapping, from the other side of the glass.

Downy Woodpecker

Passerines, birds in the order Passeriformes, are perching birds and make up more than 50 percent of bird species in the world. They have anisodactyl feet, meaning three toes facing forward, while the hallux is behind.
Woodpeckers belong to the order Piciformes. They possess zygodactyl feet, meaning the toes are arranged in pairs, the second and third toe in front, while the fourth and hallux are behind.
Other birds with zygodactyl feet include parrots, macaws, parakeets, cuckoos, roadrunners and owls.


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Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Old Barn, in a Good Light

The Old Barn,
In a Good Light

Every day begins the same, facing west.
From my seat in the corner of the kitchen, I look out toward woods I cannot yet see, the day’s sun waiting behind me, across the yard.
Broad hickories and spindly locusts stand as black forms reaching tall,
arm in arm, into the deepest blue to say,
“This day will be a fair one.”

Through these trees each evening, I watch the last glimpse of the day’s light slip into the horizon with a great and colorful splash, while dinner bubbles and boils on the stove.
Then, moonlight until morning.
And the next begins, again.

The sun’s rising, though, I almost never see.
Except what light, from behind the barn, sneaks past to tint the tips of the trees, on that fair day—a perfect pink.

And if I rush to the edge of the yard,
and catch it creeping onto the fields,
I find it peeks into the dim east barn windows.

Sunrise on Barn

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Snow Angels

This afternoon's snow

I cheer for the few little flakes—
small clumps, actually, that fall ever so slowly on bare grass.
Like the lightest small feathers shaken loose.
Barely there.

Last week's dusting of snow is already gone, the yard soft and muddy from yesterday's hint of spring. And, though part of me waits eagerly for longer, fragrant days and the life that erupts madly with the first warm, spring rain, I’m always sad to see it go.

Snow holds so many precious memories--
of little angels.

Last week's snow

with Black Walnut shell

with Sycamore button

on gravel drive

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