Tag Archives: spring

Narrative for a May Morning

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Mist lying in the deep valleys,
sunrise on white windmills, fresh cool air
blowing down from Canada after the rain.
Heard the mate-seeking brag of the rufous sided towhee
before I spotted him posing at the top of the thicket.

On my walk home, I passed a pair of teenage girls
boarding the school bus, talking animatedly
oblivious to the morning chill
in their summer shorts and tiny tops.

A kid pulled out right behind the bus in a banged up Toyota.
He grasped the wheel at ten and two,
wearing a frown of concentration and a baseball cap pulled low.
His studied air made me think he had timed it just so!
Because who wants to be stuck behind a school bus?
Except a guy with a shiny new driver’s license and a second hand car.

Did he hope that every time the bus wheezed to a stop
the girls would turn in the back seat and sneak glances at him,
gazing casually off into the distance,
and note the slight bob of his head keeping time
with the rock tune playing loud through his out-sized speakers?

Perhaps he dreamed of catching a small finger ripple from the redhead,
a half wave that could be turned into a hair flick if not reciprocated.
Did he hesitate for a second – who me?
Before realizing that yes, there was no one else around,
so that yes, that slight dimple in the cheek and finger flutter
must be for him. And yes, I imagined the slow creeping grin
and the deep hollow of lust and loneliness in his gut
flooding with happiness.

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Joshua Tree

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In late March I had the great pleasure of staying in a cottage on the edge of Joshua Tree National Park, California. Each day I hiked and explored with my family. Having never spent time in a desert before, the landscape was a totally new environment for me. What made it even more amazing was that we had arrived at the cusp of winter and spring.

Everywhere I looked I could see new life bursting out of seemingly dead plants and shrubs. It was breathtaking to watch the full moon sink behind the snow caps of the San Bernadino mountains as the sun rose, blushing the mountains of the park. My ears soon tuned in to the noisy cactus wren that sang from the top of a telephone pole and the courting of white winged doves. Each morning  I watched for the Anna’s humming bird that visited the new blooms of the manzanita tree. My son and I would visit the wash behind the cottage to examine the footprints in the sand–ground squirrel, jack rabbit, lizard. We learned the names of the many cacti in our yard as they came into flower. And chasing him up and over the huge golden granite boulders in the park, I felt like a little kid all over again.

I came home renewed and not a little in love.

Bear

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Bear belly crawls out of her den
limbs heavy with winter lassitude
paws her way up through rootball, fieldstone, clay
two wide-eyed young nudge her flanks:
this bright new world is safe?

She noses the air
examines numerous scent trails
wild garlic, beetle larva, dead deer
food sources for her depleted body

Too many options

For a moment she sits and basks
black coat a magnet for a patch of sunlight
The muffled thrum of her own heartbeat—
sole companion under the snow—
quickens now with the sap pulsing through green wood
and the call of the cardinal from the top of the maple

She shakes her head, sending dust flying
swats away the young nuzzling for a teat
sways to all fours and sets off
pushing through briars
burrs catching in her winter fur
April wind cutting a ruff around her neck

She leaves a path of scuffed loam and flattened leaves in her wake.

Tuesday, April 21st, 1.45 pm

DSCF3115Color has thrust itself on the landscape
In quick short jabs—hyacinth blue, daffodil yellow, robin red
If I had a net I could reel in the clouds like a flock of white doves
The mantra begins—mint oregano raspberry sage

Sitting amongst dandelions
I dream of wine, mellow and ripe
The sweetness of honey on my tongue
And an orange tree grown from seed.

I feel the upward thrust through the soles of my feet
First rhubarb nubbins pushing out of the dirt
First purple violets in the lawn
First handsome dandelion by the garden door.

The old cat knows it
She’s been prancing up the black walnut like a skittish kitten
Squirming luxuriously in the new grass
Rubbing her chin against some smell that I can’t even get a whiff of.

The calm air is painted with birdsong
Sun dries the ink on the page
The tug of war between Sun and Moon
Pulls the slow earth from winter to spring.

 

SPRING BREEZE

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A wind came in the window.
Like a small feral creature,
It took a turn around the room,
Tossing birthday cards upon the floor,
Chasing stale air out of corners,
Whisking dust bunnies off the stairs.
In its wake it left an invisible trail
Of greenery and fresh earth,
Buffeting me from my lethargy.
How could I not step outside and join
Such a boisterous playmate?

BIRTH DAY for Milo

Monet's Magpie

The Magpie by Claude Monet, 1869

Your birth, I remember it well,
Born on the cusp of spring,
The essence of it stamped on my memory:
Unexpected April heat, my heavy, restless body pushing through thick air
Walking the loop—up the hill, down by the graveyard, alongside the woods,
Anticipation mounting with each contraction,
Rattling my teeth with nervous energy.

And all around, a building storm,
Earth barely containing the rising tide of sap,
A river of new life surging along branch tips, swelling the buds.

Third child and well attended, I had the rhythm of things down,
The cyclical understanding that roots into the fabric.
An understanding of the flow of things,
The current that would drive me along.
The midwife could see that and left me to labor in peace.

Peace in pain, a strange eye of the storm,
When you push the walls away from you,
Allowing the breath to come; release.

The walls of the room dissolved,
The energy of the womb focused
On that postcard-sized snow-settled landscape,
The magpie seated on the farmyard gate,
Illuminated by soft winter sunlight,
Patiently waiting for spring.

And when I stepped out into the world again
Carrying you, my new born, in a soft swaddling of blankets,
The pear trees were wreathed in white blossom.

LISTENING FOR PEEPERS

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Late afternoon and the March wind
Has battered herself out.
I open the window, listening for tree frogs.
Not a trill; ice still deep on the pond.
Spring has hit the snooze button.

A flicker probes the shriveled grass,
For worms stirring in the soil.
Listen! Wing beats.
Straggling threads of Canada geese
Trail across the sky, heading north.

There’s a yellow sheen on the willow.
A shift in the earth’s chemistry.
The trickle of ice crystals melting,
And the bitter green scent
Of shepherd’s purse and hen’s bit.

Venus and the silver crescent rising.
A ’possum patters across the deck,
Poking its snout into damp corners,
Listening and hoping
To hear the mucusy slithering of a slug.

Coyotes rove through the fields,
Invade my dreams,
Yip and howl,
Snapping at each other’s heels.
Blood is up with the spring moon.

Startling me out of sleep,
The throaty love song
Of a barred owl
Wraps the woods in profundity
As continuous as Earth’s revolution.
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