winter walk

snowy fallen branches

First snow, fallen on ice, canopies the woods.

Two bundled shapes tromp into the quiet

space between the trees, moving against the

three o’ clock glare into slats of shadow.

Each bootprint falls alongside an etching smaller

and more mysterious: the figure in black, with a stick in his hand,

marks each dalliance in the snow.  “Rabbit,” he writes

in pointed letters, with an arrow to show where the

animal began marking a mile-long path in three-inch

increments.  “Dog,” he proclaims—then adds a question mark,

for what if it should be “coyote” or “fox?”  Who knows

what creature crouches behind the next ridge,

under the nearby root?

throwing ice

Who knows what flicking tail

hovers in the water trickling under an opaque surface?

Trading his stick for a spear of ice, the figure in black

mans the bridge.  He will shatter winter from on high,

casting a weight onto the frozen expanse, forcing it to flow.

But ice cannot break ice; only the javelin shatters where

moments ago thrown snow burst in puffs of powder,

arms flung out like a Moravian star. The figure in mauve

perches on the snowbank, watching the creek move downhill

with a weight on its back; watching silver swords plummet from the sky,

defeated by their target.  No sound crosses the empty space, not a

crack of the creek giving way, not a sigh of branches or a crunch of

steps on the snow.  Nothing happens at all, except that the figure in black

hurls every ice hammer he can find, except that a chickadee cries

once for the figures to keep their distance, except that the sun

grins a softening grin at the hardened earth, heartily declaring a

golden victory in spring’s favor.

sun on the icy creek

Want more winter words?  Enjoy this!

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Mondate Night: birds of a feather & time together

Lovey and I traveled to a marriage conference this weekend.  As I get back into the groove of a workweek, I thought it would be appropriate to at least tip my hat to looove even though it’s too soon for me to have pulled together a post about our little getaway.  These photos are from a couple weeks ago when we visited a local museum for a fun (free!) date.

tanager (bird) display

The museum is pretty small but we still weren’t able to get through the whole thing.  We only looked at the bird exhibits.  (The bird wing?)  Lovey was pretty much racing around the room trying to identify the birds that come to our feeder.  Every so often he would exclaim, “There it is!” and I’d go over to see which one he’d found.

He was occupied with warblers and woodpeckers, but I was drawn to the beautiful birds like this peacock.  That blue is unreal, isn’t it?  And that tail–I swoon!

peacock from the front--crazy blue! peacock from the back--gorgeous tail!

The jaunty toppers on these guys amused me too.  How hilarious is God?  I can just imagine him at creation thinking, “This one needs a flourish” and adding little plumes to these birds’ heads.woodland birds--quail, etc. And then…the hummingbirds…oh, my goodness.  They’re so tiny I can barely comprehend their tininess.  I actually want to cry for them because they look so small and helpless–that’s weird, I know, but I’m affected by tiny things.  I had Hubby put up his hand to give some sense of how small they are, which only kind of helps because his hand was more than a foot away from them.  (His hand was a foot away?  There’s a pun in there; I can smell it.)teeny tiny hummingbirdsThen there was this guy.  He’s a “purple gallinule,” whatever that is, and he is one of the weirdest-looking animals I’ve ever seen.purple gallinuleHow about this display?  The most eggs I’ve ever seen in one container is eighteen, so this impressed me in terms of quantity, but also in terms of arrangement.  I like to organize, so you can imagine how pleasing it was to see so many shelves primly lined with objects in increasing size order.  Yet next to the human logic was the natural charm: eggs in various patterns and textures, some unevenly shaped, but all fascinating.eggs smallest to largestThis little guy is an ovenbird, namesake of a Robert Frost poem I have to include here because it’s lovely.  If you have time, read it slowly, and if you don’t have time, please skip it altogether rather than rushing through it.

ovenbird

The Oven Bird (Robert Frost)

There is a singer everyone has heard,

Loud, a mid-summer and a mid-wood bird,

Who makes the solid tree trunks sound again.

He says that leaves are old and that for flowers

Mid-summer is to spring as one to ten.

He says the early petal-fall is past

When pear and cherry bloom went down in showers

On sunny days a moment overcast;

And comes that other fall we name the fall.

He says the highway dust is over all.

The bird would cease and be as other birds

But that he knows in singing not to sing.

The question that he frames in all but words

Is what to make of a diminished thing.

*

It was a treat for me to finally see the little creature that inspired those lines.  When I read the poem for the first time (years ago) I didn’t know what an oven bird was.

Speaking of ovens, let’s turn to the end of the date and the dinner we ate.  Lovey had been eager to try a burger joint he passes during the day, so we went in (forgetting that a big football game was on!) and waited…and waited…for a table.  The food was worth our wait:

spicy burger and friesI had a spicy burger with pepper jack cheese, chipotle cream cheese, and jalapenos.  Yee-um!  Even the fries were a little spicier than average.  There wasn’t a chance of my taking flight after this hefty dinner, but it was fun to snuggle wing-to-wing in the booth with my lovebird.

symbols of love

man and woman silhouetted kissing in doorway

I’ve studied your habits—the way you
lower your tone to add parentheses
to your run-on sentence; the way you
lean back once you’ve added the period.
But will an ampersand ever unite us?
Could that symbol between our initials
ever amount to more than a cliché?
I wonder how many trees have grown beyond
old punctuation scars—adding ring after ring
to the layers behind declarations of love
long forgotten? Love demands exclamation marks!
Acquaintance progesses with commas,
marking entries in a list of encounters
strung together, perhaps endlessly,
headed in no definite direction.
If anything is possible between us,
aside from the elegance of a curved brace
or the agonizing pause of a semicolon,
I’m going to have to see asterisks
when I look into your eyes.