Monday, December 07, 2015

Morning Report From My Western Window

There is a window in my bedroom wall that faces west through which, when I am inside looking out, I can see the rise of a mountain, its flanks like bits of blue paint splashed between the trees that grow close to the house. At this time of year, late autumn, the ground is papered brown with fallen leaves and every branch and twig is gilded by the early morning sunlight. Through bare branches I can even glimpse the pond across the road where geese are gathering by the hundreds to plan their journey south. A gray squirrel scampers in the leaves, a cardinal flaunts its jeweled feathers, a chickadee pipes a morning tune. All that I see is natural – birds, water, trees, mountain, sky. I’ve made none of these, own none of them. They frame my day, I move among them. They are what’s outside that window. They don’t come in.

Ah, but I can go out. I can gaze into my house from the other side of that window and see what the trees, the squirrel, the birds might see if they cared to look in. Should it be a surprise that the first thing I notice in that window is me, looking back at me? There I stand, reflected, surrounded by sunlit trunks, gazing into my own eyes. Only when I change my focus can I see the room I’ve left, the walls beyond reflection, the window in the east wall, my computer where I’ll record all this, the wall of book-crowded shelves, the ceramic turkey I’ve forgotten to replace with something more Christmasy. I notice that from the outside my window looks dark, the result of all that’s reflected in the glass while from the inside, the window looks quite clear and bright. I can see out far better than I can see in, but when I step close to the window and shade my eyes with my hands there is my room, my things, what I’ve made and what I own, what I am, really, reflected in things.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

When the Geese Go

Written on a blue paper sky,
late autumn sentences are spelled out with twigs,
punctuated by small, black birds.

A sketch of leafless trees,
colored-pencil straight,
line up in shades of gray and brown.

Tales of a winter hillside,
an ice-skimmed pond,
geese listening for their cue

to close the book,
leaving silence and snow

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Pond at Dawn

Sunday morning prompt: Wake up some part of your participation in nature – what will please you when you go out there, what will delight you, what is offered – use all senses.

At first I was aware
only of the outer me,
face in the cold, damp air,
hands stuffed in warm pockets,
feet planted in the bedraggled grass at pond’s edge.

Wavelets moved in stately fashion
in response to a breeze I barely felt.
A single white swan floated.
A single gray heron flapped.
A single black crow called.

In that moment I felt myself let go.
My heart beat—measured, stately—
matched the waves
that bore the swan,
that lured the heron,
that listened to the crow.

I was the wave, the birds, the minimum breeze.
My breath was theirs,
their heartbeats mine,
in that consciousness that holds us all at once

in the palm of its hand.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Month of Losses, Month of Gains

November is the spare season.
Nature’s bones show
in the ribbed rocks
and naked hardwoods.

Color blows down
as scattered leaves,
leeches into the soil,
in monochromatic brown.

Warmth lingers in hidden places,
in corners and deep grasses,
close to the earth
where roots gather.

Trees are stripped and polished
by wind and sun,
the sky scoured by energetic rain,
cloud buffed and blue-bright.

Slow down, says the season.
Gather in, hunker down.
I comply, storing root crops,
counting blessings by the jar.

I learn to live the seasons,
to differentiate sky calls of greeting and farewell,
knowing that what leaves in November
returns in the spring.

All around me dance the twin fires,
death and life interchanging,
energy and smoke,
the blossom faded, the seed set.

Dark and cold come hand in hand,
arriving early, staying late,
bringing coziness as a house gift,
unwrapping hours of ease,

an excuse to curl by the fire
book in hand, drink at the elbow,
while rain lashes the windows

and the wind wails because it can’t get in.