Monday, December 28, 2009

New Year Haiku

Of Gods and Astrology

Janus and Pisces
look both ahead and behind.
The old is made new.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tis the season...

1. Apple cider, eggnog, or hot chocolate?

Yes, please. Let’s warm the apple cider and swirl a cinnamon stick in it, sprinkle the eggnog with a generous dash of nutmeg, and drop a puff of whipped cream or marshmallow fluff in the hot chocolate while we’re at it.

2. Turkey or Ham?

Erm… yes, please. Why make a choice between the two when you can have both? But, keep these two meats for pre-and post Christmas Day sandwiches, please. I like Roast Beast for Christmas dinner.

3. Does Santa wrap presents or just set them under the tree?

The jolly old elf sets them in my hands and I wrap them.

4. Colored lights or white on the tree?

Oh colors, please! Blue, red, green, gold – lights are the reason I still keep setting up a tree, even though I live alone in a tiny space.

5. Do you get a fake or real-you-cut-it-yourself Christmas tree?

All my trees have been real. Most of them I’ve tromped into the woods to cut down myself, but now and then, when I can afford it, I buy one whose roots are wrapped in burlap for planting after the holiday season is over.

6. Favorite Christmas song?

Manheim Steam Roller produced a Christmas album some years ago that is still my favorite. Next come Brenda Lee’s Rockin Around the Christmas Tree and Elvis’s Blue Christmas (can you tell what era I grew up in?). My favorite carols are Silent Night and Away In A Manger (holdovers from a happy but Catholic childhood).

7. How do you feel about Christmas movies?

Give me the Grinch Who Stole Christmas every year. I also loved the World’s Greatest Christmas Pageant Ever and the one about Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree.

8. What is your favorite holiday dish?

Oh, that should be plural! Warm, sugar-frosted stolen on Christmas morning; rare roast beef for dinner; the addictive almond brittle smothered in chocolate that I learned to make as a teenager; my mother’s dark fruitcake laden with fruits and nuts and soaked in brandy; decorated cookies – spritz, sugar, gingerbread; a high, three layered, lemon-filled white cake, frosted with buttercream icing and smothered in coconut; warm cherry-cranberry pie.

9. When is it too early to start listening to Christmas music?

Start the barrage two weeks before the day. Anything before that makes it all redundant.

10. What is your favorite holiday smell?

Another plural. Balsam; snow; cookies baking; chocolate, warm bread.

11. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?

Do you mean the truth that he still exists despite the silly rumours to the contrary?

12. What kind of decorations are on your Christmas Tree?

My tree is a haven for nostalgia. There are old glass ornaments from my parent’s first Christmas, some frosted, glitter-sprinkled ones from my childhood, a number of wooden ones from my children’s home years, and a few newer ones that have been gifts. Colored lights weave amongst the branches and reflect in the tinsel that hangs from each branch tip. A small angel overlooks it all from her perch on the spire.

13. Do you open a present or presents on Christmas Eve, or wait until Christmas Day?

Both. We have always had a Christmas Eve celebration where one gift each is opened. When I was a child, we drew names and bought for that one person. The rest of the gifts are opened in the dark of Christmas morning. We light the tree, make coffee or cocoa and take turns oohing and ahhing.

14. Go to someone else's house or do they come to you?

Both. When I was a child, my grandparents came to our house. When my children were small, their grandparents came to our house. Now that I’m the grandmother, I go to see my grandchildren on Christmas Day. Christmas Eve is spent with my brother and his family and whichever of my children can come home to me.

15. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving?

Both! There is great pleasure in either one; such fun to watch someone unwrap a gift you’ve chosen especially for them and equally fun to unwrap a treasure someone else has chosen just for you. If we don’t receive gracefully, how do we allow another the pleasure of giving?

Happy Holidays to all.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Between the sky-blue-pink
hours of today
snow and then rain
fell from a quilted sky,
the trembling branches of a fir tree
yielded to the ax,

squirrels vied with birds
for suet and seed,
ordinary objects were
wrapped and ribboned into
gifts, soup bubbled on
the back of the stove,
while the cat, wise soul,

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

After the Storm

My footprints are like
indecipherable words.
Ink on new fallen snow.

All the evergreens look like Christmas trees after a snowfall.

Even the huge red maple on the front lawn was frosted.

Yesterday the geese left - we should have heeded their warning...

Took a walk in the black and white landscape between the snowfall and the coming rain.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Poetry & Silence

Author John O'Donahue says poetry is the language of silence. I walked the Cobble on Sunday to live those words.

In the crystal woods
The water talks to itself.
Poetry stalks trees.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Waiting for Snow

There was no visible sunrise this morning, just a lightening of the sky above an army of threatening clouds marching solemnly along the horizon. Small birds fly before a heightened wind, zig-zagging from fence post to tree branch to bird feeder. In the strange half-dawn light, tree branches become arthritic fingers trying to snag the flapping crows that cut a razor-winged path through the morning sky.

On the other side of the window, lamplight makes soft shadows in the corners of the room. The teakettle sputters and hisses, the grey cat curls up in the rocking chair to sleep, the leaves of the geranium plant in the window lean toward the pane, seeking the pale light, waiting on the promised snow.

*note: the season's first snow started falling at 3:00 PM

Monday, November 30, 2009

Sunshine on my shoulders...

and leaning against the trunks of winter-bare trees...

gilding the undersides of the oak leaves that cling until January winds blow them far and wide...

Making pen and ink sketches of solitary elms...

and a watercolor of the pond.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Live the question, be the answer

The old homeplace...

I came across this list of questions recently. I like lists. I like the places questions like this lead me. I like rereading the answers years later and comparing then to now.

1. A person opens a fortune cookie ~ what does the fortune say that you have written?

Your good is coming to you now. I like that phrase - it can mean all manner of things from what's good for me to what I think is good. Covers all bases.

2. You are having a long lunch at the TimeTravel Diner ~ what three people from history will be joining you?

General James Longstreet (he’s a relative and we can talk strategy), author Richard Bach (so we can talk about Illusions), and Albert Einstein (so we can talk about everything).

3. What has been the primary area in which you have worked and what other job would you be most interested in pursuing?

I am an author and a teacher simultaneously and have been for years. I’d like to be retired with time to sleep in on rainy mornings; I'd like to get in my car some day and just keep going until I tire of traveling, then I'd like to come home and rest; I'd like to search for rare, unnamed plants in the forest and get paid for it; I'd like to learn to play a musical instrument and jam with fellow musicians late into the night; I'd like to play one whole day with a bunch of three year olds. I've been working since I was eleven - now I'd just like to be a volunteer rather than pursue any one job.

4. The last thing you had to eat was what?

A piece of pumpkin pie.
Well, that was this morning when I started this. Now it's past dinner time and I've just polished off a few Thanksgiving leftovers.

5. What has been the most memorable musical performance you attended live? When was it?

I watched Arlo Guthrie (who lives down the road apiece) perform a long, long time ago. He sat at a piano on a stage in a small theater in Vermont and the audience danced in front of their seats and in the aisles and in front of the stage and in the back of the theater and out into the streets.

6. Your favorite fragrance is what?

The earth after rain, the scents of most flowers, almost anything on the BBQ. (I am allergic to most perfumes.)

7. What happens to you when you die?

You change form. All that electricity that keeps us alive has to go somewhere...

8. What do you collect?

Mixing bowls, old kitchen utensils, books, friends, ideas.

9. You have the opportunity to spend one day anywhere in the world ~ where do you go?

Somewhere cool and green and shady. Home - I'd love to go back to the old homeplace but for far longer than a day. I want to stand again on Bredon Hill in Birlingham, I want to see the French countryside and spend time in Italy. But if it's just one day, let me go back home.

10. The thing you find most interesting in nature is what?

That it exists at all. The known world is so intricate, so interdependent, so varied, so bent on surviving, and yet everything is crawling, flying, walking, swimming, and hithchiking to its death.

11. Given the opportunity to order one meal {Your last?} ~ what do you have to eat?

If it was my last meal and I knew it, I wouldn’t be able to swallow so that’s a moot point. Now, if you’d asked, “Given the opportunity to have my favorite meal,” I’d have said whatever I happened to be eating at the time. I love food (except for avacados and artichokes. And fishy fish).

12. The first thing that comes to mind when you see the word romance is what?

The word, 'novel'. Maybe I've been living alone too long?

13. You are getting a tatoo {or another one}? Where are you getting it and what will it be?

No, I’m not. I never did see the point of marking or marring, or decorating the flesh. Except for clothes, of course. But I wear no makeup, no perfume, no jewelry, no tattoos. I would have made a good Quaker, I think.

14. Friday night, what is your favorite thing to do?

Depends on the hour and the company. That goes for any night now. Friday night when I was a teenager was something to look forward to. There was no homework, no school the next day. It had the aura of freedom about it. Anything could happen on a Friday night.

15. The last television program you watched was what?

I have a TV set for watching videos and DVDs and though the landlord hooked me up with cable last year, I rarely watch anything other than the news and old Seinfeld and MASH reruns.

16. What do you find most confusing in life?

I’ve read several rational explanations about how life started on earth but I still want to know why. I've read any number of explanations for that, too, but they are all wanting.

17. What question do you wish had been on the list? And what is the answer?

Do you think life has meaning beyond the urge to continue?

Only the meaning we ascribe to it. There are so many ideas about that. It makes life interesting if not comprehensible.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Beware What the Cook Won't Eat

I'm off to visit family for a few days. This was written long ago when my granddaughter was small (now she's 9) and I knew next to nothing about blogging. I posted half a dozen entries in one day and this one got lost in the shuffle. Because of the time of year I am trotting it back out.

It’s the day before Thanksgiving and I’m making a pie. “Can I help?” asks Fia. At three, she’s interested in being part of any cooking going on.

“Sure,” I say and we push up our sleeves, haul out flour and sugar and spices, find the rolling pin and two pie plates (one for each of us) and get to work.

She clambers onto a kitchen stool and leans her elbows on the table. “One, two, shtree,” she counts as we measure half-cups of flour and shortening into a bowl. I cut in the shortening, add the water, and mix the dough into a lump. I pull off a small piece and hand it to her. She presses it between her small hands. “We’re making pies, right Memere?” she beams. “I love pies.”

She nibbles a bit of the dough and makes a face, then watches as I sprinkle flour on the table. “Uh oh,” she says. “Memere, you’re supposed to put it in the bowl.”

I explain that I need it on the table so that when I roll out the crust it won’t stick. “Oh,” she says and helps me by spreading the flour all the way to the edges of the table and onto the floor.

I let her use the rolling pin first. Her small ball of dough rolls right around the pin. She picks it off, balls it up, and starts again. While she is busy, I measure pumpkin, milk, and spices into another bowl.

“Let me do it,” she begs when I take up an egg to crack. She whacks the egg on the edge of the bowl and drops the whole thing in. “Ick,” she says. I pick out the shells. When I hold the second egg out to her she shakes her head.

She scrapes her pie crust off the table and plops it in her dish, then kneels on the stool and puts her whole weight on her hands as she presses it flat. “How’s this?” She holds the plate up for inspection. The dough falls on the floor. She scrambles down, picks it up and blows on it. Flour dust puffs into the air. “It’s okay,” she assures me. “It was on the floor for not even one minute.”

I roll my own crust and fit it in the plate, crimping the edges carefully. Fia watches, then tries to crimp her own crust. When she is through, there is just room in the center for a dab of pumpkin mixture. I pour the remaining pumpkin filling into my pie shell and slide the pies into the oven. Fia helps me set the timer.

The kitchen looks like the aftermath of a fight in a flour mill. There is white dust on every surface, bits of sticky dough on the table, the floor, and Fia's chin, and spatters of pumpkin on the table and the stove. We fetch the broom and the dustpan. I sweep while Fia wipes off the table. I sweep again. When the last dish is dried and put away and the floor is clean enough to eat from, we turn on the oven light and check the pies.

“They look delicious,” I say to Fia. “We can eat yours tonight and save mine for Thanksgiving dinner, okay?”

Fia looks at her pie. She looks at me. “You can have it, Memere,” she says. “I just only like making pies. I don’t like to eat any.”

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

One November Morning

The early November air is mild and sunny. There is something about Indian Summer weather that feels like a reprieve, a reverent moment handed out before everything goes all cold and white. What's left of the bright leaves spiral down in a soft wind that, in the shade, has a bite to it though the sunshine where I sit is pure, warm gold. The blueberry bush at the corner of the house has gone all crimson. Amid the pines in the back, maple leaves blaze like yellow flames.

It has been a long, sweet fall, broken only by a rainy spell in October.

I puttered in the garden a short time this morning, pulling dead squash vines from the fence and yanking up withered pepper plants and eggplant stalks by the roots. When the wind stops blowing, I will rake the leaves and bring them by the wheelbarrow full to mulch the garden beds. In the flower garden, the rosebush by the door is still blooming.

The roadsides, however, are bereft of flowers. Only the skeletons of Queen Anne’s Lace remain. When the snow comes, the small brown seed cups will collect the flakes and offer them up like gifts.

Too soon the warm sun drops behind the western mountains and dusk falls, leaving only the cool breeze and the drifting leaves behind.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Eggs-actly (a re-run)

My neighbor sells eggs. Often I go over and fetch a dozen out of the fridge on the back porch and leave my money in the bucket. Other times I wander into the henhouse with an empty carton and fill it with eggs lifted straight from the nests. Each small, warm oval rests lightly in my hand, a marvel of packaging and design. The hens cluck and fuss about my feet, the sun slants in the windows, filtering through the raised dust like rays from heaven, and the little enclosed world of egg production seems a place of warmth and rightness.

Tonight while I was contemplating what to make for dinner there was a knock on my door and there stood my neighbor with a carton in her hand. She set it on the counter and lifted the lid. In each of the twelve rounded cavities rested an odd-looking egg.

“I can’t market these,” she said, running her fingertips lightly over the shells and picking up one of the eggs from its resting place. It was bulbous at one end, as though the hen had given an extra hard push at laying time and then got up too soon. I had to chuckle. Each egg in the carton was just slightly askew, as though the idea of “egg” had been vaguely misinterpreted. One had extra chunks of calcium attached in an irregular pattern like some kindergarten child had made it with too much glue and enthusiasm. Another had an elongated end, a third had striations around its middle like a fancy, tooled chair leg. Two of the eggs were colored a pale bluish green and another two were so small they lolled in their hollows with room to spare.

“You see?” said my neighbor as I peered into the box. “None of these are ‘perfect’ so I can’t sell them in the store. Most people like their eggs to be….well, egg-shaped and these…” She looked at me and grinned. “These are kind of like you and me—recognizable but just a bit off center.”

The idea of imperfectly shaped eggs being somehow inferior and less appetizing or marketable seemed suddenly silly. After all, how many recipes do you know that call for unbroken eggs? Once the shell is cracked and tossed, who would notice its weird shape? And the outer form of the shell has no effect on the taste or nutritional value of the egg itself.

Looking at those eggs made me wonder about our perceptions of perfection. Whose ideas of faultlessness do we carry around in our heads and why do we subscribe to them? What constitutes our personal definition of perfection and does our idea of that change over time? Further, if we change our thought or expectation or desire, does that change the rightness of what we once held to be ‘perfect?’

I refrigerated all but four of the eggs. Then I fetched my recipe book and a bowl, cracked the four eggshells against its rim, and whipped the contents with milk and sugar into the smoothest of custards, which, when baked, turned out just perfectly.

Sunday, November 01, 2009


For a while, the pond across the road was crowded, covered, awash with geese. Some days there was hardly any water visible between their bodies, and scarcely any silence between their calls. Periodically they arose in vast numbers and winged their way over my cottage, their bodies drawing flickering black lines in the sky like writing I couldn’t read. A few hours later they would return, having filled their bellies on corn gleaned from harvested fields. Lately, though, the pond has been quiet. Cold weather has driven the geese south and now the only sounds come from the small birds that winter here – the juncos, the sparrows, a few starlings, some nuthatches, and a pair of cardinals.

The afternoon sun hangs low in the sky and where the shadows gather the air has a bite to it. The wind whistles sharply of mittens and overcoats and scarves wrapped snuggly around the neck. Oak leaves skitter and dance to this new wind’s tune, and sheets hung out to dry snap smartly. When it rains it pours, but the gray, dismal days are interspersed with blustery ones when every cloud is scoured and swept away until all that’s left is pure, clean blue.

I like best the bright blue days. The sun rests on my shoulders like a warm hand, and I seek out some secluded, wind-blocked spot where I can rest my back against a tree and watch the light dance across the water in silver slippers. It is in such moments that I sense the poetry of life, the way everything moves to a rhythm – the breeze, the daylight, the season – until my heart picks up the steady measure of the universe and beats in time.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


My granddaughter S is soon to be nine years old. I remember the day her parents brought her home from the hospital. She was squalling at the top of her lungs as my son handed her to me. I took her in my arms and held her to my heart. She quieted immediately. That was the beginning of our special bond.

A few years later S was snuggled next to me on the sofa. Her new little brother J was on my lap. We were watching Dumbo for maybe the fourth time and had just gotten to the part where the circus elephants make a circle to keep Dumbo out when suddenly S knelt and put a hand on either side of my face. “MemerĂ©,” she said, “we need to talk about something.”

I looked into her earnest little face. “What do we need to talk about?” I asked her.

“Love,” she said. “It’s like this. When you love somebody, just because someone else comes over to play and you play with them, it doesn’t mean you don’t love the other person as much, right?”

I wondered what had brought this on. “I think I know what you mean,” I told her. “Last time I was visiting, your cousin came here and you went off to play with her. It didn’t mean you loved me any less.”

“Yes,” agreed S, “and just because J is sitting on your lap, it doesn’t mean you don’t love me, right?”

Ah, so that was it. “S,” I told her, “when you were born, I got to pick you up. I could feel your little heart beating against mine and I fell in love with you right then. I will never, ever fall out of love with you.”

“Did you feel J's little heart beating when he was born and fall in love with him, too?” she asked.

“I did,” I told her, “but that doesn’t mean I love you less. My heart is big enough for both of you, and for lots of other people, too.”

She snuggled back down beside me. “Good,” she said.

Later that evening, when S and I were holding hands while we drifted off to sleep, I thought about love in all its various forms. We’re born with a need to be loved and the capacity to love in return. All our lives we need to be surrounded by love, and if it isn’t there, something in us turns up missing. Because love is so vast a concept, it’s hard to pin one definition on it. It is always greater than the sum of its parts, is more than the respect, the trust, the caring, the delight, and the tenderness that go into it. And here was this tiny morsel of humanity, holding my hand and worrying about how much she was loved, how love could be divided and not be less than whole, and how she could share the affection of those she loved and not come up wanting.

The next morning she told her mother, “You know what, Mommy? MemerĂ© picked me up when I was born and she felt my heart beating on hers and BAM! That’s when it happened. We fell in love!”

Her mother looked at me and smiled. “I’m glad, S.”

“Me, too,” said S and she grinned up at me.

And that’s the way love should be – we should all hold our hearts against someone else’s and BAM! Think how big our hearts would be then.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

One October Day

Today was a parting gift from summer. Temperatures soared into the 70s and the air was mild as milk.

Here and there patches of brilliantly colored leaves reflected the sunlight.

Clouds floated in the pond's mirrored surface.

Leaves that have fallen cover the lawn and line a path to the pond.

Fairy roses and purple asters still bloom in the side garden but the patio's border flowers have drooped or died.

Soon enough the winds of winter will blow through the naked trees, setting the branches a-clatter. Today, though, they whispered softly, charming the leaves from the trees to whirl and dance and drift.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Lesser Gods

Reading Barbara's recent post about gratitude set me thinking. There are times when falling on your knees and giving thanks to whatever huge life force you believe in is good and necessary. But there are other times when that seems overmuch; a simple thank you to a lesser god would suffice. The Ancients had a solution for this. They had a pantheon of powerful deities that oversaw the general running of things while the everyday and commonplace was left in the capable hands of nature and household gods. Here are some ordinary miracles that I’d like to thank the lesser gods for:

- Corn flowers and Queen Anne’s Lace nodding together in a late summer breeze. Coming unexpectedly upon the juxtaposition of their blossoms, palest of blue against snowy white, can send my senses reeling and make me feel as though I have just been handed a bouquet.

- A cat in my lap or a dog’s head under my hand when I’m sad. I made it through a divorce with the help of my dog Chester, a massive beast who made it his mission to soothe by being there. He cried when I did so that I didn’t have to do it alone, and by demanding affection, he made sure I didn’t forget how to give. Parker, a lap cat if there ever was one, lets the tears fall where they may but insists on grinning when I pet him, reminding me that where tears end, smiles begin.

- Unexpected words of praise. One of my former students burst into the classroom between periods one day and threw her arms around me in a boisterous, happy, bear hug. Then, turning to the startled new students she crowed, “You’re lucky! This teacher rocks!” She was back out the door before they could respond, but I had a big silly grin on my face for the rest of the day.

- Rain at night. Weather is often prayed over but for me a gentle rainfall at night, hearing the pattering of drops on the roof like a lullaby and snuggling down under the covers all warm and dry and sleepy, can be as pleasurable as waking to sunshine.

- A good meal. Eating is always a necessity, often a pleasure, and sometimes a downright experience. It’s the pleasurable times we should make note of, the everyday meals we should be grateful for, thanking whatever household god keeps the refrigerator running and reminds us we’re almost out of ice cream.

- Books. Where would we be without words? Without a language that lets us communicate with one another? Without our stories – the ones we tell ourselves and the ones we tell others about what our lives mean? For that matter, what would we be?

- Friends. Companions. Fellow travelers. We’ve all met people who touch our lives and our hearts in some way, who help us to become better people just for knowing them.

- Small favors. I'm grateful when my car starts the first time I turn the key, when I find unexpected money in a pocket or when I have a good hair day. I'm delighted when the last bit of milk in the carton hasn’t yet gone sour, or the weatherperson said rain, and instead the sun is shining.

It’s the little things, we say, that make or break us. Perhaps if we gave them more of our attention, more of our appreciation, we’d break less often.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Belief Is A Personal Thing

“Life is life and death is death,” he said. “All the rest is human detail.”
A philosophy teacher I had in the 70s.

The huge sugar maple on the corner is exuberantly orange though the trees around it are still leafed in green. I lie back on my glider swing and watch white wisps of cloud sail before a high wind that does not reach me on here on the ground. I listen to the silence left behind by departed songbirds and summer bugs, and remember those words spoken years ago by a philosophy professor. My twenty-something self rebelled mightily against his words, sure that he was simply jaded and that with youthful zeal and diligent study I would prove him wrong, prove that life had meaning assigned by something bigger than ourselves. But now, amid the lazily spiraling leaves, the swift clouds, and the deep, autumnal silence, watching death approach cloaked in vibrant yellow, blazing orange, and sonorous purple, I think he was right. And thinking it makes me feel as peaceful as this autumn afternoon.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Day of Wings

This has been a day of wings. Even before the sun had a chance to burn through the dawn mist, flocks of Canada geese made their noisy way over my cottage. I stood on the doorstep in the cool, damp air and listened to what I could not see—dozens of pairs of beating wings.

The geese are gathering on the pond across the road, feeding and resting and greeting each other after a summer of breeding and raising their young. There are hundreds of them. They rise from the pond on beating wings and splash down again, ducking their heads beneath the water. In the mornings they leave for other ponds, and for fields of cut corn, gleaning spilled kernels to nourish themselves for their flight south. Late in the afternoon and into the early evening they return, great vees of them clamoring and honking, filling the sky with their indecipherable handwriting.

Later in the morning, as I was deadheading the last of the geraniums and clipping the rose bushes, I heard a commotion in the top of the huge cherry tree. Blackbirds were gathering there and as I watched, hundreds more settled into the surrounding locusts and pines, all squawking and chirping until my ears were full of the sound. Then, at some signal I could not decipher, the hundreds rose as one, and the sound of their wings was like a huge secret whispered to the sky.

The cheerful morning wake-up, wake-up of summer birdsong has been absent now for a month or more. The little birds that winter over, the chickadees, a few starlings, the juncos and nuthatches, twitter from roadside bushes and the branches of the lilac near my door, but morning music is now the province of the crows and the jays. The crows congregate in family groups, shouting news to one another across the yard or from high in the pine branches. The jay’s call is strident, a sound that cuts through the warm stillness of late afternoon like a squeaky porch swing.

It won’t be long before the sound of wings is gone. The Indian Summer days will pass too quickly, and before we know it, the still, cold days of early November will give way to rain and then to blustery winter winds. Instead of wings, the air will be filled with the whisper of snowflakes. But while the golden days last, I will stand on the doorstep in the dawn and listen to wings I can’t see. I will hoard the sounds of blackbird and goose, of crow and jay, to play back in the deep of December.