Thursday, February 28, 2019

How It Was

I spent my childhood
in love with home—
with the gold-emerald grasses that knelt under my feet
and stood again after I passed,
with the spring flowers in my mother’s garden,
violets, lily of the valley, daffodils,
their breath sweet, their faces washed in sunshine,
and later, the fairy roses that climbed the fence
and hobnobbed with the first cut hay;

with the rough rocks that lined the banks
of the small brook that cut a path
through barbed and tangled berry bushes,
ripe with bee-spun fruit;
with the bent branches of an old apple tree
I climbed on, pretending I was astride a unicorn;
with the dirt road that, once tarred over,
led me past neighboring farmland, past deep woods
where I would prowl, looking for signs of bear
or wild Indians, half Indian myself, walking toe first
through the crackling underbrush;

with the staccato tap of rain on leaves
the warm, green-brown scent of wet earth
and great equinoctial storms
that presaged the change of seasons;
with my small, cross-legged self,
small among the cornstalks,
watching a chipmunk forage for kernels,
and once, a stately antlered buck watching me;

with the drift and spin of painted leaves,
touched by the brush of frost
and the tented webs that glimmered
red and blue and glittering silver on September lawns;
with the first snowflakes whispering on a chill wind
with knee-deep drifts, and sleds,
and green Christmas mittens, up-turned collars
and scratchy scarves, snowpants that swished,
galoshes with frozen buckles that finally yielded
to small, determined fingers;

with March winds that rattled the old wooden shutters,
blew snow that piled in small drifts
on the window sills and etched icy ferns on the panes;
with the return of robins, blue eggs huddled in a nest
I could spy on from the upstairs window,
finding great comfort in the way
the parent birds looked after their young
until, at last, the babies flew.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Thoughts On a Rainy Sunday Morning

Hide and Seek

We are all, always, going somewhere.
Whether we go in haste or with infinite patience,
we move ceaselessly,

breathing in and out
in an ever-changing environment.
Cells multiply and divide,
whether we work under the burning sun,
or sit quietly, feeling the earth turn under us.

Like a great marsh that never sleeps,
its inhabitants creating safety for themselves,
we cover ourselves with hope or worry
in a perpetually changing world
and still we are open to the sky,
to the winds that blow,
to the storms that change again
what is always changing.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

One Morning

I cup the morning in my hands -
the sun rising on the back of the rooster’s blare,
the grass growing straight out to the barn
where a black cat explores the known world.

I hold the whispery sound of wings overhead
and the silly dither of earthbound hens.
Crow feathers slip through my fingers.
Wisps of chill air float free.

My hands hold the smells of wood smoke
and damp earth, of dried grasses
and fallen leaves. I bury my nose
and inhale the universe as it turns,

loosening summer, setting autumn free,
welcoming winter. All this is here
in my cupped hands, holding one morning,
holding them all.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Winter Dawn


As if the sun were not enough,
rising as it did in a welter of
pink tinged gold,
there were snowflakes -
drifting clumps of crystal feathers
borne on a barely-there breeze,
muting a cardinal’s ruby wings
with silver filigree.

Sunday, February 03, 2019

Mind Travel

A Sunday morning write assignment: describe where you'd go if you went in the directions your windows face.

The light comes in the kitchen windows in the morning
eastern light, first light, often rose colored, sometimes pure gold.
It rises in increments, sending shadows scurrying,
painting first the ring of trees that forms my horizon,
then lifting like a stage curtain to reveal the whole scene
of yard and neighborhood and known world.

I could walk east forever, never reaching the sun’s source.
Instead I’d wander the back roads of New Marlborough,
skirt the lake’s edge in the Sandisfield State Forest,
ease myself down to sit and watch the sun head south
before heading west, south to Connecticut and its valleys,
south to my old home street, where my footprints are everywhere
in the fields and woods, where the trees wait for me.

I could walk forever west, never reaching the place where the sun sinks -
sometimes orange, sometimes pale pink, sometimes trailing ribbons of scarlet.
I would find my way to Copake in New York, and the Taconic Range,
a string of mountains over which storms boil, massing purple clouds
full of thunder and furious lightning. Or, if I veered southwest, arrive in Boston Corners,
a hamlet of the town of Ancram, once a town of outlaws and gangsters
protected from the long arm of the law by a mountain barrier.

If I walked north, in the direction of cold winter winds, toward the tall pines
I see from my study window, I would reach Housatonic, named for its river, or the Egremonts, North and South, built into the hills. I could follow Route 7 through Great Barrington into Stockbridge, Lee, Lenox, through Pittsfield, Lanesborough, North Adams, walk on up through Vermont, cross the border into Canada, perhaps fall off the edge of the earth there.

My mind travels farther than my feet ever will, through unfamiliar towns,
through dark woods and light-filled meadows, across streams and brooks,
sturdy bridges and footpaths, 
down dirt roads, 
along macadam, 
into the houses of strangers and so across the landscapes of their individual minds. 
My own small world becomes the world at large, 
expanding in every direction, 
always ending somewhere 
and never ending at all.

Head to my other blog, Laughing On the Way Out, for more adventures.