Wednesday, April 23, 2008


A week of blazing sun and summer temperatures, and the world's a salad, fresh and tender. 

Monday, April 21, 2008


At last!  I spied the first maples netted in their glorious verdant veil. Lanky brides. Crotchety brides. And the apples, too, offering the small, rounded leaves that will soon cup their blossoms. The old crab looks full; no further die-off for a couple years.  Every Spring I am so cheered by that tree. That it continues, yes, but for other reasons, too. Close to the ground, its original graft is still visible. It is so abrupt, the change from one kind of tree to another. It is totally Apple,  yet it grows on the roots of another species about which we know nothing. Perfect, yet it has that wound. Part the deep grass at its base.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


The lawns are  greening even on the non-sunny side of the street. The elms show small red blooms; the maples, box elders, beech, and apples hold back but offer hints. In a few days, a week at most, the sidewalk maples will burst forth their "spring green" blossoms, tiny bouquets each one. Already, the tree shadows have blurred.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Harsh and Exciting

Persistent worry, unease. What can I do about it? Minnie and Tufte cocked their heads toward the window, but did not get up as I did when a flock of geese passed over honking louder than the morning traffic and flying faster than the clouds. Mary Oliver reminds, in her poem Wild Geese, "You only have to let the soft animal of your body / love what it loves."


The crocuses have flopped over—we had one very warm day. But the daffodils have stepped forth, the trumpet section of the Spring orchestra now tooting its yellow melody. As much as Spring is the season of hope and renewal, it is also the season of grief. Elinor Wylie in 1927: "That Spring, briefer than an apple blossom's breath," and Li Ch'ing-Chao in the eleventh century: "I am afraid I cannot keep / The pear blossoms from withering."  

Thursday, April 10, 2008

After Night Rain

At dawn light the flat expanse of the studio roof shimmered silver blue: a mountain lake, a butterfly wing. 

Monday, April 7, 2008


The new view opened by the recently fallen tree has led me to try and find out the name of the peak now visible and serendipitously framed by two sentinel firs in the near distance. The Chinese poet in me venerates South Mountain, which stands a little to the southwest of my house and poses so enticingly at the end of my street.  Every time I drive under it, I look up its flanks unabashedly. 

From the topo maps it appears that this other large and symmetrical (from this angle) hill could actually be October Mountain—a surprise, as one has to drive almost a half hour south to get to October Mountain Road. Sykes Mountain is closer, but lower and a little more easterly. 

Native Land

Last night, a dream of a country lane. It's overgrown, a couple of mossy buildings half visible down the way. I catch a glimpse of sky light at the horizon, maybe evening sky. Anything at all could be hiding in the shrubbery, and the path itself so intriguing.


Splendid morning sun today. Warm temperatures promised all week. The crocuses will get their moment. They have been upright and closed tight for several days now—a hundred unlit birthday candles.

Sunday, April 6, 2008


Yesterday, a celebration after a difficult week. Joy in art and friends. Remembrance, affirmation. Seed matured to fruit. Prodigiousness. 

Today, a drizzly quiet day for mourning.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Gone the Next

Our old cat, Smokey, died yesterday morning. His heart gave out, though in his simple animal way, he never lost heart.

Friday, April 4, 2008


Snow came down again on the crocuses. 
Yet no madness in the flowers.

My own heart, closed and pinched, a disturbed bud. 

Thursday, April 3, 2008

At the Cemetery

It troubles me that I can mistake the sound of wind in pines for traffic noise.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Northwest Wind

All night long it blew garbage can lids and gritty dust through my dreams. Fears piled up like leaves in the dooryard. But sunup brought forth vivid, open skies. We lost the broken branch that had been looming over the driveway for half a year. Our neighbor lost a big box elder, the one that had been struggling last summer. Everything fell into clear space, no damages. Later that day I traveled north to a funeral. When I returned, the wood was cut and stacked next to the neighbor's campfire. At night from the kitchen window I watched the flamelight glance across the yards. When I went out to feed the cats, I saw smoke like ghosts among the trees and buildings. It tasted like early spring.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


Beautiful birdsong, faint through the closed windows.