Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A gray sky

What if, instead of trying to understand our dreams, we saw that we were understood by them? That's a paraphrase of something Thomas Moore said in "Original Self." I'm taking it further: what, then, if we saw we were understood by the art that comes out of us? I like these ideas very much, but don't know yet how to use them.

Spring still holds back. It will be warm today. Thunderstorms. Weightiness. Trees inching towards bloom. Spring is understood by the small flowers it makes.

On the way to New York I saw large patches of bloodroot in bloom in the woods along the roadsides. Yesterday I looked: my own single flower was gone, a little yellow nub on top of the stem was all that was left. I did not even see fallen petals. Now the leaf is starting to unfurl its strange flat palm.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Spring Green

"...the violet was flawed on the lawn." That's Elizabeth Bishop in a poem entitled, A Cold Spring. We are nowhere near the violet stage. It snowed last night and the daffodils are diminished. The trees are late; the maples usually blossom out by April 23. The buds are showing but hold back their color. Maple blossom time is the definitive turning point, for me, into High Spring. One of the great discoveries of my life was to notice as a child that the color "spring green" in the 64 Crayola box is the exact color of the maples when they first open.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


The wind chimes swing lazily after two days of incessant wind. I spied some forsythia in bloom down by the river, but ours are not out yet. Today is the kind of grey day against which their yellow would be so vivid and cheering.

Starlings have been nesting for the past several years in a hole in the corner of my neighbor's eaves. It appears that several adult birds take care of it, more than a pair. I have not confirmed this. There's intense activity in the nest right now—chatter, comings and goings, bird droppings piling up on the ledge beneath.

The other day I was standing in the doorway to the back porch and three of the cats came rushing past me; one had a big speckled starling in his mouth. The bird looked stiff and dead. The cat pushed on the inside door, wanting to bring the bird into the house. I said, "No!" He dropped the bird and it burst into life, flying out the porch door and up into the maple before any of us could blink. It seemed unharmed, but if a bird's skin is punctured by cat teeth, it will die of infection. Days after the porch incident, all seems well with the nest. Don't know about the bird.

A few years back I got into trying to rescue birds and bring them to a bird rehabilitator who lived a ways away. Each time I brought her a bird she would excoriate me for letting the cats be outside cats. Once I brought her a large fledgling I hadn't been able to identify. She looked at it and said, "Oh, it's just a starling."

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A little more

The bloodroot yesterday afternoon.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Down at the Lake

Big wind pushing the water to shore, strange diamonds and sheen strewn over and under grayness. Mallards flying. Cloud shadows speckling the purple mountains. Every tree and bush reddening into bud. Quiet enough to hear the lap of waves coming in. Joy and nostalgia for old paths and pine needles.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Frequent Visits to Lakes

A beaver's sleek pointy face tilts upward as it swims. It's following the shore, going somewhere, going on, as are the paired mallards drifting in the swampy end, and the peepers chorusing amongst the phragmites. A tiny pussy willow in partial bloom bends over the shore edge. The wind creates changing patterns of ripples that sunlight repeats on the sandy bottom. All over the lake diamonds are bouncing and we all feel rich. In a little cove on the far side they appear to hover over the surface, a phenomenon I have never seen in all my years of studying the water jewels.

Friday, April 15, 2011


A bloodroot showed up in our backyard.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


The river is but yards away from my house, as the crow flies, but layers of kid shouts and traffic usually overwhelm the chorus of peepers. Sometimes the cloud of noises parts, and for a moment you can hear them singing.

Monday, April 11, 2011


Today the wind blows the daffodils backwards as I try to photograph their yellowness. Open-throated canaries, they proclaim themselves full throttle until they wrinkle away.