Wednesday, December 18, 2013

December 18

It’s been snowing for five days, off and on. This morning my daughter called us all to see the dawn—winter’s hot pink slash behind the eastern trees—but now gentle flakes fall on the orchard. Not the small, determined, I-will-bury-you-so-deep-it’ll-be-June-before-they-find-you kind, but the fluffy ones that stick to the apples still in the trees, a small tuft for each burble of dried goldenrod, a veil over the grasses, like another round of seeds from those brittle golden stalks.

The survivors of
rifle season sleep under
snowy apple trees.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

December 9

A crunchy day, mist hanging thick over the ice and snow. The winter apples, still on the trees, have a sheen of freeze on them, like glass peaches, or Christmas ornaments.

 Light wind tries to stir
the beech branches. The trees and
I—all stiff with cold.

Monday, December 2, 2013

December 1

Sparkly morning. An inch of fresh overnight powder on top of the crunchy base of days gone by. The weather has cleared out and little chips of sun wink everywhere. The birch trees are white and black against the clean blue sky. Then, a familiar sound…but surely not? Yes! Two Vs of geese, traveling high and fast above the hill, their white underwings blinking on and off, the whole line twinkling along. Ninety-nine Canadas and one snow, hauling hard to the south, diamond necklace of the air.

Belated snow goose,
tardy pearl—your practical
cousins left long since.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

November 26

The lake—all summer a demure gray, nearly invisible among the trees—now jumps out white in the new snow, recently frozen and blaring its pure trumpet self, like a hay field suddenly inserted into the woods. The ancestral goose clans are far away now, eating Chesapeake snails for Thanksgiving.

Climbing hill in snow,
more flakes tapping on my hat—
frozen ocean breath.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

November 24

Bitter cold. Stiff wind. Nose bleed. The dogs choose the shorter trail. Hummingbird nest in an umbra of twigs. Paperwasp nest in a cloud of berry canes. Both empty. In the snow, a drop of blood. In the distance, suspended above the brown fluff of goldenrod, a nebula of winterberry, cheerful and bright.

Fill your lungs with clean,
cold air—grateful for the fire
burning back at home.

Monday, November 18, 2013

November 18

Locking up the barn after dark. The wind is kicking up—the cold coming back after a few days of sweet, mild sunshine. In the darkness, the ducks stir uneasily in their pen. A sky full of stars, except for one cloud in the east, black as the earth below, its top outlined orange by the hidden moon.

Inside the barn, hens
sleep in the dark. Inside them,
warm eggs wait their chance.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

November 2

The foliage has faded away, leaving the brown and black world of trunks and stems under a gray sky. Suddenly some yellow late-bloomer illuminates in fulsome gold the margin between orchard and woods--as quick, an orange reply in the shrubs at the foot of the slope. The cold is coming tomorrow: whatever you’ve got to say, say it now.

Sudden flame of rust
in gray woods. What’s that bird in
the apple? Towhee!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

October 29

A good time of year to like brown: we are all about texture now. Poofy seed pods of goldenrod, scruffy tree trunks, distant vaguely twiggy hillsides, nearly invisible deer. The sunrises are becoming oranger, though, and broad, behind the entire range of mountains to the east. The sun rises sometimes on fields made white with sparkling crystals, like very temporary snow.

Heavy frost—dogs leave
melted butt prints on lawn. The
paws that refreshes!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

October 22

Wild raspberry leaves illuminated like stained glass, arching gracefully over milkweed pods. The double doors open and the silky white congregation exits, brown boots dangling as they fly home to their new place. The beech copse at the foot of the orchard has turned into a Klimt—golden cloud through which we glimpse the black structure of trunk and limb, the stiff and intertwining life that keeps us upright. Not sinister. Not Buchenwald—instead, The Kiss.

After a shower
droplets refract the colors—
one loud little world.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

October 17

The bright golden days are fading now. Canes of maroon blackberry leaves flop over the trail, where the grass is still green and lush in the shadow of the browning goldenrod. It is not cold yet, but more and more trees are bare, more black limbs stand stark against the sky. The migrant songbirds have left, even the ones that nest far north of here. On pleasant nights, geese pass overhead. Summer has gone out like a tide, and sometime soon the warm air will go sliding away like the last bubbles on the trailing edge of a wave.

The postman sweeps
the leaves from his parking lot—
a new day begins.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

October 1

After months of rain, finally a few dry weeks. Everyone loves this time of year—probably because the sun is out for days on end, and when does that ever happen in the Northeast? The ashes and basswoods are almost bare, the sugar maples turning gold and shedding gold smartly.

Cloud passes the sun,
a sudden spattering—rain?
No, shower of leaves.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

September 10

Trees and earth studded with red and gold apples. Waist-deep goldenrod, bright yellow in waves down the hill. Cold mornings, then this reminder of late July. The crickets sing all day now.

Cosmos of apples
and asters—comet-like, a
deer goes sailing by.

Monday, August 12, 2013

August 11

All day, waiting for my friend to die, for her pain to stop, for her husband, her sister to sleep. Now awake close to midnight, out in the driveway, looking for shooting stars. The night bugs sing all around: summer is ending. A short flick of light; another; a longer one speeds by. Then a blue and gold Roman candle, headed East.

Lightning bugs faintly
glow in the grass--meteors
come to rest at last.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

August 1

Rain again. The skies are pressing down on the fruit trees, already laden with apples and peaches, and the trees press toward the earth in turn. The stewardship committee at the nature preserve voted secretly whether or not to kill some trees they think might die in order to finance an attempt to save some other trees they think might die. They vote in secret on everything important now, since the gas drilling debate ended in hatred and shouting.

Cancer is eating
up my friend. Peach tree splits and
falls--too full to live.