Spring Morning

Kisses of Spring

Meadowlark singing on fence post,
ducks dabbling on the slough,
the cry of a pair of Canada geese
overhead, as they hurry on through.

The woods beside us now waken
with sound at first morning light;
I spy a flock of some kind of birds
silent and northward their flight

These are the kisses of springtime,
the sights and the sounds that delight.
Oh no! While I’m here rhapsodizing
our landscape is fast turning white.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Good Morning from our house. The dawn was rather misty when I first looked out and I saw this flock of birds winging over the field beside us. Small ducks, maybe? I let the cats out and sat back to enjoy the coming of spring.

A pair of Canada geese have been around for a week; the ducks and meadowlark we saw Sunday on the way to church. I could hear small birds twittering in the woods yesterday as I went out for a walk. Sunny days and south winds have melted most of the snow in our yard. Last week the driveway was muddy, but by yesterday it had almost completely dried off. Oh, the joys of warmer weather!

As I enjoyed my morning coffee this morning a poem came to me, so I fired up the computer and started to write. I hadn’t quite decided how to finish off, though — until I looked outside again and saw the air full of snow. Our poor cats huddled on the back step, turning white along with everything else.

A sad surprise indeed. Poor little birds! And no wonder that flock was winging it in such a hurry, probably looking for a place to shelter. Oh, well. I shall carry on with my sewing project, a dress for myself, and forget about taking a long walk in the sunshine.

Swallowed by Fog

We’ve been enjoying milder weather this past week, which has given us heavy fogs at night. We woke up this morning to a thick fog whiting out everything outside our yard. I thought I heard a train pass in the night, which gave me this verse — I believe this is called a tanka:

oh fog, how could you
swallow a whole freight train
in your opacity?
only the whistle escapes
to squeal on you

Arms of Support

Trees

In every path of timber you
will always find a tree or two
that would have fallen long ago,
borne down by wind or age or snow,
had not another neighbor tree
held outs its arms in sympathy
and caught the tree that the storm had hurled
to earth. So, neighbors, is the world.

In every patch of timber stand
Samaritans of forest land:
the birch, the maple, oak and pine,
the fir the cedar, all in line.
In every wood, unseen, unknown,
they bear the burdens of their own
and bear as well another form,
some neighbor stricken in the storm.

Shall tree be nobler to their kind
than men, who boast the noble mind?
Shall there exist within the wood
this great eternal brotherhood
of oak and pine, of hill and fen,
and not within the hearts of men?
God grant that men are like to these,
and brothers, brotherly as trees.

Author unknown to me

Scrapping

Sparrows

They squabble like humans,
these sparrows tussling over
fallen seeds under my feeder.
Silly birds! They can’t comprehend
a big bag of feed in my garage

poured out fresh daily,
Food for all, yet they threaten
and buffet each other;
little warlords disputing division,
eyes fixed on the last crust,
while fresh loaves brown in the oven.

As if there’ll never be enough,
as if each one must have it all
or starve. Or do they simply enjoy
scrapping? So much like people!

Other Side of Nowhere

Book Review

THE OTHER SIDE OF NOWHERE
by Max Allen

In this book wildlife biologist and photographer Max Allen takes readers on a naturalist’s journey into the prairie, sagebrush, and sandstone cliffs around the Yampa River, a 250-mile long tributary that squiggles its way westward across northwestern Colorado to join the Green River in Utah.

According to the writer, the Yampa “is one of the very few rivers in the area remaining un-dammed and free flowing. The river offers many recreation opportunities from rafting to fishing, and of course wildlife watching and photography.”

Mr. Allen includes with his photographs descriptions about some of the settings where he took them, plus camera details. As he writes in his notes, most of the animals he’s photographed are not unique to that area, but he’s gotten some great shots of them living their “everyday lives.” For my part he could have included more about his own involvement in that region, too.

I found the book very well edited and would recommend it as a coffee-table book, gift for a nature-lover, and a nice addition to a reference library.

In the fall of 2015 I received a free copy from The Story Cartel in exchange for my honest review, then purchased my own copy. This Review is reblogged from Christine’s Reflections post, Dec 3, 2015.

Max Allen has since put out another photographic journey, also for sale on Amazon:
The Itinerant Photographer: Photographs from Five Years of Wandering with Wildlife and the Stories behind Them

Living Up High

I can’t remember the writing prompt for which I wrote this little tale; maybe an exercise in dialogue or a story about city living. But I did it awhile ago for The Write Practice and now I’ll reprint it here.

THE PERILS OF LIVING HIGH

Pigeons overlook park.jpg“Back again, Flutter.” Grayson made a wide loop and landed beside his mate. “The place looks good so far, though I’d be quite happy if they’d stop right now. It’s a comfortable height for us; if they go much higher we won’t be able to sit on the roof at all.”

Flutter murmured her disapproval. “These humans seem to have gone mad with wanting to hover up in the clouds. It’s ridiculous. Give me a nice twelve-storey building any day.”

The two of them sat on the balcony rail of the hotel at the corner of Franklin Street and watched the crane lifting up even more steel girders for the new apartment building going up a few blocks away.

“It’s going to be a dandy when it’s done,” said Grayson. “I’ve put our name in for a light fixture on the eleventh floor. As you say, no point trying for a penthouse. It does looks like this is another one that’s going up into the clouds. We’d be dizzy all day long looking down from that height.”

“And the danger to our fledglings being blown off a roof that high.”

“I was along with several others on this reconnaissance flight. We especially checked out those fancy outside floodlight fixtures. They’re just the ticket, dear. Far enough from the wall to build our nests behind and they’ll keep our toes warm in winter. Hope these humans don’t get some silly notion about shutting the lights off at night.”

Flutter bobbed her head up and down. “The location couldn’t be better! Right next to the park. But I sure wish that old man would come again. You know, the one who always filled his jacket pockets with birdseed and encouraged us sit on his shoulders to eat it.

Feeding pigeons.jpgGrayson agreed. “I do miss him. Walking breakfast bar, he was. I wonder why he never comes anymore? Well, anyway, there are always kiddies dropping their bags of popcorn.
“I just wish we lived father away from those dratted peregrines. Since they’ve taken over the roof of the Delta Inn life has been a constant struggle for survival for downtown pigeons.”

“Let’s not even think about them.” Flutter shuddered. They’d already lost a number of relatives to peregrine falcon attacks.

“Bloodthirsty birds,” Grayson squawked. “Wish the airplanes flying over would take every last one of them out.”

He rubbed Flutter’s cheek with his own. “I do think we’re going to be quite cozy in our new digs. And it’s always interesting to watch the traffic below. We’ll just have to be sure and get a sheltered spot to build our nest.” They were both quiet a moment remembering the high winds that blew their nest away last year, grieving for the four almost-hatched eggs they lost.

In spite of the nice tall buildings humans were constantly erecting for them, living downtown was always perilous.