The Softening

Creek Bend, Brady's Run

All at once, you notice.
The maples’ tips are softening,
their buds beginning to swell.
Look closely, love, and you
will see the hints of newborn
pink, even beneath dull skies.
This is the first heartbeat
of springtime, a pastel sign
of its approach, regardless
of the calendar or weather.
The rhythm of the seasons
flows with the song of the Yes,
breathing its grace, carrying
its perfection.


Puddles and Clouds

Reflections in a Puddle

Along the roadside, it’s all puddles
with their upside-down tree limbs
and fast  scudding clouds.   Blue jays
have been flitting around all morning
on the lookout for nesting sites,
as if spring had caught them unawares,
and my crocuses are sprouting.
On the sidewalks, people in shirtsleeves
smile at balmy air.  And I am still praying
for one good snow, although I know
the people in Nebraska, buried
under a sudden forty inches, would think
me mad.  Nevertheless, it’s barely February,
and I yearn for one good taste of winter
before the season’s gone.

Midwinter Dream

State Line Pond

Beneath cotton skies, February arrives
spreading her pallet of neutral hues,
the greys of tree bark and melting ice,
the bleached blond of reeds,
the russets of enduring oak leaves.
The day is unseasonably warm
and soft for mid-winter, a gentle
beginning for this capricious month.
I think of lavender tulips
sleeping beneath my garden’s soil
and send them a lullaby
lest they wake too soon.
Don’t be fooled, little ones.
This is but a midwinter dream.

Sky Teaching

January Sunset

An hour ago, heavy clouds
lay over the land, stealing
all but the dimmest light,
taking away even the little
color that winter allowed us.
I trudged home, flicked
on the kitchen’s lights,
opened the fridge, looking
for comfort, put thick soup
on to warm.  Remembering
a paper I’d left in the car,
I stepped outside, to a world
bathed in clarity and brilliance.
Never lose hope.
An hour can change everything.

Collecting the Essence of Trees

Sap Collecting Buckets

The buckets are in bloom!
Like eager daffodils, fooled
by a warm spell into poking
up through winter’s soil,
suddenly the sap buckets
dot the woodland’s floor.
Their blue tubers rise,
burrowing through
the maples’ bark,
finding the veins
where amber sap flows,
slowly at first, more amply
as the days roll on.
Eight weeks from now
we will sit in the lodge
and pour this gift,
boiled down to syrup,
over pancakes, freshly made,
and taste the sweet essence
of trees.