Ghosts of Winter

Spent Cattails, Lakeside

Ghostlike cattails line the lake edge,
standing straight and tall as an old guard
of soldiers, offering a salute in honor of spring.
Their velvety brown pods spill their stuffing
onto the ice-capped lake, into the pool
of melted water at the field’s edge.
Their once-sleek leaves are brittle now
and broken, but still they stand, proud
to have endured the onslaughts of winter,
to be standing in the new spring’s sun.
Now and then red winged blackbirds,
just arrived from the south, perch
atop them, sounding a salutation,
and the cattails hold beneath
their weight and are glad.


Weeds in Wind

The wind’s cold overpowered the heat of the sun,
it’s warmth having to travel 93 million miles
while the wind was right here, stiff and strong.

The stalks bent in its force, unresisting.
They learned long ago that the way to meet
a blow was to bow to its power.

Between gusts, they straightened again,
and again they bowed, as a new gust came.
They considered it a dance.

And come what may, they decided
they would dance until the music
stopped, or leveled them.

Either way, they would be proud,
knowing they had given it
their all.

Moving Into Prime Time

Summer Trees

I don’t know, of course, how trees feel.  But I have a hunch that, for them, passing through the summer equinox is sort of like watching your kids turn 21.   The leaves aren’t babies now.  They’ve shed their adolescent giddiness and blush.  And while they’re not quite fully grown, they’ve definitely matured enough to have won your respect.

I imagine the trees, who have, after all seen generations of leaves come and go, get a kick out of watching this batch dancing its way into summer.  They probably smile proudly at how beautifully they’ve grown, at how strong they are and supple.

They probably chuckle at the way they strut a bit on their stems, how they give it just a little extra flicker when the breeze passes by.  They think they’ll live forever.  And for them, maybe a summer is forever long.

Anyway, looking at them from here, across the pond, I imagine they’re feeling just fine.  I imagine they’re feeling that special surge that happens just as you’re moving into prime time.

March of the Corn

Ripened CornTall and proud in their regal dress greens, the corn stalks stand in regimented rows that stretch to the horizon.  They are the carriers of gold, the Great Mother’s gift to mankind, and this is the hour of their glory.

The obstacles they faced along the way—the grueling heat, the drenching rain—are behind them now and forgotten.  They met and overcame them, and the overcoming left them strong.

At night, you can hear their victory songs rising to the starry skies.  At dawn, you find that the dew has crowned their tassels with diamonds.

But it is here, at high noon, that they are at their best, these knights of the Order of the Sun, proudly bearing gold for the great harvest.

The Fun of Feeling Pretty

Snow covered little pineThe morning dawned bright and glorious after last night’s big snow, with blankets of shimmering white covering the earth and decorating the trees’ branches.

“How pretty!” I said aloud, as I pulled back my bedroom curtain to greet the day.  There’s nothing like a sun-washed morning to start a day in style.

I walked to the kitchen with a smile on my face, and when I spotted the little pine tree outside the window, I laughed right out loud.

I have been watching her grow from the time she was a small seedling, so I have a special place in my heart for her.

Today she looked for all the world as if she had just traipsed down from the attic in grandma’s wedding gown.  It was a little large for her; the sleeves were much too long.  But she looked so happy and proud that I couldn’t help but fall in love with her all over again.

There’s something about seeing a girl who’s feeling pretty that just fills your heart with joy.  If you spot one today, make sure you let her know.  And if you are one, revel in it; you’re lifting more spirits than you know.

Birthday of the Crocuses

Crocus Sprout.

The crocuses are here!  The crocuses are here!

(How do they do that?  How do they know?)

Oh, you wee, beautiful ones!  Look at the crown you wear as you burst so bravely through the February soil.

Green! Green!  How my eyes have hungered for you!  And now here you are, eager and proud, a harbinger of hope, promising flowers.

The part of me that lives in shadows quakes with fear for you.  “It is too soon!” it whispers.  “The snow will come.  You will freeze.  You will die.”

But my joy drowns out the whispers with its laughter, and my spirit, trusting your wisdom, sings and sings.

Adventures at the Water School: A Happiness Tale

Raindrops on Yellow FlowersEvery millennium, when it opened its door for admissions, the Water School found tens of billions of applicants waiting at its gates.

Of course all the schools of the renowned College of Elementals were popular, but the training at the Water School was known across the universe for its fun.

Before graduation, the trainees got to practice grouping themselves as mists and rivers, as towering clouds, rainbows and whirlpools, as oceans and as rain. They learned how to stand still enough to become ice and snowflakes, and how to dance so fast they lost their boundaries completely and only their thoughts remained until they collected themselves again.

They loved to frolic on the Earth and called its oceans Mother.  They called the heavens Father Sky and were thrilled to rise to his heights.  When they were with Father, they got to fill the whole atmosphere, bending sunlight into the colors of sunset and dawn.  They got to make art as clouds, and to ride down as raindrops from way, way up high.

That was the coolest thing, the falling raindrop ride.  The trees and flowers and animals would look up from earth as they tumbled closer and closer and sing to each other, “Here come the sky-kids!  Here come the sky-kids!”  It was grand.

You never knew where you would land when you were a raindrop or what kind of adventure you would have once you did.  You’d slide down petals and rocks and leaves, slither down stalks or skin or fur, or end up on a tongue.  You might get to join the elementals playing snow-on-the-mountain, or hit a desert and burst right back into the sky.  But sooner or later, you’d find yourself home in your mother’s vast arms, rocking and rocking until Father’s voice would call again, inviting you to come outside and play.

It was a very thorough course of training.  And even though they got to be in the College for ten thousand years, the little elementals never tired of their classes.  When they graduated, they were proud, and glad, and they vowed to send their kids to the Water School someday to study with Mother Ocean and Father Sky.  And you know what?  Many of them did just that.  Wouldn’t you?