Sunday, November 16, 2008

Getting Wet

Getting Wet

This weekend, I did everything but…
the usual household chores, mowing the grass one last time before winter really sets in,
cleaning up the garage, burning the trash, even scrubbing the toilet.
I danced around it all weekend, hiding from my fate.

Last week, I was there, looking at birds with a group, taking in the sights on a cold morning,
looking at eagles, and a water dipper, and being distracted by the flow of the river
along the last of the orange leaves on the willows and dogwoods, the low early winter light
shining on the cold basalt above the rapids,
cold wind rushing down the river, away from the newly dusted mountains.

Finally, I found myself with nothing else, but what I needed to do.

My paint tubes flew out of the bin, and I grabbed a brush, then another,
as I spread the paints across the large canvas I had just unwrapped, and soon
the sky appeared, then the river, and then, finding more paint to mix with my brush,
the basalt, the dry grass and sage, and bear brush, until the canyon appeared,
giving the river a place to move, and clouds to reflect.

In a final burst, the leaves appeared, giving an edge to the river, keeping it
confined, until the water flowed off of the canvas
wetting my feet.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Twelfth of October

The Twelfth of October

Today truly is the end of summer. I mow the now greening lawn,
noticing that my pink dahlia was frosted last night, and its leaves are black.
I pick the apples from my tree, filling two more buckets than last year, and
I feel the cold kiss of the coming night, instead of the lingering heat of the day.

Making a stew, and the cooking of that dish is a sign in itself, I go outside to the tomato patch to pick some vine ripened tomatoes to add a special flavor, and notice the tomato vine is now all but bare, and the two tiny tomatoes left are all that’s left of the vine. The end of an age, or at least a season.

Its nearly dark, but not even six o’clock yet, and I really should put on a sweatshirt, but my shivery arms resist, wanting to soak up some more summer sun and heat, just one more day, please. Yet, I’m cold. I admit it. But, not enough of an admission to warrant finding my sweatshirt. Didn’t I last wear that on a summer camping trip, or for a walk on the beach? Soon, it will be a daily essential of my routine.

The calendar says October, and the serious fall rains are really past due. My wife’s compost pile grows from the cleaning and harvesting of her garden, and the green and gray striped caterpillars on the fennel pose politely for their picture, before I leave the garden for the fall.

The cats come in earlier than late summer, wanting the warmth of the house, and no longer dally on the warm deck next to the begonias, which are now dropping their flowers and their leaves turning yellow, and the warm deck feel is simply a memory.

Its time to go stir the stew, perhaps pour a glass of wine, and get on with this fall thing, putting the summer behind me now. My fingers still remember the feel of the apples, and how the bigger ones felt warm as I pulled them from the tree and plopped them in the bucket. Soon, it will be pie time, and my hours of tending the tree just so these last six months will be rewarded, finally.

Robert Bly, Reading One Night

Robert Bly, Reading One Night

Hands conducting the rhythm of the words,
Tai chi with poetry, stabbing and caressing,
strokes into the cold March winter air, bringing
dance to the words of Neruda, Frost, and Stafford,
finishing the evening’s talk with
Rumi and the other Sufi poets,
old friends.

Islamic poetic forms, given life in a Minnesotan
Norwegian accent, white haired man with a bit of a slur
in his voice, fading at times, so one’s ears had to grab
the words as they sang from his lips.

He decries the war in Iraq, and the death of culture
and storytelling in our living rooms,
applauds those who shoot their TV
and read poetry to their sons, and teach their daughters