Rain or shine? Long pants or short?
Under a mostly cloudy sky, we start up,
The wet long grass soon soaks our pants.
Well hidden in deep grass,
Waiting still as mother instructed,
Nearly stepped on,
A spotted fawn bursts from her tiny resting nest,
Startles us, flushes, bounds away.
Wading up the sharp slope coated deep in summer,
The air cools, our breathing deepens.
The summit resolves – we are inside clouds!
Following a misted path along the mountain’s shoulder,
Orange salamanders litter our descent.
A thick heavy drop, then two, then ten, then more!
Thoroughly wet, we make our way to the valley.
Thoroughly happy, we make our way to the valley.
Days on end of wet makes strangers
of the sun, moon, and stars;
Causes the grass in the yard to grow
deeper than dog snow.
A glimpse of moon through breaks of clouds
soothed last nights’ troubled sleep.
A pileated woodpecker brightly punctuated
early morning’s milky sky.
Abundances of lilac and apple blossoms
contrast each other against pale clouds.
Early afternoon shadows finally cast
from reluctant breaks in endless clouds.
Fleeting rainbows remind us of promises
that will never be broken.
Rain can’t get the best of us
Sun, soon come!
Maybe nothing so defines the character of this area as stone. Look up, and you’ll see Elk Mountain – the biggest chunk of it around. Scratch a few inches of soil in the yard to plant a flower, or leave your mower deck a little too low, and you’ll find it.
Not until working with stone, to stack it for a wall, or arrange it for a patio, will one gain a deeper understanding of it’s nature. The uninitiated might think that stone work is monotonous and physically demanding, and they would not be incorrect.
After completing a stone project, one understands that successfully working with simple stone requires deep mental focus: one must keep a mental inventory of available stones, be able to visualize each stone’s shape, how the shape changes if the stone is turned over, how the stone will fit with it’s already placed neighbors.
Stone is intolerant of rationalization: “There is no such thing as a half-finished stone wall – either you have a stone wall, or you have a pile of rocks”.
Stone, with unfeeling ambivalence, accurately acquaints us with our strengths and limitations: how many stone shapes can one keep in mind, how heavy a stone can one lift, how long can one work with stone before rest or food.
A completed patio gives paws and boots a chance to scuff off mud, keeping the house cleaner.
A completed wall defines boundaries: where yard ends and flower beds start, makes “good neighbors”.
A project working simple stone rewards us by revealing it’s nature, and ours.
Clippers sweep the sky cold, pushing hard fronts, trailing soft flakes.
This morning, brilliant silver white gaggles fly high overhead:
Finally, the Snow Geese abandoned their summer homes.
They will not stop here; even now, open water is further south.
Arctic air and beings visit early this season.
Mist, coaxed by the sun,
Rises like ether,
Gilds Summer’s last dawn,
Splendored in gold
Ode to the snow crew,
Some of them ski, some of them ride,
All of them slip, all of them slide
Ode to the snow crew,
Zero degrees water and cold,
Zero degrees makes more snow.
Ode to the snow crew,
Sliding and climbing, midnight to dawn,
We awake to corduroy grooves in the snow that they blew
The frost’s been on the punkin,
If we had fodder, it’d be in the shock
It’s peak now here On The Hill.
Be skiin’ afore ya knowit!
With nearly a full third of astronomical summer remaining, harbingers appear.
A lone fully ripe red apple hangs on.
One tree in the valley sports a scuff of red, another, a stain of yellow.
Carefully observed, the rest of the trees subtly fade.
Behind all our backs there is a profound, common darkness,
Punctuated by sharp eyes and flashing teeth, not of our kind.
Singular Light engines our vocation,
Compels us to keep many faces, for as long as we are able,
Bright in this central Light.
So vesseled as one, transiting as obliged,
We comfort and sustain each other,
So dissuaded from the dark, our only armor strengthens,
This common vital glow described by us and Light.
The earth knows only two seasons.
The sharp, still, arctic cold of February, 100 days off,
The soft, syrupy, tropical warmth of August, 100 days past.
A little more than a moon away, the wane of light completes.
An instant of pause, the sun will still,
then renew it’s measured climb through indifferent cold.