The bird swoops
from the neighbor’s roof,
low over the pool
like a crop-dusting plane over prairie wheat.
and when I again look up,
it has already sailed over my bedroom dome,
up to the hills that march above our fraccionamiento,
still green from the rainy season,
holding yellow flowers in bunches
like a hopeful suitor.
It is movement only
and a flash of brown,
not white like the albino owl
that swooped in a similar downward curve
over the pool and up again
that night our old friend died
alone in a hotel room in London.
This is the language of birds.
My two-woodpecker alarm clock,
every morning stirring me
from my solitary bed
to engage with the day.
The whir of hummingbirds
outside the window
in front of my desk cave,
drawing my attention away
from the worrisome puzzle of the next word.
standing at attention on one leg,
balancing on the dense hyacinths
that blanket the lake,
one eye intent on shadows
beneath water no human eye sees.
That sudden flash,
a filled beak
and that puzzle of digestion––
how to get a horizontal fish down a vertical gullet.
All the music of my life
sometimes distills down to the chorus
of thrush and cardinal,
wren and grackle,
of the egret.
By some synchronicity,
conducted into a natural choir
that is beautiful in its spontaneity.
What orchestra has that fine precision
and that moving harmony?
Every art a mere imitation
of what the world provides us every day
that we present ourselves to experience it.
Autumn is myopic—blinded by fallen leaves— yet under its blindfold, a suppressed serpent heaves. Winter seeks to placate beneath comforter of snow, but what the serpent dreams of no mortal mind can know.
Those qualms of lying dormant under the frozen banks may be released in springtime, when nature earns our thanks by mopping up the snow flow and pushing out the flowers, covering the naked limbs with buds and leaves and bowers.
The world so carefully balanced between its two extremes that each and every moment is much more than it seems. The coin of life that’s minted by a larger mind may in microcosm seem to have us in a bind.
That great hand of nature flipping the coin at will. One side giving birth while the other’s sure to kill. This irony of opposites that ties us to this ground is the majesty of nature––both cruel and profound.
Life metes out a gradual justice that we may not see. Not choreographed for one lifetime, not designed for you or me, but rather, for the planet or the universe. There’s no way to avoid it, circumvent it or rehearse. We’re a part of something larger even as we make mistakes as nature covers over the snafus mankind makes. Great men may be jaunty, swelled up with their great plan, but nature has more problems than looking after man. She has the heart of all within, seeing a scope broader than the needs of man or any other great marauder. There is just so much for any of us. When we grab for more, we can be pretty sure we may be headed out the door. What species will replace us, or how will we evolve if we don’t act quickly our problems to resolve? Even all technology is part of nature’s plan. Perhaps it’s written that robots will take the place of man. Micro chips for healing and mechanical hearts are only the beginning. They are only the starts. Species that overgraze domains bring about their endings. So it may be with us with all our diggings and our vendings. Machines poisoning our air and putting poisons on our shelves May only be the means of making more room for themselves!
I’m withdrawing from the argument. I have no more opinions. I abstain from giving voice to what I think to my few minions. Thoughts fly swift and easy lately on the internet. They are so filled with hate. How much more rancorous could they get? Our fearful hateful leader might hem and haw and hem, but the problem with such enemies is, they turn us into them!
My grass is fresh and verdant. Fresh flowers bloom every day. I’ll watch them from my hammock and put politics away. From the troubles of the world, I need a short vacation. My back yard is so lovely, and nature an education to stop and rest and notice all the pleasures of this life. We need to take in all of it, not just the pain and strife.
I contemplate the garden, suspended in my nest. Morrie jumps up to join me—an uninvited guest. Suspended in my private world, I find no rancor there. Just mariposas fluttering, suspended in the air above the tabachine blossoms—a sort of meditation better for my blood pressure than any medication.
I fall asleep and doze for hours. Awakening from my nap, I try to rise and gently spill the small dog from my lap. It’s feeding time for animals. I go to find the cats. They swarm around my ankles, both for sustenance and pats. It’s when I find the hummingbird they’ve left me like a treasure that I’m reminded that all nature is a blend of pain and pleasure.
The prompt words today were abstain, verdant and swift. Here are the links:
They break my heart, these delicate wings of hummingbird strewn on my porch with a tiny head displaying one beak, one eye.
Stripped of adornment, one slight hummingbird would hardly make a meal for a cat— especially one recently fed at my kitchen door.
Where was I when this travesty was committed, carried out by a cat true to its nature and therefore bearing no sin?
I was out back, filling the hummingbird feeder left by guests, though I prefer the natural sight of hummingbirds feeding at the aloe blossoms or thunbergia or frangipani. In the fenced backyard, the dogs create a territory safe from cats, but what am I to do about the obelisco plant I love so much in front— the one spied every day with a new bloom as I walk past it to my car? What’s to be done for the royal poinciana, seventeen years old, spreading its shelter over street and wall and front garden alike? A dangerous draw in a yard frequented by cats. What’s to be done? Defrock the area they roam in to make it hummingbird-free?
That double-pronged nature of cats— their beauty and their savagery–– displayed so vividly in man himself of late–– can it be anything but plan? And to what purpose? We love the ways of nature but turn our back on half of them, hoping they will not be demonstrated in our lives. Until that one last fatal claw of fate descends upon us and we fall into that scheme, resisting, but our efforts futile.
Why are endings necessary? Why must our hearts be broken time and again before they themselves are the breaking thing and we pass into nature, undivided, part of a whole both savage and tragic in its beauty. Here is the hummingbird whole. The cat whole. Here are we, whole, observing them. That has to be enough. The now. This look. This touch. This satiation for the moment. The hummingbird before the slaughter, the bone before the break.
The dolphin tail of the wing cuts into the orange sky. Brilliant deep orange fades to gold with dark islands of clouds rising like trees above pale blue, medium blue, dark blue fading to black. A thumbnail moon, one star bright like a planet just far enough above the horizon to be set in the darkest shade of blue. Scenes like this break my heart. I don’t know what to do with them. I’ve moved to the window seat now, unable to resist that first flash of orange revealed over the shoulder of the man who now sits in front of me––
that vivid sunset with no one looking at it
such a waste, yet now here I am, watching yet still wasting it.
I used to feel like this holding my sister’s child–– tiny newborn baby, so beautiful, so in my power. I wanted to hug him tighter to hold on to this–– to do something to express this feeling that I knew was vanishing even as it happened. Yet this fading sunset now flares more brightly than before as we keep catching up with it, flying west. It may be that the dolphin wings, jets protruding like fins, will swim for hours into the orange sea with all of us, kin inside of her, waiting to be born. Sleep. Read. Move to the bathrooms and back again shepherding children––small brown sheep and black sheep, eyes like berries turned toward windows reflecting back fire.
I want to run to the cockpit to feel orange wrapped around me, cannot get enough of these colors, want to paint something significant–– colors like vivid embers against ashes, firey colors bleeding into blue like fire staying alive as it bleeds into ocean and then into deeper ocean. All of these things that are––what are they for? Their purpose lost as soon as light has faded into darkness through that incredible palette that means nothing, but is everything above us all and under us and in us swelling us, reminding us to hug the world tighter. Squeeze life into it or out of it. Hold it closer, needing no meaning except being of it, with it, in it, having it in us. “Oh world I cannot hold thee close enough!” Understanding that.
(Click on first photo to enlarge all) There is a poem after the photos. Someone just suggested I note that here because he didn’t notice it the first time he looked at this post.
and out the door.
Peek through your viewfinder.
Circle of sunlight, orb of the moon. Each of their passages over too soon. What we may find as the day or the night gives over to nature in its swift flight is only the present. It isn’t forever. No matter how talented, selfless or clever we’ve fashioned ourselves, we’ll all come around to serve our real purpose, to nurture the ground.
Time chisels away with its constant cruel rasp. The hold of a lover loses its grasp. Circles of friends are too quickly diminished. Everything started soon seems to be finished. Each rolling stone must encounter a wall. The dough of the universe rolled in a ball still lives by the edict that rules us all. Whatever has risen is certain to fall.
The very stuff of the bodies we live in are atomic circlings that we’ve been given to use for awhile before giving them back to continue their course on whatever the track is the larger extension of what we’ve been given— the next destination to which we’ll be driven. This circle we live from year’s start to December is simply the circle that we can remember, most of us hoping we’ll be up to par for inclusion in nature’s recycling bazaar.