Life With Horace

poetry & essays


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imagining dragonflies

walking under mid-March
flying clouds,
snow and ice,
still layered tightly
on this open wetland road,
there are soft murmurs,
not-still water
running under ice,
our continuo.
the great flow out
from unseen melt
is fleeing winter.

the half-warm sun
and gusting wind
of early spring
cannot erase the memory
of warmth and fecund life
held by my senses,
all riches here
to be regained
at nature’s pace,
not mine.

and so the dogs and I
tramp to the dam and back,
and dream
of summer pleasures
looming large,
imagining
the dragonflies.

__________________________________
on yesterday’s wetland walk my mind kept overlaying summer on what I was seein
g.


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sure signs despite appearances

We all know what yesterday was, and for most of us in the upper tiers of North America it was just a date.

But, there have been signs. More than one. Different signs, unexpected and joyous. Spring is en route here. Emerging at glacial pace after a winter that brought stoic New Hampshire yankees to the point of actual complaint.

The turkey buzzards are back. Really turkey vultures, but down in DC they were buzzards. I like that better. Circling singly and in whirling vortexes.

I’ve heard red wing blackbirds twice, once in my own yard.

Speaking of which, it is beginning to show mud. Longing for mud season. Just this year, mind you.

Bird song in the early morning is loud, and full and sweet, their spring calls.

There is more flowing water than ice or snow on our own Fassett Brook. The dark shape of the Brook is emerging from the snow in the woods behind us.

On a walk yesterday there was a bug creeping across the snow in front of me, when I happened to glance down. No idea what it was. Small and spindly, it crept along, and I imagined it muttering to itself about the snow.

And last of all, somewhat incongruous to me, I saw a male ring necked pheasant. First sighting up here for me ever. Coming home on Mountain Road, on the last climb up before the Old Toll Road trail. On the side of the road, looking a bit confused about getting back up the bank, to safety. Hope it didn’t become Creamed Pheasant, if you get my drift. It’s a busy road.

It’s definitely coming. Just very very slowly.


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soul tending

this seems the time
to tend one’s soul,
not just resolve
but looking out
and seeing in,
as dark recedes
and light is growing
in the mind
and to the eye.

why does the spirit
need a reset?
dug, then redug
like a garden,
soil turned up
to meet the light.

the answer lies in
life’s renewal,
making fertile
that inside us,
ready to be open
and receive
the heady rush
of spring.


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the false green

with winter off its rails,
a whiplash melt from ice
lays bare the lawn,
its blades now gold
and fledgling green,
looking much like march grass,
foretelling sun warmed birthing
an accidental color
it fools the eye and heart
this is not caesar’s month
the cold and snow of janus
will reclaim their space
until the sun extends its reach
into the soil, and pulls spring up


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the new path

while colors fade and drop
as browns and grays emerge
upright, leafless, spare
the sun is finding a new path
closed off before the change
this new light is a gift
an opening of space and beam
delights forgotten while
the world was green
there is the gold of larches in the marsh
a roof line now exposed, a barn
or field with open sightline to the hills
all these a balm to ease our journey
into winter, and the snow

_____________________________________
my cousin, the writer Jack Skow, gave me invaluable advice when I showed him this. not sure if I got it right since then, but I’m trying!


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thoughts about writing, and a surfeit of color

The urge to write comes in fits and starts, but lately haiku has drawn me in and I respond to its economies of length, of expression. Wonder if it is about not pressuring myself to do more. Probably.

I’ve also been working on a blog piece about cleaning my family’s place out, which was a mammoth undertaking. The importance of that piece to me lies in the loss of place and identity, the clearing out of things that don’t matter and the taking in of things that do, like relationships.

A writer I greatly respect posted recently that writing is hard work. Yes, I agree with that, having been through that process with my drawings over the years. Simply having the creative urge is all well and good ~we’d be nowhere without it~ but taking that urge and channeling it through one’s own prism is quite a process, and not done lightly.

Photography is an area where I’ve discovered that emotion cannot carry me all the way. Many times I’ll want to shoot something because I have a visceral reaction to its beauty, a color, a circumstance. It took quite a while for me to stop and think about composition, for instance. The surprise has been that the emotion remains after I stop to consider how to capture what I’m seeing.

Right now it is High Fall up here in New Hampshire. The colors are intense and still haven’t peaked, an amazing year for color. I’ve been making the rounds of favorite places to shoot, many on a daily basis. The dogs don’t quite know what to make of these last few days. We get out at Rockwood Pond, they swim, I shoot, back in the car and off to the wetland. Repeat. The other day they were ready to go home before I was!

That’s pretty much where I am too, sated, filled up with all of the color and glow and glory around me. Not that I won’t take some pictures, or feel the colors in my gut. Just going to walk, look, and enjoy. The dogs will be happy.