Saturday, July 6, 2013

Stop your [k]vetching

Welcome! I think the picture is of red clover. When I'm driving through the countryside, I frequently confuse it with crown vetch. I never confuse either of them with purple vetch, which I frequently confuse with hairy vetch. Plant identification at road-speed is unwise and unnecessarily challenging. I have a hard enough time standing over or kneeling next to a plant with a field guide in my hand. I do much better with wildlife, such as the large black bear we spotted yesterday as we were on our way to pick up our CSA share for the week at Amadore Hill farm. This one was two to three times the size of the "little" guy(?) we had visit our back yard earlier in the day (~100 lbs versus ~300 lbs). S/he was  a couple of hundred yards away, headed into the woods from the back edge of a cornfield with a pigeon-toed stride that looked like s/he was shoulder-balancing a chip. It's a rare day when I get to see a black bear in the wild. Two in one day is magical. I gives me an entirely different feeling about where I live. Si-Si the blond lab stayed stretched out on the back seat and never noticed nor got excited. She travels well. She doesn't respect personal space very well nor the fact that food on the kitchen counter top isn't intended for her. This week's CSA cookie share largely disappeared while I was otherwise occupied. I'm certainly glad she didn't get her "better to ask forgiveness than permission" attitude from her owner. Neither of the bears we saw looked like they were about to ask permission either. In honor of Summer and a two-bear day, let's enjoy this Hayden Carruth bear poem.

Bears at Raspberry Time

Fear. Three bears
are not fear, mother
and cubs come berrying   
in our neighborhood

like any other family.
I want to see them, or any   
distraction. Flashlight   
poking across the brook

into briary darkness,   
but they have gone,
noisily. I go to bed.   
Fear. Unwritten books

already titled. Some
idiot will shoot the bears
soon, it always happens,
they’ll be strung up by the paws

in someone’s frontyard   
maple to be admired and   
measured, and I'll be paid   
for work yet to be done—

with a broken imagination.   
At last I dream. Our
plum tree, little, black,   
twisted, gaunt in the

orchard: how for a moment   
last spring it flowered
serenely, translucently
before yielding its usual

summer crop of withered   
leaves. I waken, late,   
go to the window, look   
down to the orchard.

Is middle age what makes   
even dreams factual?
The plum is serene and   
bright in new moonlight,

dressed in silver leaves,
and nearby, in the waste
of rough grass strewn
in moonlight like diamond dust,

what is it?—a dark shape   
moves, and then another.   
Are they ... I can’t
be sure. The dark house

nuzzles my knee mutely,   
pleading for meaty dollars.   
Fear. Wouldn’t it be great   
to write nothing at all

except poems about bears?
Thanks for listening. Come again when you can. Rants, raves and reflections served here daily. By the way, if you're still not sure about [k]vetching, follow the link.