Saturday, October 12, 2013

Decreasing at an increasing rate

For the past two weeks, these fields, full of sandhill cranes for much of the summer, have been empty. Have the cranes migrated south or have they simply moved to other fields? We did see a small flock of sandhills a week or so ago as they were leaving a farm field in the neighborhood. so we know some were still around. Based on reports at the Crex Meadows web site, the sandhill numbers appear to have dropped substantially over the last few weeks, but some are still around.

photo of sandhill cranes in farm field
sandhill cranes in farm field          © harrington

Looking at the extended weather forecast, we appear to have started our long, slow decline from Summer to Winter, bringing colder temperatures, increased chances of snow instead of rain (remember the Halloween Blizzard of 1991?) and growing potential for happiness for the snow lovers among us, although, if the climate prognosticators among us are correct, snow lovers (and the rest of us) may be in for real roller coaster Winters. But, I'm hoping this year we stay snow free through Halloween and Thanksgiving, at least. These guys don't look as great surrounded by white, whether snow or ghosts. Lest you believe that Halloween ghosts, goblins and jack o'lanterns all came from Europe to the New World, read Louise Erdrich's Windigo for an example of indigenous spookiness.

photo of halloweeny ghosts
halloweeny ghosts             © harrington

Windigo

Louise Erdrich

You knew I was coming for you, little one,
when the kettle jumped into the fire.
Towels flapped on the hooks,
and the dog crept off, groaning,
to the deepest part of the woods.

In the hackles of dry brush a thin laughter started up.
Mother scolded the food warm and smooth in the pot
and called you to eat.
But I spoke in the cold trees:
New one, I have come for you, child hide and lie still.

The sumac pushed sour red cones through the air.
Copper burned in the raw wood.
You saw me drag toward you.
Oh touch me, I murmured, and licked the soles of your feet.
You dug your hands into my pale, melting fur.

I stole you off, a huge thing in my bristling armor.
Steam rolled from my wintry arms, each leaf shivered
from the bushes we passed
until they stood, naked, spread like the cleaned spines of fish.

Then your warm hands hummed over and shoveled themselves full
of the ice and the snow. I would darken and spill
all night running, until at last morning broke the cold earth
and I carried you home,
a river shaking in the sun.
*************************
Thanks for listening. Come again when you can. Rants, Raves and Reflections served here daily. Poetry, often.