Sunday, March 1, 2015

Starting seasonal chores

pileated woodpecker at suet
pileated woodpecker at suet
Photo by J. Harrington

Welcome to (meteorological) Spring. It feels good to start to work outdoor activities back into my routine. Late Winter/early Spring can be a tough time for all of us, whether we get cabin fever or not. Yesterday, SiSi got to run all around the yard and blow off steam while I was taking a look at the bat house and lowering the purple martin house for cleaning. The pileated woodpecker has been showing up at the feeders with greater frequency. I don't expect tree swallows which usually nest in the martin house to be back before I get to finish cleaning it out. The nasty little breeze we had yesterday and today made it uncomfortable to take care of a dozen or so units in their house. Maybe tomorrow.

will the bat house be liven in this year?
will the bat house be liven in this year?
Photo by J. Harrington

Earlier today I cleaned out one of the bluebird houses. (The other one got cleaned last Autumn.) They'll get closed and ready for use within the next week or so, in plenty of time before the birds start nesting late this month or early April. As the weather warms, we'll also have to turn and rebuild the "compost" pile, which froze solid this Winter. We're not sure what else we need to do better to keep it happy and cooking all Winter long.

A Country Incident

By May Sarton 

Absorbed in planting bulbs, that work of hope,
I was startled by a loud human voice,
“Do go on working while I talk. Don’t stop!”
And I was caught upon the difficult choice—
To yield the last half hour of precious light,
Or to stay on my knees, absurd and rude;
I willed her to be gone with all my might,
This kindly neighbor who destroyed a mood;
I could not think of next spring any more,
I had to re-assess the way I live.
Long after I went in and closed the door,
I pondered on the crude imperative.

What it is to be caught up in each day
Like a child fighting imaginary wars,
Converting work into this passionate play,
A rounded whole made up of different chores
Which one might name haphazard meditation.
And yet an unexpected call destroys
Or puts to rout my primitive elation:
Why be so serious about mere joys?
Is this where some outmoded madness lies,
Poet as recluse? No, what comes to me
Is how my father looked out of his eyes,
And how he fought for his own passionate play.

He could tear up unread and throw away
Communications from officialdom,
And, courteous in every other way,
Would not brook anything that kept him from
Those lively dialogues with man’s whole past
That were his intimate and fruitful pleasure.
Impetuous, impatient to the last,
“Be adamant, keep clear, strike for your treasure!”
I hear the youthful ardor in his voice
(And so I must forgive a self in labor).
I feel his unrepentant smiling choice,
(And so I ask forgiveness of my neighbor).


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