Monday, February 15, 2016

Cardinal points

This morning I washed and dried my flannel-lined jeans, although I've learned better than to put them away for another six to eight weeks, despite the fact that today it's warmer in Minnesota than in my old stomping grounds in Massachusetts, and last night's local snow is melting on even the secondary roadways. Rain is in Friday's forecast!

female Cardinal at feeder
female Cardinal at feeder
Photo by J. Harrington

A male Cardinal has been showing up under the front feeder for at least three consecutive days now, although there was no female in sight any of those days. I presume that he'll stake out a territory and one of these days start singing from near the top of a tree around here and one day a she will respond and they'll then start a nest. [UPDATE: as of 5:45 PM, a female is at the feeder with the male.] At ground level, it's getting to be time to think about turkeys gobbling, although we haven't seen any wandering by for quite some time. The Winter's been tame enough they may not be holed up in their usual haunts. Time again to ease off writing and return to cleaning and organizing fly-fishing gear, the season of renewal approaches. By this time of year, once the snow cover melts the ground starts absorbing warmth from the sun, making it harder for early Spring snows to hold their beachheads for any lengthy duration.

Caro Nome

By Kathy Fagan
Jets shake the air and snow
breaks off a tree branch in little puffs. One
cardinal. Cars moving slowly downhill on the ice.

It is always someone’s last day.
Dearest Bird, she read from the card she’d found unattached to the flowers,
Happy Day To Our Sweetest Hart. Love Monster And Beef Dad.

Their secret language.
Manischewitz, she calls me for the sweetness.
Manitoba, for the expanse.

Deer rest in snow,
charcoal muzzle to charcoal hoof, heads slung over
their shoulders like swans.

One is in REM. Look at it dreaming, she said.
Fern buttons unwheel in a dark place behind the snow,
a contrast she loves in me.

The sledding hill is closed, the days like an unused billboard,
but sunsets have been fantastic,
jewel-toned as the flowers unattached to the card, or hot like the cardinal

who pins the whole picture up
with your eye. Meanwhile,
her tree is an iron room with the moon inside. Its branches

have a mental disorder so sunsets keep dodging them.
I am the color of that tree
she loves and nearly as still. And my blood, which is not in this picture,

will soon cool, sunset winking out in my eyes and her eyes
welling in a language that once fell and rose
in drifts then melted, starry, she said, starry, into my warm coat.

Thanks for visiting. Come again when you can.
Please be kind to each other while you can.