Thursday, March 10, 2016

Phenology's ins and outs

The daffodils on the window sill are fading rapidly. They peaked a day or two ago at about a dozen blossoms. Two potted purple crocuses (croci?) on the matching window sill are starting to peek out from among their leaf blade enclosures. Primroses(?) in the living room wall hanging, the one that held forsythia last year, have engaged in an irrational exuberance of blooms. Even after a relative mild Minnesota Winter and early start to Spring, accelerating the season's transition by bringing it indoors brightens my outlook during our continuing cloudy days. Time to go looking for a bunch of forced forsythia branches to replace the daffodils, I think.

forsythia branches in birch bark wall hanging
forsythia branches in birch bark wall hanging
Photo by J. Harrington

The first wave of waterfowl landed on our local waters last weekend, but there's been no sign of increased Canada geese flights arriving the past few days. The next burst of warmer temperatures brought in by winds from the south, and the growing amounts of open water will no doubt signal new arrivals from wintering grounds. Then we're but a couple or three months from gosling, cygnet and duckling time. Unless, of course, Spring suffers a relapse, as it all too often does in our North Country.

returning waterfowl as waters open
returning waterfowl as waters open
Photo by J. Harrington

It caught my eye a while ago, lit up 
against the gloom of the woods
in the corner of a wild field,
the pulsing color of caution.

And now that I have spent a little time
on this stone wall watching its fire
flare out of the earth
I begin to think about the long chronicle of forsythia

how these same flowers have blazed
through the centuries,
roused from the ground by the churning of spring.
I would rather not look around the next

corner of the year to see how this will die,
its lights going out,
its bare, arcing branches
waving like whips in the bitter wind.

So I sit facing the past,
letting my feet dangle over the wall, 
beating time against stone with my heels
as the long gray clouds roll over me.

Remember how Arnold by the Channel
thought of Sophocles who must have heard 
the same shore-sounds long ago,
walking by the edge of the Aegean?

Well, I am holding in the palm of my thoughts
all the others who once were stopped,
like me, by this brightness, 
this sulfuric cry for help:

women in tunics, women gathered by a well,
men in feathers, men swimming by a river, 
all speaking languages I will never know,
saying the different words for its color

as I feel the syllables of yellow form in my mouth 
and hear the sound of yellow fill the morning air.

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