Thursday, March 3, 2016

They're baack!

Yesterday, on my way home from some errands, I noticed a pair of trumpeter swans on the ice covering the pool north of Chisago County Highway 36. Since we haven't seen any waterfowl all Winter on the frozen pools, I'm going to assume they're returning migrants. Based on the very sketchy records we've kept for the past six years or so, this would be the earliest arrival by more than ten days. If it's the same pair my Better Half reported seeing last week, their return would be earliest by more than two weeks. Neither appeared to be wearing a colored collar, so it's going to be impossible to tell if they're just resting on their way north or, later in the season, if they stuck around. We're used to seeing geese return around mid-month but, so far, haven't seen or heard any this year.

trumpeter swans,  Spring 2010
trumpeter swans,  Spring 2010
Photo by J. Harrington

Earlier this wee we noticed a pair of bald eagles playing flight games over the back yard. There's no way of knowing if it's the same pair I photographed a couple of years ago near the Highway 36 pools.

bald eagles, Spring 2013
bald eagles, Spring 2013
Photo by J. Harrington

The extended weather forecast strings together a series of days in the fifties, starting next week. I need to pick up the pace on cleaning fly lines and lubricating reels. I've made some progress but keep getting discouraged by the way even well-tended fly lines can tie themselves into knots. It's happened on each of the two lines I've cleaned so far, once each per line for the washing, the rinsing, and the conditioning. Rewinding each line onto its reel has gone a little better. A line-winder migh help, but I only have so many hands and the line needs to go into and be wiped coming our of the water and being run through the conditioner pad. I keep reminding myself how much fun it is to "mess with" my equipment.

Last, and far from least, another sign of Spring that returns every year is my Better Half's birthday. Happy Birthday, B.H.!

Why Is the Color of Snow?


Brenda Shaughnessy, 1970

Let’s ask a poet with no way of knowing.
Someone who can give us an answer,
another duplicity to help double the world.

What kind of poetry is all question, anyway?
Each question leads to an iceburn,
a snownova, a single bed spinning in space.

Poet, Decide! I am lonely with questions.
What is snow? What isn’t?
Do you see how it is for me.

Melt yourself to make yourself more clear
for the next observer.
I could barely see you anyway.

A blizzard I understand better,
the secrets of many revealed as one,
becoming another on my only head.

It’s true that snow takes on gold from sunset
and red from rearlights. But that’s occasional.
What is constant is white,

or is that only sight, a reflection of eyewhites
and light? Because snow reflects only itself,
self upon self upon self,

is a blanket used for smothering, for sleeping.
For not seeing the naked, flawed body.
Concealing it from the lover curious, ever curious!

Who won’t stop looking.
White for privacy.
Millions of privacies to bless us with snow.

Don’t we melt it?
Aren’t we human dark with sugar hot to melt it?
Anyway, the question—

if a dream is a construction then what
is not a construction? If a bank of snow
is an obstruction, then what is not a bank of snow?

A winter vault of valuable crystals
convertible for use only by a zen
sun laughing at us.

Oh Materialists! Thinking matter matters.
If we dream of snow, of banks and blankets
to keep our treasure safe forever,

what world is made, that made us that we keep
making and making to replace the dreaming at last.
To stop the terrible dreaming.


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