Month: April 2021
Sparrow and Wasp
Unaware of my presence
a sparrow alit on a trellis near me
with a live wasp held tightly in his beak
I can’t be sure who was the most surprised
but of the three of us
I suppose it was the wasp
As our northern hemisphere
bows toward the ecliptic
the days lengthen
and the cool spring rains fall
bringing forth new life
from the damp, dark humus.
and the Earth continues
on — and in — its way.
A pair of haiku to welcome the day.
The mourning dove sits
introducing a new day
with his plaintive call
Birdsong fills the air
The morning chorus rising
as the new day dawns
Buckeye Flowers in the Spring
Today’s post is another Tanka. I am really starting to enjoy this form, and I love the “haiku-plus” aspect of the thing. The challenge of bringing what I start with down to 31 syllables is fun.
This photo was taken on the Land Trust of North Alabama’s Chapman Mountain property a few weeks ago. It was a beautiful day after a very recent rain. In that post, I said I came off the trail with a list of poem topics. This is one of them.
“Natural Succession,” the sign says.
It’s a small sign on a simple post
placed beside the trail, its paragraph striving
to explain the growth in the area just beyond it.
The just beyond is a stand of young trees
mostly eastern red cedar, sweetgum,
a few elms and the rest loblolly pine.
Brambles claw at their modest trunks
while Virginia creeper and poison ivy
work their way skyward, green-red and springtime shiny.
I understand the “succession” part of the sign
but — not to be difficult — I have to take exception
to the word “natural.”
At some point in the recent past
a bright yellow behemoth (more than one, I’m sure)
made its way across this place
all that stood
in its path.
The land was left devoid of anything organic, bare and raw
silt-red rainwater running in rivulets
through the track-tread trenches.
But, yes, nature is succeeding
Birds fly from tree to tree, and the blight
is becoming harder to see and more of a memory.
For that, I am thankful.
Just a note: I truly am thankful for the donation of the lands I spoke of in the poem above, and I’m thankful for the stewardship and conservation efforts of the Land Trust of North Alabama. That said, I hope we get to a point where it’s not necessary to go on biggering and biggering. If I’m not mistaken, that’s how the Onceler put it. The Lorax’s response: “Unless.”
Technology and Chipmunks
One of my favorite animals is the eastern chipmunk. While it’s safe to say they’re a common animal in the woods of north Alabama, it seems as if they’re either ubiquitous or nowhere to be seen. I suppose it’s a matter of food.
Anyway, I’m out on the trail the other day and there’s a lot of chipmunk activity–this was a ubiquitous kind of experience. The little guys were all over the place (my theory: it’s springtime and love is in the air). Chipmunks are funny, because they have a warning chirp that almost sounds like a bird. They’re running around, so there are leaves rustling, and the ‘munks were chirping up a storm when suddenly one of them stops on a rock some 15 feet in front of me.
He (?) faced toward me, sat up on his back legs, and just started barking at me! It wasn’t a dog-like bark, but it certainly wasn’t just a chirp either. This went on for a few seconds, then he jumped down, ran between two rocks, and was gone.
And then it was quiet.
Okay, I’ve been in the woods a lot. I’ve seen a lot of chipmunks. I’ve never experienced something like that though–it was strange and a little bit funny, all at the same time.
In keeping with the strange and a little bit funny theme, I had the sudden urge to share the experience on Twitter. I’m not a big Twitter user, but that’s where I chose to share what had just happened.
In keeping with the strange and a little bit funny theme, my sharing turned into a haiku, compliments of Jean LaTourette (@mz_lat).
Thanks, Jean, for a fun experience as fellow writers, technology, and an irritated chipmunk all came together on a Saturday morning!
Things that Catch My Eye
Today’s post is just a simple quatrain that came to me after I spotted a small tree frog out on the trail yesterday. I’m oftentimes surprised when I actually see things like this, because I know I walk by them all the time. Camouflage is an incredible survival adaptation for so many animals!
Sometimes I find myself surprised
by the things that catch my eye
Though they often make me wonder
‘bout the things I walk right by!
Hiking with Children
Hiking with children leaves me wondering
Am I seeing my past or experiencing a vision of their future?
Watching them, I remember my early steps
when everything was new and simple
— when the immediate was infinite —
and I could see all there was to see.
I have a glimpse of the paths they have yet to walk
if they choose to take them.
We’re planting seeds from an unmarked envelope.
We walked through the evening woods, my wife and I.
It’s this time of the year that she was born, which seemed fitting
as we moved among the new and re-newed life.
The dogwoods blooming and the elms coming into leaf.
Virginia creeper emerging in delicate goldredgreen
and the recently silent trees alive with robin song.
We walked, sometimes speaking, but mostly in silence
hands in our pockets to defeat the just-cool evening air.
We walked with the setting of the Sun and the rising of springtime
absorbing the newness of it all.
Draft, Tim Gels