Archive for January 3rd, 2016

New year walkabout.

Doesn’t matter what I think,
some bear’s been shredding them.


Peck and peck. Repeat.
How much wood? You cannot imagine.


Several layers interlaced living on decay.


More and more, the moss beats back the grass.
The extent of it is new and puzzling.


Evergreen mountain laurel leaves are the thermometer of the woods.
At 43°F they look like this; warmer they lift and flatten;
colder they curl, tighter and tighter, into little tubes at zero.


And here is 25°F, this morning.


Walkabout in wonderland this afternoon.

Happy New Year!

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Seeing long and short.

I told the pretty little hornbeam, forty years ago,
that little maple sapling will not bother you,
I’ll keep it lifted and away.
There’s room for both, I said.


The spruce looming at the bottom of the orchard was a seedling then,
its siblings all harvested for Christmas trees,
except one pine also grown too big for Christmas.
They’ve grown up entwined a quarter century since.


Good year for cones on the high branches.

The trees are transparent now
to the sky and the ridge across the valley
for half the year a solid mass of green.


See through down to the branch.


See right through the unending woods, almost.

In every quarter see the horizon of ridgetop and sky.


The leaves will be beautiful when they return.
But we’ll miss the long view through the silver trunks
just as much as we miss their dense green cloak.

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And lay the maple low.

The downhill trunk from a clump of maples
just let go during a storm a couple of weeks ago.

The fallen trunk stretched almost 70 feet
shattering a lot of the crown.

But the main body, including the lowest segment
looking like a rotten tooth
had to be chain-sawed into 4-5 foot sections.

Excellent firewood,
after a spell of curing.

It was a pretty good long healthy life,
but for the rotten tooth.

Can’t blame bugs for this one,
this tree was woodpecker-certified bug-free,

A tree on the ground
passes to other uses
as brush habitat, compost, lumber, stovewood.

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Little bear, bandit in the dark.

The porch light did not bother him,
nor my flashlight, not the camera flash.

He was on a mission to feed,
having already eaten, it seemed, his entire family
and become fat as a bear cub.

The technique is, to spare himself acrobatics: tilt and spill.

Tilt a little, spill a little more,


then dine at ease along the rail.

I slammed the back door, four feet from him,
and he dove over the rail, to hide under the house,
for almost three minutes.

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Centrality of the Nutcracker tree.

Final stage dressing for our Nutcracker tree.
It’s been assembled, lighted, be-ribboned, and be-candy-caned.
The present boxes, filled with many-year-old air,
are set carefully — we try for artfully — around the base.

If you magnify you can just see
the head of the Nutcracker
peeking up from behind the gingerbread house,
waiting for his reveal and Clara’s delight.

It’s easier to spot him from the side.


Ultimately, the curtain rises
and the tree becomes the backdrop for the dances.


The outrageously inebriated maid
has just begun her wobbly dance.
Scandalized, we are.

Three weeks ago, on the stage of the Diana Wortham Theatre.

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