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Stonewall in snow woods
Granite ledges split open
Out walking to home.


All week I have been thinking about this nest.  It’s in the Korean Lilac bush planted next to the walkway into the house.  The top branches are sticking up through the deep snow packed on either side of the narrow path we’ve kept shoveled through this snowy winter, and there among the jumble of bush is this tiny nest.  My guess is sparrows built it, based on their fluttering in and out of the bush last summer.  The memory of last summer’s birds and this nest now make me think of the summer after Eric died, when there was a nest in the yews that border the driveway.  I spent many hours that summer sitting on the porch, watching the adult sparrows and listening to the chirping of the chicks and the frenetic squabble when one of the parents would fly into the yew branches and disappear.  A few times I pulled back the branches to see the scraggly feathered heads stretching up towards whatever was coming.  Then the sparrow traffic stopped and the nest was empty.

I’ve been meaning to take a photograph of this nest every day this week, and then write a haiku.  But it’s been a week when taking a moment to stop and snap a picture has felt impossible, one of those weeks when breathing feels like it takes too much time.  I’ve had early morning meetings and evening meetings, meetings after meetings after meetings, which means I can’t get any work done, much less pay attention to the creative channel in my brain.  The whole idea of a haiku a day was to have at least a few syllables of space and time in my brain for creativity.

Well this week the creativity channel has been blocked.  I didn’t get to my poetry group, I only wrote a haiku on Tuesday, and that only happened because the snow sticking to every surface in the outside world was so stunningly gorgeous it stopped me long enough to take a photo and start the haiku machine whirring.

Now it’s Saturday, I’ve stopped long enough to breathe, get some wood into the house so we can have a fire, and think about something other than some work deadline that has to be met in the next minute.  On today’s list is loading wood into the barn, digging it out of the drifts and plowed bank of snow from the last few weeks.  As I carry the wood up onto the porch, through the kitchen, and into the barn I’ll be walking on the shoveled path, right past the nest, hatching its image and metaphor and memories into my brain.  Voila!


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Same house different
Lining grids of crossing streets
Big enough to live.

Baby Sleeping Chest Pose

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Too bad the baby sleeping chest pose isn’t a yoga pose.  If it was, I’d finally be making good on my constant remark that I’m going to “start doing some yoga .”  I need to devote some energy to loosening up my muscles and joints that are starting to protest more and more about my constant fitness activities that only wind me tighter and tighter.  Yoga would be good for me, but I rarely get to it.

Even if it isn’t yoga, the baby chest sleeping pose does loosen me up.  It’s one of the sweetest experiences in the world.  Emilio has spent a lot of time sleeping on my chest the last week, and that’s where he’s curled up right now.  His little body is wormed pretzel-like across my belly and up to my shoulder.  He squeaks and hiccups now and then, and takes quick little breaths, interspersed with deeper breaths and moaning sighs.  His body is warm and loose with an unstrung floppiness only infants seem able to pull off.  When I look down I see both my children as babies, I see Eric, I see Emilio’s father Matt, and I see Emilio, sweet, scrunchy-faced babiness in total abandon against my chest. 

It’s quiet here today.   Emilio is 8 days old and those days have been full of escaping from the hospital (yes, it felt like an escape) and a constant stream of visitors.  Today’s visitors have already come and gone, David has headed back to NH, Matt is asleep upstairs, and Adrienne and I are making up for baby-loaded time with some free time at our computers.  Baby sleeping time is my yoga time.

Haiku XXIX and Thoughts on Doubling Back

Waiting at the gate
Another late departure
Change flights to leave home.

So here I am at the airport, hours earlier than needed because my flight through Philadelphia is late enough there’s a good chance I’d miss my connection to Minneapolis.  So I took a seat on another flight through Chicago, which leaves two hours later than my original flight and gets me to Minneapolis over an hour later than planned.  Which is an hour later than my body time, since I’ll be flying through that invisible line where the clocks jump back an hour.

I keep walking back and forth between my new gate and my original gate to see if the delayed Philadelphia plane is here yet.  Maybe I should stay with my planned itinerary, I’ll get to Minneapolis earlier, I won’t have to wait around here so long?  The plane still isn’t there.  I walk back to my new gate — empty, no one at the gate counter yet to give me new boarding passes.  So back to the original gate, nothing new, turn and walk back down the long tiled corridor of the airport to a cafe and check out the menu, decide to go eat at the grill down past the other gate, walk back, eat, come back to the new gate, walk back to the old, back and forth, leave or stay?  No choice really, there isn’t a plane at either gate.

Yesterday morning David and I spent about an hour working on a poem for a holiday card that explores the idea of doubling back, of duality, of two things happening at once, two poets simultaneously writing the same poem.  Then we packed up and left to meet up with Ruth and Rick for a hike of Mt. Hedgehog.  The afternoon turned sunny and the hike was glorious, a trail dusted with snow rising through hemlocks and hardwoods to ledges that ring the mountain, opening up grand views of Passaconaway and Chocorua rising to the south. 

We’d planned the hike for the narrow band of afternoon light, so we’d finish in time for an early dinner.  But we planned it too tight and ended up still on the trail when it got dark.  I pulled out my headlamp and David got out his flashlight, neither shedding much light due to low batteries.  The trail at first was easy enough to follow, but then the wide open strip lit with snow dust crossed a brook and we couldn’t tell if the trail turned with the brook or crossed it.  I started hunting for blazes, walking up and down the different possible directions, finally finding a blaze.  We continued on a wet, sunken trail bed but then had doubts.  Were we following a brook, or on a badly eroded trail?  Again, I went back and found a blaze on a tree and a culvert sticking through the gravel.  We continued on.  I stepped in a deep puddle and water poured into my boot.  I plowed through water and wet ground, then came to a narrow swatch and couldn’t find any footprints.  I turned around and looked for the last blaze, found one and turned again, lost confidence and went back.  Doubling back, going forward, doubling back, going forward, David and Rick and Ruth letting me lead.  I pushed through the blackness of low shrubs at the narrow swatch and swung my head down.  Footprints in the gravel in front of me.  “This is it,” I said and kept going.  Soon I came to a foot bridge and signs.  We got out of the woods, laughing and relieved, all agreeing that was enough dark hiking to make an adventure we didn’t need to repeat. 

Last night we got to our cars and a dinner in front of a roaring fire in a pub.  Tonight I hope I get to Minneapolis.