Haiku LXI

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Trees know winter’s bone
Pace and character of snow
Quickening of light.

Trained Tree

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I found it.  Three weeks ago, when I was staying on Long Island with Adrienne and Matt after Emilio was born, one morning I ran past a house that explained the strange, drooping evergreens I saw in many yards.  The running here is on grids of suburban streets, and the trees are mostly lovely — tall maples with full and even crowns, large hollies bearing slick, deep green leaves, conical spruces dominating a lawn.  But I couldn’t figure out the attraction of the evergreens I saw in many yards,  scraggly pines of some sort, draping down across themselves, ragged  and limp, often a single trunk or branch draping five or six feet like a hunched over old man.  What’s the point, I thought.

Then I ran past this house, that had trained the tree’s trunk and branches into swooping arches across the yard, over the driveway, in a peak over the front door.  Now I got it.  This was stunning.  But then I couldn’t remember where the house with the fabulous trees was.  I knew it was on a corner, I knew it was deep in the criss-cross grid of houses lined with streets, but I couldn’t find it again.

Today I did.  Now I know how to find the house and I now know the trees are Weeping Blue Cedars.  They only grow a foot to a foot and a half a year, so this amazing lace work of cedar gracing the house and yard must have taken decades.  Such patient beauty.

Storm Skiing

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Two storms in two days, and in preparation for the second storm and the predicted dump of another foot of snow, the state more or less shut down.  David and I decided early to get out into the storm for a ski, then come home to get our work for the day done.  The snow was falling thick as we set out on the trail to the west of the house, blowing into us across the open fields, making the world a hazy grey.  It was hard to get any sense of depth or direction as snow swirled around us.  Our skis were lost under the deep snow.  Our hats and neck warmers crusted as snow melted from our body heat, then froze again.  

Once the trail headed into the woods, the black of wet pine trunks and the green needles showing dark against their loads of snow provided contrast that gave the world around us depth.  The snowmobile trail had been tracked through the woods, probably last night after the first storm, and our skis started to appear again out from under the snow.  The trail took us across several roads, up the power lines, then up over a ridge draped with hemlocks and tall white and red pines.  We crossed the stream pouring out of Durgin Pond, rocks capped with great domes of white against the black water. 

The storm was cold and glorious and windy and wild and we skied right through it.  Lovely.  We came home and were able to catch our neighbor before he finished plowing, moving our cars out of the way so he could pile up the snow from the whole driveway.  Facing the five foot wall of snow between the driveway and the house, all that was left was figuring out how to get to the door.

Haiku XXII

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Running in shadow
Sun rising to light tree tops
Creeping to the turn.

Haiku XII

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Maple flames to oak
Spanning green, yellow, russet
Red returning brown