Magical Realism, Writing, Fiction, Politics, Haiku, Books

domingo, marzo 24, 2013

El Pato Ha Vuelto!

Many years ago in early April I bought four mallard ducklings at Blue Seal Seed and Feed. They were tiny, and like most poultry in this county, they had been mailed with their siblings to the feed store when they were one day old. They lived in a crate and swam on the pond. One survived the nightly predators to full maturity. And because we wouldn't clip his wings, when Fall finally arrived, nature's plan took over. He flapped his wings, circled the pond, quacked a few times, and flew away toward the South. His name was "Tricky Duck." And he was a traveler.

Remarkably, he came back every Spring. He brought his mate with him. And then his children-- I imagine they were his children-- returned each Spring with their mates. And then his grandchildren. And their mates. For more than 25 years.

This Spring has been quite cold and bitter. There's been snow. There is still snow in the fields. There have been geese, but, so far no appearance by Tricky Duck.

Last night was cold. This morning was cold also. It was just above freezing. And then, a surprise. I heard him quacking. Tricky Dick's unmistakeable quack. Quacking to the dog, who is no longer with us, to stay away. Quacking to the sky spirits. Quacking aloud. Quacking for joy. The duck has returned. I saw him and Ms. Dick swimming in the pond. Spring has almost arrived.

I have posted this Tricky Duck annual event for many years now. This year, it was reported that Blue Seal in Chatham, Tricky Duck's original address, is closing at the end of the month. I guess we didn't buy enough there after we got Tricky Duck and his siblings. And now it's gone.

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sábado, marzo 23, 2013

Tonight's Visitor

I have a cold. I fell asleep early with the cat. She smelled of tuna.

I was awakened by a ruckus downstairs. I went down to see what was the matter.

I turned on the porch light. There was a huge gray wolf standing there looking at me through the door. And evidently it wanted to come in. So I opened the door.

This turned the cat into a hissing, spitting pincushion. She jumped to the top of the cabinets and screamed feline invectives.

No matter. I don't blame her.I decided to go back to bed. What else could I do?

As I expected, the wolf followed me up the stairs.

I got back in the bed. I told him, ”Please let me sleep. I need to rest and to dream."

Evidently he understood me. He put his huge gray head in my lap and closed his eyes. I put my hands deep in the soft fur under his ears and rubbed. It was thick and very soft. I also stroked him between his eyes at the bridge of his nose. His head was big and heavy, and soon he was sound asleep and breathing slowly.

In the morning he will be hungry. I will be, too. I hope he likes eggs.

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martes, marzo 12, 2013

At Last, Spring!

Please forgive the geo-centricity. I realize full well that the summer is coming to an end in the Southern Hemisphere and that in the Southern US Spring has already unfolded. But here, in this wooded corner where New York runs out and Massachusetts begins, the mild winter seems at last to have run its course. There are no more storms predicted in the immediate future. And hope abounds that the end of winter may actually have arrived.

Today I went for a walk. I live in Columbia County, in eastern New York. The ground in the fields was wet but not fully frozen, the pond is still frozen, the grass is still brown, and it was about 40 degrees and overcast. I was looking for signs that Spring really was coming.

I know that the Solstice is on March 20, 2008. I should be able to find some sign of the impending change of season, if I look for it, right? I couldn't find it.

But this evening was a different story. For the first time this year I heard the referee's whistle song of the red wing blackbird. the bird was in the top of a bare tree. It was whistling. I could see the red and yellow chevron on its wings.

A Redwing Blackbird

If you've never heard the Redwing Blackbird, try this. The sound I'm hearing is called the "okalee call." It's about setting out a new territory for the year.

In this corner of the world, the redwing blackbird is the very first sign of Spring. Before crocuses. Before paperwhites. Before anything. In fact, its basketball referee whistle call usually coincides with the beginning of March Madness. The selections for the NCAA tournament haven't come yet. The birds are a little early this year.

And so, in celebration of the fact there is a sign that at long, long last spring is about to emerge, and as important, that the northeastern winter is on its last legs, I offer you ee cummings:

in Just- spring when the world is mud- luscious the little lame baloonman

whistles far and wee

and eddyandbill come running from marbles and piracies and it's spring

when the world is puddle-wonderful

the queer old baloonman whistles far and wee and bettyandisbel come dancing

from hop-scotch and jump-rope and

it's spring and the goat-footed

baloonMan whistles far and wee

Join me in gratitude far and wee for the coming of Springtime.

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jueves, marzo 07, 2013

March Haiku

Today's white blanket

buries the emerging buds.

How much longer?