Sunday, July 31, 2005
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
The night enfolds me
like a green mother.
It nurtures me
in its black womb.
Stars are tiny sounds
a trillion miles away
but where I sit, silence
folds its arms around my head.
I let blossoms form within -
their chrysanthemum retreat
becomes solitude and haven,
the place I first find peace.
Dew’s green tongue
laughs against my arm.
Nurtured deep inside myself
my seedling heart grows warm.
Peggy Sperber Flanders
as published in The Comstock Review
and in chapbook An Array of Textures
Silk Creek Review is going Live August 1. We hope you will visit us. Info to follow shortly.
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Saturday, July 16, 2005
Friday, July 08, 2005
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
Sunday, July 03, 2005
Saturday, July 02, 2005
It is never easy to suddenly grasp our occasional encounter with wildlife. Often we are amazed at what we see, perhaps because we consciously distance ourselves from our wilderness experience [as mammals]. As a result most people are unable to "find the words" to reflect upon their encounters not to mention their larger impact as [we] collectively build more houses, roads, stores, malls, offices, et al. It is in the this context that some of us really struggle when we unintentionally injure or cause the death of a creature. At some level, we confront the larger impact we know we cannot stop and at once identify with the reality of this thing called "progress".
Perhaps the link is not consciously made but it is felt. And for us (you and me and a few others), it is momentarily painful. We are able to empathize to some extent. I have had a number of similar experiences in recent weeks with birds in the barn, bees & wasps or hornets in the attic and a rabbit nest I hit while mowing weeds with the field & brush mower. There was 1 casualty out of 3 or 4 babies. It was intact but lifeless with a bloody nose. I buried it under the nearby tree just to keep the flies away from the living babies still under the nest. That accident just ruined the rest of my afternoon. I stopped mowing until another day.
As for the birds, we did the best we could. The robins and I had a neighborly argument which had me evicting their messy nests from my barn although after 4 attempts, one finally succeeded in building and laying. So we coexisted
until the 3-4 hatchlings left the nest.
Infact, there was one that was learning to fly who was stuck running around inside the barn. I had the doors open and could hear mama just makng all kinds of noise in the
tree while I was trying to get the hatchling out so in the pot shed and though I let it stay because by the time I discovered the nest, it had eggs, one egg fell, one hatchling fell and died and judging from mama's erratic flight patterns and behaviors in my presence, I can assume she was not a happy bird.
As for the insects, I was installing an attic exhaust fan in the attic eaves and there were nests. It was very hot up there and the space was tight. If they got agitated, I would have no quick and effective escape. I was hammering and drilling and moving the fan to fit in the vent. I had to eliminate the active nests so that I could work.
I don't mind the wildlife but I do get a little annoyed when my house is used as nesting grounds for everything above and below ground. If I reflect though on my opening comments here, perhaps I can relate now to what it feels like to have one's habitat compromised or lost entirely.
I hit a firefly coming east on the Thruway. It struck the windshield, flared like a match with green flame, and then faded, leaving only an ordinary bug spot on the windshield. I felt almost as if I had killed a fairy. I had taken some light from the world.
Fireflies seem magical to me because of their ability to create light. I've read scientific principles behind bioluminescence, but it doesn't erase the magic. Light is miraculous.
One night last summer, driving with Keith and Graham, I remembered having earlier seen fireflies along River Road, especially thick at the corner of the field by the hedgerow. Since they live in Detroit and I’ve never seen fireflies there, I suggested we stop. We pulled to the side of the road and Keith turned off the headlights. The fields, tall grass and hedgerows sparkled with fireflies. Above in the sky, the constellations moved too, but so slowly, we couldn't see the motion.
I held my breath and watched Graham’s face in the darkness. "Do you see the fireflies, Graham?" I asked, "Aren't they pretty?"
"Yeah," he said, but he didn't look or sound excited. Not like I was.
There seem to be fewer people enjoying and fewer fireflies than there used to be. One night a couple weeks ago, I saw one firefly in the cedar outside my house. One is not enough. If there aren't at least two, there won't be more.
But in the fields out in the countryside, there are still fireflies. Maybe I just don't get out in the summer’s night fields enough. Perhaps I need to go out and count the fireflies, see if there are as many as I remember.
Tonight, coming home through highway construction, I came upon a truck holding a huge globe of light. Beneath it, several men wearing masks were ripping apart the pavement. Dust and dirt filled the air. It cascaded away in a fountain, lit by the strange globe of light. I wished I could have set up a tripod and recorded the scene. But the line of traffic and the narrow rows of cones prevented it.
The strange light and night scene touched a deeper spot, and again, I wished I hadn't hit the firefly. Recently, Keith told me that Graham suddenly said he remembered stopping to see the fireflies. He’d sounded happy about it. I released an inner breath I didn’t know I was still holding. Maybe I passed the torch. Perhaps someday, cupped in his hands, Graham will show a winged and living light to another child.
Mary StebbinsFor Keith and Graham
050701b, 6-28/29-05 (Midnight in the hospital emergency room)