“Do you know," Peter asked, "why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories.” ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan


lesson 1. again.

a tree fell last week. the across the street one that stood next to the tulip tree. a neighbor tells me it was a sugar maple, but he could be wrong.  he tells me lots of things and i take most of them with a grain of salt, but he's often surprisingly right, so who knows? not i, but i will take him at his word this time. it was the 2nd part of a tree, it being one of those double-trunked trees, at one time spreading like a V from the ground up.  the first part fell a long while back.

the tulip tree had bloomed and was covered in pink flowers, the ground beneath it a pink shadow of fallen blossoms, and so i looked that way more than usual. it is just past the hackberry that stands in our yard, part of my everyday view.  my breakfast partner.  and for weeks it - the sugar maple - had been signalling a goodbye. something would catch the corner of my eye, a small movement, a sigh, something, something - how do i know what it was, mere mortal that i am? - and i would look up to find the tree still. silent. weathering the remains of winter.  and i would return to my cheerios or my book, feeling odd, uneasy.  silly.  a little crazy, especially after 3 or 4 weeks of somethings. i mentioned it to no one.

i swear this to be true.

it was always something near the ground, at the ground, that hint of movement, that wave of adios. at the scar where once its other half was attached. i always looked again, and sometimes it happened again, quickly, catching my eye again in a second, but always, always, it stood still when i turned. sometimes days would go by and i would forget, and then. again. a something of a movement. a squirrel's tail, i would tell myself, circling the trunk. a leaf, i would think, blowing in the cold wind.

in truth? a long goodbye. a slow beginning to the end.  last week i came home to find it sprawled across my neighbor's open yard, half the tulip tree gone also.  and i knew at last it had been falling for weeks.

today the tulip tree stands smaller, but stands.
the sky is clouded white.



insert curse words all over the page

it is one of those zippers that will not stay zipped,
every time i move, it comes undone;
i have said "god! this zipper!" a thousand times today
and it is not yet noon. 

the circles under my eyes are the circles you get after 50,
never mind that you get enough sleep
 they are allergies and inherited and after 50
they stay longer into the day
and it is not yet noon.

these socks fall like that zipper, 
i have crinkled another nail,
it is too hot and then too cold,
and it is not yet noon.


for kelly,
who has declared today
The Most Annoying of Days in the History of All Days.


february in bits and pieces

seems to me the truth isn't that hard to find.  it's hanging from the trees, blooming blossoming, soon dropping to the ground.  it's biting into a granny smith apple.  it's three hawks fast swooping sideways past my door a few mornings ago, flashing me their bellies.  it's the quiet of all the other birds, silent until the hawks are gone, then bursting into the sky as a flock of cardinals.

stop looking for the truth and just look.


february has been a small month of small sentences and thoughts.
i manage to write a line or two each day.

from the first day: it has just turned february, the month when the days can't decide what to do.  an in betweener for us - a fire lit this morning, not needed by the weekend.  a week later: the sky goes lavender on its way to dark. a week into february with open doors and a small fire in the heater.  a week after that, i squoosh a few days into this: monday:  the wind is singing a chilly song of february, slinging small stones and twigs and bits of leaves against the doors and windows.  the glass creaks in protest and surrender, the cat twitches in her sleep, dreams disturbed almost to waking. the morning birds are silent. thursday: we are warm.  flipflops, heaters off, windows open.  the night sky clear.  jingle bell cat a white presence in the darkness.  i can't sleep and can't read.


my morning pages say more.  i read my sloppy handwriting and see that i mentioned the sound of a woodpecker drilling into the top of the bat house, high in the hackberry tree.  it echoed hollow and almost desperate across the yard.  i see i wrote about the changing weather, the air colder than it looked, then suddenly warm.  i wrote about empty canvases, told myself to write about now, not then or when, but found that hard to do and mentioned my still empty childhood dreams. the pages are full of emptiness.


february. northeast texas.  anything can happen.

it's still winter, and i will be reminded of that, but right now we are rain and pink and the doors are still open, though barely barely.  there are robins in puddles.  last friday was sunshine and pink and warmth, the spring before spring, but the sun fell into night, once, twice, and by sunday we awoke to rain. paperwhites are blooming in huge fat bunches and if i stand in the middle of the street, there are tulip trees as far as i can see.  i like to stand inside their branches when i take photographs - it feels like fairy tales.

the rain moves past, only for a while, and suddenly the birds are loud songs in the trees.
songs of now.