Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Through the changing seasons, the woods yield a new landscape at every visit. This past Saturday, when I visited the woods with Margie of Resurrection Fern, I had the added benefit of experiencing the landscape with someone who has a deep appreciation of nature's rhythms.
It was a blustery, overcast day, and a soft snow was borne on the wind. We had the woods completely to ourselves. Our conversation flowed in comfortable snippets as we soaked up the otherworldly feel of the wetlands at their wettest and heard the quiet creaking of the bare trees.
It was such a joy to have a hiking companion who likes to stop and appreciate the smallest vistas. What a treat to see how a clump of moss became a magical miniature habitat through her lens. How the silhouettes of trees reflected in a small puddle became a rippling aura in an Impressionist-like photograph.
In her quiet way, Margie made me feel adventurous that day. I wrote this poem to capture one part of our hike that felt like a treasure hunt.
If you are quiet
In the winter swamp
You may hear the secret tunneling downward
Of roots that seem to be reaching for a tropical land.
The thermogenic heart of the skunk cabbage
warms the winter earth.
It melts snow and ice to emerge in early spring
to a land of soggy mounds
and the remains of winter:
puddles lined with brown leaves;
the ghostly shape of a bloated frog floating belly up.
The two pointed tips of its leathery spathe
Pierce the ground like the poison-tipped arrows of a lost Amazonian tribe.
The twin spades arc gracefully as they open their eggplant bellies
Curving into sensuous, sculptural forms:
An advertisement, an enticement
To bees and other winsome pollinators.
Warm heart meets cold air,
Creating a perfect spring breeze
That carries the heady scent of carrion.
A bee rides the luxuriant thermal
into the egg-shaped spadix
and enjoys the sweet meal of petal-less pollen,
a first taste of the coming spring banquet.
**A note about the photo shown here: I took this photos two weeks ago on a family hike. You can see Margie's gorgeous, deeply colored photograph from our hike on her Flickr photostream and in this collection of photos in her amazing post.
Local chatter from ZenCrafter at 11:01 AM