Lesson from Giant Swallowtail

I've been expecting himsince his mother scatteredhurried shadows overthe orange tree two weeks ago.Still, when it comes, his reveal is sudden as the lightning boltson his velvet wings,the morning mist nearlyconcealing his midnight black,his Fred Astaire elegance. But this is 2020, a yearthat staggers to the endholding its head in its hands,and even his butterflyperfection… Continue reading Lesson from Giant Swallowtail

To My Grand-daughter, about Nature

Sometimes they’re perturbed by me—your parents—for leading you astraywhen I answer yes, you can climb that tree.How many chances come your way in a lifetime to look beyond, to see downto the ground and then sway with the riverof existence in that limber brownbranch, to feel the coil and shiver of a western wind in… Continue reading To My Grand-daughter, about Nature

Harbingers of Change

I watch with some dismay as they facethe glittering Pacific, their feathersruffled in the coil and furl of a mid-September breeze, and despitethe long passage their plumage is crisp and white as silence. The royal terns are back for the winter.With their ragged black crestsand dagger-like beaks they pose with entitlement on their piece of… Continue reading Harbingers of Change

Which Way Is the Past?

I finally replaced our basketball netwith a brand new ultra-white version of hope—imagined us shooting hoops again soon,defying the athletic limits of age. Who knows, I said, the kids might returnand we’d show their children how to play "Horse,"—who's first to get a hoop for each letter—and time could stall like the arc of the… Continue reading Which Way Is the Past?

The Old Apple Tree

“The world breaks everyone, and afterward many are strong at the broken places.”                   Ernest Hemingway, “A Farewell to Arms” A century of apples broke its back— in the dappled shade, that farthest tree— the trunk lies horizontal in the grass, too weak, for now, to battle… Continue reading The Old Apple Tree

To a Small Dog Named Lucy*

The number of steps to the escape hatch and the lake of grass that's in the backyard, the distance to the sidewalk of sun and the warmth that makes your tail tick-tock, directions west to food and water and east to the winding carpeted stairs— behind your silenced ears and blind eyes there’s a map… Continue reading To a Small Dog Named Lucy*

Requiem for a Season

I sit in a garden suspended in time until a hooded oriole bids farewell,his song in couplets settlinglike soft rain or night fog on the shivering spikes of moor grass,on the gingko’s yellowing leaves,on the silver branchesof this receding day. His requiem falls on my shoulders,the pages of my book, the foldsin my cotton dress.… Continue reading Requiem for a Season

Inside an Old Wooden Box

Words carved on an antique box: J.A. Egen, Prisoner of War, Burt's Island, Bermuda, November 11, 1901 What proof do we need of existence? Sometimes only a carved letter box inlaid with lilies, the corners coupled in half-blind dovetails. A box chiseled by a prisoner of war, a South African Dutchman who fought the British… Continue reading Inside an Old Wooden Box