fieldnotes 5.9.17


5.9.17

(61/43)

goldfinches before the trail. white crowned sparrow. rosebreasted grosbeaks. orchard oriole singing. redwings. cowbirds. cardinal. tree swallows. coyote pup! gangly. chilly. little flock of song sparrows. little flock of white-crowned sparrows. robins. is a green-gray day. spring flowers celebrate the wet. peepers.
the coyote’s growing into his feet disappears over a low hill to hide and watch.
we do not sing to soothe,
but to expose what seethes inside the frayed network
to settle in the bone and Become.
How we are incapable of premeditation,
field sparrows. baltimore oriole.
how silence seems a selfish choice.
i hope you were not worried.
i’ve been expecting the worst.
clockwatchers. mapgazers. preoccupation. preoccupation.
and i love this constant surprise.
‘you’ll be careful not to hide. i’ll be careful not to seek’
bluebird. meadowlark. everything singing. song sparrows and white-crowned again. thrasher. catbird. the air overwhelming sweet. and now dozens of white-crowned sparrows. cardinals. goldfinches. bluejay. baltimore oriole. rosebreasted grosbeak. field sparrows.
bobolinks!
scruffy coopers hawk. tree sparrows. could use some reassurance. will have to settle for muddy feet. 3 cormorants. big blue heron. palm warblers and bluebirds follow in a friendly-feeling way. walk into the woods for a pitstop and find lily of the valley. yellowrumped warblers. red trillium still. wild geranium. mayapples starting to open. big white trillium still going.
there is something i want to be true.
but i never will know it is,
will i?
still,
whether finite or not,
it is nice, for a moment,
to be embodied.


about fieldnotes

fieldnotes was written at the Marsh beginning Sept. 26, 2016 and ending near the same time in the following year, collected in memo books over the course of many rambling walks.
Beginning on Sept. 26, 2019, three years after the writing, fieldnotes will be published in its entirety, with posts appearing as the corresponding write-dates occur.
(at least to the best of my ability)

fieldnotes 5.5.17

Chrysalising

What was that?
I couldn’t quite catch it ‘midst my distraction.
Was it?
Seemed like hope.

I make no secret of how I am to be found.
But there’s none to find.

Tally up each stronger step.
Here comes the sun,
nectar still to sip.

And getting there is easier than you might think.
Don’t reach.
Let silence be silence,
come to fill us up again.

Someday we’ll wake
to inhabit
a new unknown.



5.5.17

(60/42)

mourning cloak. song sparrow. redwings. tree swallows. robins. redtail hawk. peepers. cardinals. blue heron. bluebird. a ridiculously gorgeous day. goldfinches. brown thrasher. cowbird. hear a meadowlark and bobolink but can’t see them. too many distracting redwings and swallows. aha! here’s the meadowlark anyway. fox sparrow. field sparrows. friendly. blue heron. couple hawks playing in the wind. bluebird. kingbird. red admiral. the mayapples have mayapples. violets and red trillium. wild geranium. ‘one night the howlin dog cries out lonely life.’ canada geese. cormorants.

Notes:
Quote 1: (howlin dog): Edie Brickell & New Bohemians / ‘This Eye’ on Ghost of a Dog (1990)


about fieldnotes

fieldnotes was written at the Marsh beginning Sept. 26, 2016 and ending near the same time in the following year, collected in memo books over the course of many rambling walks.
Beginning on Sept. 26, 2019, three years after the writing, fieldnotes will be published in its entirety, with posts appearing as the corresponding write-dates occur.
(at least to the best of my ability)

fieldnotes 5.4.17

Our Green Music

Waiting for this —
your healing sun —
I slipped through the door
and out into a gray wind,
but it was still just a ghost in the clouds.

It was 20 years of badluck birthday cake and blind paralysis.

We get too old and see,
but we can still swap our hands to warm them.

Mourning dove follows,
curious.
and the green is best when it’s growing into itself,
our floods not quite clockwork.

Everything that means something
means something else
and more.
We bury our motives —
bare hands in fat black dirt,
cultivated hymns,
mad chants —
when all we want is to be warm.



5.4.17

(53/44)

blue herons circling in. spring peeper. redtail hawk. redwings. goldfinches. tree swallows. barn swallow. white egret. the shyest sparrows. baby geese in the inlet. very busy fox sparrow. 2 peepers where the water is high. song sparrow. catbird. meadowlark. goldfinches are busy. oh! a bobolink! (a favorite favorite) cowbirds. bluejay. towhee. field sparrows. walnuts and some of the little spindly oaks starting to leaf out. more cowbirds. chipping sparrow. buzzy. cormorant. white egret. skunk cabbage starting to get big. marsh marigold is done. hundreds of swallows over the river. toadshade. valerian. wild geranium. large-flowered trillium. all the violets.


about fieldnotes

fieldnotes was written at the Marsh beginning Sept. 26, 2016 and ending near the same time in the following year, collected in memo books over the course of many rambling walks.
Beginning on Sept. 26, 2019, three years after the writing, fieldnotes will be published in its entirety, with posts appearing as the corresponding write-dates occur.
(at least to the best of my ability)

fieldnotes 4.27.17

Refuge

Windsinger,
fire-eater.
We keep the reins and ride the tempest,
but it all comes loose again
as a steady rain settles in.

And spring wants to say,
I am not summer.
Take it in —
how what is wild in us remains so.
How our fingers are cold.

Alone under a caving roof,
deafened by its quiet rhythm,
I don’t care if it were only a dream —
a tender vein to divert a swollen river.
And I don’t care
if I too become something needed.

Your words were my words.
You drew an accidental map.
I stumbled into that refuge and —
though I know North like a magnet —
lost myself.



4.27.17

(62/42)

redwings. goldfinches. wind singer. fire eater. robins, cardinals. swallows over the marsh. gray and cold. more spring than winter or summer. it still sings with chorus frogs. canada geese. pied-billed grebe. little spots of rain. coldish. greening well along among the wet old browns of last year’s weeds. song sparrow. yellow warbler! clouds low and fast with bright blue sky that wants to break through. flicker. the grass long enough for waves. rain of wild crabapple petals. tree sparrow. pair of bluejays. the Sun! the Sun! a flock of chattery goldfinches. field sparrows. bluebirds. palm warbler. little miniature forests of mayapples. yellow-rumped warbler. tree swallows and barn swallows. lily pads starting to pop out of the water. mallards. redtailed hawk. wild turkey! handsome. red trillium still blooming. little sprays of wild geranium. tree sparrow. ‘love is a rose.’

Notes:
Quote 1: (rose): Neil Young / on Decade (1977, but first recorded in 1974, by Neil. And by Linda Ronstadt in 1975)


about fieldnotes

fieldnotes was written at the Marsh beginning Sept. 26, 2016 and ending near the same time in the following year, collected in memo books over the course of many rambling walks.
Beginning on Sept. 26, 2019, three years after the writing, fieldnotes will be published in its entirety, with posts appearing as the corresponding write-dates occur.
(at least to the best of my ability)

Hard Won

It is a difference of degree.
Love or loneliness.
Once I would run to tell you.
But now is not like before,
but before that.

And I would share the air with you.
I still would.
And I am still leaning into it,
but the blade is dull now.
Still, it’s what we’ve got.
And it’s what we’ve got to do.

And what we’ve got to do is work at peeling back the layers:
how we have been defined
by something that comes from outside —
over and again —
some lightness or darkness that was never our own.

Here, alone,
it is getting easier to see.
Day after day with my hands in the dirt,
there is only the witness.

And you were never real.
And neither was I.

fieldnotes 4.18.17

In the Bone

…’When you wake up feeling old’…

In the vague waning of half a pink moon,
we lean into the cut of spring’s slow green blade,
to refine,
again,
the soft and hard edges,
and uncross those wires —
a Boundless connection —
its overwhelming sweet.

Make the best of it, you said.
But come on.

Commit your sorrowful researches to those dogeared pages in your pocket.
Pour something out.
Burn something up.
Meet us where we Live.
Make it real.



4.18.17

(76!/42)

redwings. REDWINGS! robins. golden crowned kinglet. swallows. tree sparrows. chorus frogs. song sparrow. cardinals. two red admirals. flowering things overwhelming with sweet today. bluejay. all kinds of things heard and not seen. meadowlark. goldfinches — lots! brown thrasher! chickadees. towhee. cowbird. cabbage white. a very curious white-tailed deer. purple and white violets and dandelions a blanket of yellow. flock of cowbirds. grackles. fat blue dragonfly. lots of trees flowering. even the oaks starting. mayapples opening their umbrellas. my cormorant. turkey vulture. bluebird. two coopers hawks. marsh marigold. ruby crowned kinglets. tree sparrow. yellow violets. bloodroot. twinleaf. spring azure. rue anemone. northern flicker. bellwort. downy woodpecker. mourning cloak. redbuds and crabapples.

Notes:
Quote 1: (feeling old): Wilco / ‘When you wake up feeling old’ from Summerteeth (1999)


about fieldnotes

fieldnotes was written at the Marsh beginning Sept. 26, 2016 and ending near the same time in the following year, collected in memo books over the course of many rambling walks.
Beginning on Sept. 26, 2019, three years after the writing, fieldnotes will be published in its entirety, with posts appearing as the corresponding write-dates occur.
(at least to the best of my ability)

fieldnotes 4.13.17

Eleventh

He brings me crocodile tears,
and her number is up.
It’s time to remember what it’s worth,
being here.
Go down to where the story is born,
down along the muddy bone
of the animal body,
before the cleansing and bleaching
of weather and sun.

It is a spring thing —
an ebbing contraction —
a receding darkness —
how we swim up from our shipwrecks —
how the wind is a gift of song —
a new shore,
a new language,
a new landscape,
with all the Living left to learn.



4.13.17

(59/44)

bluebirds. tree swallows. noisy redwings. circling vultures. chorus frogs. little flock of kinglets. lots of vultures. tree swallows. blue heron. cardinal. more kinglets. another heron. blue jay. peeper. I keep getting bad days for butterflies out here, but at home I’ve seen a mourning cloak and a bunch of red admirals. meadowlark. phoebe. song sparrow. flock of white throated sparrows. robins and redwings and robins and redwings. another meadowlark. downy woodpecker. hermit thrush. smell of wet dirt and green things. turkey vulture. song sparrow. mourning dove. pair of fox sparrows. bluebird. some kind of flycatcher. great horned owl. mallards. flicker. heron in the treetop. song sparrow. skunk cabbage and marsh marigold. coopers hawk. mayapples inching up. toadshade. nuthatches. big flock of coots. chorus frogs. dozens and dozens of swallows over the marsh. pied-billed grebe. tree sparrow. flock of yellow-rumped warblers. little purple violets. twinleaf in little patches.


about fieldnotes

fieldnotes was written at the Marsh beginning Sept. 26, 2016 and ending near the same time in the following year, collected in memo books over the course of many rambling walks.
Beginning on Sept. 26, 2019, three years after the writing, fieldnotes will be published in its entirety, with posts appearing as the corresponding write-dates occur.
(at least to the best of my ability)

fieldnotes 4.4-6.17


4.4.17

(55/45)

robins. redwings. chorus frogs. swallows starting to get a little aggressive. tree and barn. turkey vulture circling. little flock of gregarious golden-crowned kinglets. ruby-crowned too! 4 piedbilled grebes. tons of swallows over the water. merganser. wood duck. coots. big flock. fox sparrow. pair of flickers. crow. song sparrow. bluebird battling a swallow. cardinals. 3 grackles. redbellied woodpecker. another fox sparrow. chipping sparrow. kestrel showing off. chorus frogs. more kinglets. little flock of song sparrows. flicker. cormorant on the pond. mallards. blue heron – the big guy. close. 2 vultures, low. Eastern wood peewee. wood duck. blue-winged teal.


Unknown

…’they told us our gods would outlive us’…

Deep in the core that minds the machinery,
am I myth or monster?
I sing the wind to bend the branch
that holds your scrap of sail —
an old, old story:
the siren’s tyrannical sympathy,
and how it bears the will and whim of dreamers.
How you mastered the tides but not the storm.
How they are greater gods than we.
How they brought you here to sit,
and breathe —
just where Ocean crashes into Other,
back to the waves,
settling in,
I sing the wind and know:
Anything could wait within the distant treeline.



4.6.17

(50/38)

sandhill cranes. redwings. song sparrow. chorus frogs. peeper. cardinals. canada geese on a nest. windy! tree swallows. nice to see the sun. chilly though. song sparrow. redbellied. meadowlark? some kind of woodpecker. bluebird. angry swallows. meadowlark! TOO-too-hee-Tee-too. chickadees. song sparrow. river high and fast. white throated sparrow. kestrel low in the old man’s branches. flicker. nuthatch. vernal pool. so many frogs! bluebird. carp in the creek.

Notes:
Quote 1: (gods): Nick Cave + Bad Seeds / ‘Distant Sky’ from Skeleton Tree (2016)


about fieldnotes

fieldnotes was written at the Marsh beginning Sept. 26, 2016 and ending near the same time in the following year, collected in memo books over the course of many rambling walks.
Beginning on Sept. 26, 2019, three years after the writing, fieldnotes will be published in its entirety, with posts appearing as the corresponding write-dates occur.
(at least to the best of my ability)

fieldnotes 3.28-29.17

Crash

Some were drawn by moon,
some by stars.
And maybe you followed the same path
of creative destruction,
the parasitic sort.

I lost half of my true name.
And you edged,
careful,
into that lost landscape and set up camp.

We push our fingers into the dirt and find them,
bone by bone,
diamond polished,
taut-stringed,
the dancer at the end.
And I danced ’til I could stand
and stumble on Alone.

Wind to lung,
rain to vein.

Meticulous and patient,
fingers dance to knotted words,
running them smooth again.
Old, well-built engines
sputter but start and settle,
an unheard hum.

And,
slipshod as we are,
renovated and repaired
with found or recovered objects,
the moon still pulls its salt through us —
a tightening circle of waves,
which must eventually crash us over
or pull us under.



3.28.17

(50/36)

coopers hawk. robins and redwings of course. chilly. feels like it should today. tree swallows on the boxes. chorus frogs. juncos. kingbirds. song sparrow. fox sparrow. cardinals. turkey vulture. song sparrows everywhere. tiniest patch of blue in gray sky. chickadees of course. flock of canada geese. redtailed hawk. pair of bluebirds on the sumac. kingbird again. flock of sparrows. golden crowned kinglet. mourning dove. kestrel! mallards. more kinglets. paid of redbellies.


3.29.17

(47/35)

no binos today because it is threatening rain. redwings and robins. earthworms everywhere. and the river looks high. fox sparrows. noisy noisy birds. oh! white egret! swallows in large numbers now. horned grebes again. cardinal. frustrating day to be without binos. lots of water birds. swallows. shovelers. someone left a bone here. a leg of something. bluebirds. geese. grebes. blue-winged teals. little flock of white-crowned sparrows. something new I can hear but can’t see. fox sparrow. blue heron. kestrel. song sparrow. robin. fox sparrow again. American pipit. cedar waxwings. bluebirds.
11:11 ‘set out for the distant sky’

Notes:
Quote 1: (set out): Nick Cave + Bad Seeds / ‘Distant Sky’ from Skeleton Tree (2016)


about fieldnotes

fieldnotes was written at the Marsh beginning Sept. 26, 2016 and ending near the same time in the following year, collected in memo books over the course of many rambling walks.
Beginning on Sept. 26, 2019, three years after the writing, fieldnotes will be published in its entirety, with posts appearing as the corresponding write-dates occur.
(at least to the best of my ability)

Inner Distant

1.

What have we done?
And what will we do now,
in the face of its vast
indifference?

2.

For now,
we are unformed matter —
a million million chrysalides,
formless form.
We are in the in-between,
reduced to basic need.
Survive.

3.

Let something worthy emerge
from the seed,
the cocoon of this inward descent.
Each to each —
one day may we simply take flight,
and follow the sun’s tireless instruction.

Please, oh you gods.
Let it be so.