fieldnotes 3.7-9.17

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Despite red beads of buds on branches,
the wind asserts itself,
battling the morning warming sun,
redwings naming their boundaries.

Scouting deeper,
we are constantly surprised,
at whitecaps on the Marsh
and again from higher ground,
its rough play.

We step back two —
suspended energy that fills the between.
Does the refusal to make a beginning make unending?
Can you feel it now?



3.7.17

(65/44)

swallows over the water, two. killdeer. windy! from the northwest, so chilly. after last night’s storms out of the south. long thing black segmented caterpillar. hear a song sparrow. mourning dove. sandhill crane pair has maybe returned? circling and calling. robins. 3 goldfinches, looking a bit more golden. chickadees. canada geese. wind on the water. turkey vulture. chickadees. redbellied woodpecker. tree sparrows, i think. river is quiet today. no ducks. a pretty man who asks about birds. coopers hawk. merganser. 2 cormorants. blue-eyed boy.


3.9.17

(41/29)

keep this for yourself. the whole flock of robins and redwings and redwings and redwings. horned grebe. song sparrow. barest hint of greening on the trees. willows and undergrowth, mostly. 2 canada geese making a nest. cardinal treetop. singing. east wind, bit crisp. northern flicker. robins shifting into spring behavior. 2 mallards. pair of downy woodpeckers. bluejay. how we suppress too much and feel it longer than we ought. chickadees. cardinals. in the mixing bowl. nuthatch. trickle of water in the bottoms. smells like dirt. turkey vulture. coyote. redbellied woodpecker. lotta limbs down after yesterday’s big wind. redtailed hawk.


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 2.28.17

Fat Tuesday

I am not here,
and I am not her.
Trickster —
valentines and deathwishes —
all out of season —

(Don’t you remember I take them seriously?)

I keep forgetting
how you did not mean sister
when you said sister

(and the rain is coming soon).

Must everything leave these bruises?
Watch hunger make a feast of the narrow.
And there are masks,
and there are masks.
We do not recognize the beast we feed until too late.

(Now what are you going to do with me?)

A soldier in a fool’s army,
a mutineer,
false face,
a walk through mud,
and there were masks,
and there were masks

(and we never could suffer the command).

But then that is how I do not fit.
There was nothing I could do.
And nothing ever changes.

So I will cover my face.
And I will cover my face.
Wait and march the thin parade
until I fall and shatter.



2.28.17

(60/47)

cardinals. canada geese. redwings. grackle. song sparrow. bluebird. little swarms of bugs. more birds sooner rather than later? is it enough to see the evidence of my influence? no. not really. but is there a choice? no. not really. coopers hawk. mallards. those little slugs again. little tree sparrow. bluebirds for goodbye.


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 2.23.17

Warming

Low, circling,
only the redtail hawk to see.
Quick! —
while no one else is looking —
into the woods!

Once in,
take your time —
never be too fast for knowing.
Un-name, then new-name everything.

Be of it,
even when to do so means to share its wrongness.

(Let the others manufacture sin.)

We thought we were on the brink of failure,
but in truth we’ve fallen far past it,
and it’s a deep well.
Who knows how far to bottom?



2.23.17

(57/38)

redwings and redwings and redwings and redwings. 50 degrees at 9 am. ‘drink from the old well’ big flock of blackbirds — grackles? noisy canada geese. pair of buffleheads. mallard flocks. maybe a shoveler? chuckling nuthatch. quiet bluebirds. robins high in a tree. surely this warm spell can’t last much longer? redwings staking territory. song sparrows. hawks on the thermals. vernal pool. coots soon? bluebird and redwing. big flock of grackles flies over. and another. cardinal. a call i recognize but can’t i.d. honey locust. ‘who walked the curve of the world.’ dandelions just poking through. cool shell. no frogs. good. garbage though. i hate that. robin. mallards. cardinals. something gray and too fast. redtail and again that known but unnamed song. little black sluggy things. redwings and robins. redwings. crows. redwings. ‘be a part of all things’


Notes:
Quote 1 & 3: (‘old well, all things’): Jesca Hoop / ‘Cut Connection’ from Memories Are Now (2017)
Quote 2: (“curve of the world”): Patti Smith / ‘Beneath the Southern Cross’ from Gone Again (1996)


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 2.21.17

Unsettling

No one wishes for it —
our aberrant year.
And yet,
all we can do is adapt to the reality we are granted.
Remember it is a gift.
We can choose which truths to trust.
I don’t understand how this co-creation works;
I only know that it does.
So slow your steps.
Focus on your hands.
Make every action deliberate.
Concentrate!
Give this the attention it deserves.



2.21.17

(65/50)

sparrows. redwings. bluebirds. robins. all in huge numbers. cardinals. another 65-plus day. and some of the trees starting to bloom. the abundance of birds is almost disturbing. junco. mourning dove. redbellied. some sort of flying insect. and another. redwings everywhere. noisy noisy. bluebirds in the oaks. quiet notes, right at the edge of hearing. it rained early and now everything is soft and gray. and warm. i am tying my shirt around my waist and it’s february. the first pale greens and reds showing in low places. redwings and redwings. a cardinal. leopard frog — what?! bluebirds onto the catbird trail. the edge of the pond. three more frogs. tiny fishes in the water weeds. and still redwings. bluejays. the old man’s moss. chickadees. nuthatches. aberrant female bluebird. white spots on her wings. prominent. and more bluebirds. house sparrows. noisy robins.


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 2.19.17

Vow

I am aiming for that silent face.
Can I force it in spite of this outpouring?
This pulling of a too-early spring?

Here it comes again —
how it got beyond us before we knew.

Even when we’re not looking,
it points to pieces that don’t fit.

We just have to hold on and hope for the best.
Those gods truly don’t care where we go when we’re gone.



2.16.17

(41/30)

less warm but still warmer than it oughta be. ‘and we’ll join the Venture and the Morning Star’ 2 canada geese. pied-billed grebe. already? a noisy downy woodpecker. and a redbellied. runningman says ‘get those summer clothes out of mothballs’ robins. need to relieve a pressure, but. warming. warming. how long can i hold this up? again with the unnecessary and then again with the unmentionable. fuck am i mulish when i wanna be. dull but not. weeds catch light like antique gold. all of the birds. ‘your beautiful heart’ canada geese and robins and robins. chickadees. cardinal. goldfinches. we sing. up one, two – then down a third for one more round and still soon — ‘this reef around me’ nothing on the pond. two kingfishers fly over. an owl-lover from geneva. a cardinal.


2.19.17

(68/37)

redbellied woodpeckers. suddenly there are redwing blackbirds singing everywhere. there are sandhill cranes! guess i shoulda put two and two together when all those ducks started showing up. migration well under way. redwings everywhere. cardinals getting into their mating behavior now. it is not a thing you do on purpose, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be painless. you shouldn’t see a shimmer of heat haze in february. you just shouldn’t. canada geese and mallards from the north overlook. nuthatches in the woods.


Notes:
Quote 1: (‘Venture, Morning Star’): Joan Shelley / ‘Siren’ from Ginko (2012)
Quote 2: (“heart”): Nick Cave / ‘And No More Shall We Part’ from No More Shall We Part (2001)
Quote 3: (“reef”): Joni Mitchell / ‘Lesson in Survival’ from For the Roses (1972)


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 2.14.17

The Saint’s Purgatory

This is how to tend the holy arrow.
I played your song and never said,
in that favorite pantomime winter,
on guard against the complacent —

a dark and accidental devotion.

Bent my shadowed eye on your knee,
and I can’t even tell you.
How the thought leaps.

You put your hands in the dirt and cut into my ground,
sullen —
a contrived silence that forces the river into a channel.

And green things already appear here.
How are such things meant?

I am all rusted nails and fertile field.
And what are you?

I was not carved, nor sculpted, nor crafted for genuflection,
but if I could make one prayer to that heart-eating saint,
I would beg that some truly golden species of feast
might grow for you too.



2.14.17

(50/31)

cardinal. big red heart. robins and robins in the sun. these unnecessary underthings. noisy bluebirds, a rarity. one year, early sustained warmth led to a double brood. every year has its bounties. redtailed hawk. all these passing people. chickadees. HEE-hee. breakdown always just the other side of some paper-thin membrane. tender. dangerous. dangerous. keep it always in the corner of one eye. but carry on. and carry on. ‘deep into his fiery heart’ i know, i know. not a happy ending. goldfinches. song sparrows. bluebirds. nuthatch. gulls by the pond. chickadees at the northern edge. robins. canada geese. and someone is noisily cutting trees. ‘don’t say it’s useless and don’t say forget it.’ and thank you for the inadvertent lesson. other side. couple of mallards. the noise has scared all the other ducks away. complicated moss. angles of frozen water that mark the mud. redbellied woodpecker. crow in that tree. don’t forget to laugh at yourself. and now here is my car, so i must make my heart small again.


Notes:
Quote 1: (‘fiery heart’): Leonard Cohen / ‘Joan of Arc’ from Songs of Love and Hate (1971)
Quote 2: (“forget it”): Mazzy Star / ‘Be My Angel’ from She Hangs Brightly 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 2.9.17

Stoking

Out of the cold or into it,
it is a precious thing to hold.
And so we must live with hunger for a while —
a fasting season.

Was it nature or nurture went awry?

I need sweet so sing something sweet.
If you can, so can I.
And I can, so can you.

My fire was down to embers,
but I still have the breath to make it roar.



2.9.17

(24/13)

chickadees. cold. sunny and crisp. lots of geese. mallards. two kingfishers. chasing and chattering. black ducks.


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 2.7.17

Rainy Inkdrops

(everything still wet from last night’s howl and i might be courting rain again)

Indeed:
15 silent mourning doves top a tree,
warmish wet and foggy,
old-fashioned-new-shoes eclipse,
blue jay, redtailed hawk, crows —
gloomyday birds.

Unspoken almost spoken:
the rain’s coming, soon.
Truly now the air grows dense with it.
How those same words get me in the gut again and again.
You know the ones.
The ones that repeat the dream.
Alone.
Home.

And anyway,
I don’t think we’ve said all the things we need to say yet.
Or yet tread right out onto the high wire of open sky.
(Every time we start it rains.)

Press on into a warm and weirdish winter.
The grass can’t see the season —
looks fall and smells spring —
and the wild blue thorns bleed us as we run into the woods,
coyotes wailing at the 10am tuesday siren.
They sound close and many,
and the alarm goes on too long.
Their relative strength, daunting.

(into the much. goldeneyes on the pond. mergansers, kingfisher, mallards, sparrows, chickadees, cardinals, canada geese. birds all by the river where it feels like spring.)



2.7.17

(50/32)


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 2.5.17

Burnt

‘…if you want me to burn…’

Taciturn and tempted,
this silence requires spaciousness,
and even walking is an act of rebellion.

I bury my mouth and its words in the dirt,
here in the low, wet, thawed places.

You must always carry these:
matches, paper, ink, long eyes, blood, bone, stone,
and those thin woven threads that reach out into it
and beyond and back to you again —

how a bluebird is first again,
how what remains unspoken
doesn’t remain unknown.

Even as the sun
watches you kneel by the river,
folding words into a boat to sail downstream.
Even as the moon
(sleepy eyes)
sees you press words into a crane to cast into the fire.

Look at him.
High in the cold face of the wind.
How he turns into it and,
jubilant in his melancholy,
makes a music.



2.5.17

(38/25)

‘you’re still hanging out in my dreams’
and indeed, though windy and colder than expected, a bluebird is first. an overlook flock. do they move again in the spring? possibly. the swallows might drive them away. little jerks. coyote scat. heard a woodpecker of some sort, but too bright to see. and I still have a headache if I stop and think about it. I hear a robin now too, and here’s a redtailed hawk. is a day when everything draws the attention to just one more thing. voice along the thread, in the wind. i’ll leave the bad head behind. oh, how i adore you, my Sun. mesmerized. how we can never find it. moon doing its waxing thing again. home. i suppose overcoming inertia — or succumbing utterly — must be at least a step in that direction. parasitic plants. robins in the mixing bowl. song sparrows. crows at the top of the hill. find a quarter and remember the lesson: how it is wrong to turn your back on wealth offered by the gods. mallards, hunkered out of the wind. kingfisher. more mallards. canada geese. the mergansers — 2 male, 3 female. noisy noisy geese.

Notes:
Quotes: (‘burn’ and ‘hanging out’): Nick Cave + the Bad Seeds / ‘Give Us a Kiss’ from Give Us a Kiss (EP, 2014)


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 1.31-2.2.17

Worry

Walking off worry —
close kestrel encounter,
chickadees alarmed —
we are mutually watchful.

All of us.

And we balance the tears of our watching against the wind.
Try not to be afraid.
Accept that the gods are no good.

Make the rhythm of bootheels on a semi-frozen path
a part of winter’s song.

Here,
we are neither hunted,
nor haunted.



1.31.17

(39/35)

a mink at the inlet. everything needs some empty space to expand into. robin in the hedgerow. redtailed hawk, looking southward. mixed flock of robins and goldfinches. 7 gulls in strange display. centering, somehow. windy toward the north end. mallards dining in the mud by the river. belted kingfisher.


2.1.17

(37/21)

bluebirds at the south overlook. redtailed hawk. kestrel. kingfisher. mallards. and another kingfisher. merganser.


2.2.17

(23/14)

bluebird worships the sun with quiet, shy hellos. everything catches light. sharp-edged reminders of freeze-thaw at the edge of blue ice. welcome it. all of it. adore its latent yet swelling strength. remember how it feels to let it in. 3 robins, high in flight. harder to see birds when it’s sunny, especially in winter. you’re looking into it too much. redtailed hawk. goldfinch. little flock of song sparrows. sun’s growing strength becomes tangible. robins singing, even now. the Value of robins in winter. passing an old nest in a tree right by the trail, wondering how many times i passed and never knew. gulls again? 4 mergansers. canada geese. blue heron on the river. mallards. cardinal. nuthatches.


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)