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)

fieldnotes 3.16-23.17

A Crooked Wander

‘…I won’t bend but I will break under the weight…’

Hang on to a sense of purpose.
You have an abundance,
yes,
and a place to fall back to
in your own beautiful heart.

When will you learn to take to
(too)?

A surface barely frozen waits for sun,
that’s all.
A pair of bluebirds at a nesting box.

Right knee, left thigh
make for a crooked wander.

And no one’s out to get us.

Redwings and chickadees. Robins and bluebirds again —
how they fill their feathers to warm —
how they are not afraid of me today.



3.16.17

(19/42)

colder – much – overnight. but in the sun the redwings are noisier than tuesday. it challenges the sense of purpose a little. but my decisions are my own. the idea of dependence unpleasant. the weird push-pull of one’s own independence vs. others’ lack of. cardinals. the cold is good for the bluebirds. (holds off the swallows.) white-crowned sparrow. tree sparrow. song sparrow, living up to its name. like little waves of wind across the snow. and here, someone walked the word ‘good’ into it. and there are still coyote tracks that I wish I had time to follow. little flock of grebes flies off the river. redtailed hawk.


3.21.17

(53/33)

sticky red maple flowers. did I ever call such things subtle? robins and redwings. tree sparrows. coyotes freaking out! why? windy and from the north — a good chill. just canada geese on the marsh today. bluebird pair. common goldeneye. something’s making the geese complain. coyote? tree swallow. bluebird defending its nesting box. the battle begins. it was in the cards. a rite of passage. bluebirds super active. sun warming up. song sparrows. best vs worst? or best is worst? monkey trap. fear of letting go. but look. if it’s here and then gone, then isn’t the deepest pain still a kind of pleasure? look for the joy, beautiful heart. ‘the kingdom of heaven is within’ turkey vulture. cardinals. I might break. Why pretend otherwise? 3 crows. robins chickadees. redtailed hawk. redwings. redwings. redwings. song sparrow. a very chatty bluebird. another swallow. fox sparrow. waning moon just past half. clouds all feathers and vertebrae. how can i judge? and isn’t it right to step away? ‘you must try to fly’ do ir or don’t. ‘i’ve got my own hell to raise’ junco. song sparrow. tree sparrow. the understory. greening. nuthatches. even this joy, seemingly outside myself, requires presence and an open heart — requires cultivation and courtship. coopers hawk. a butterfly. anglewing of some sort. redtailed hawk. muskrat in the pond. mallards. bluebird. redbellied woodpecker.


3.23.17

(29/50)

robins and tree sparrows. redwings. song sparrow. little flock of grackles. redtailed hawk. tree swallows. canada geese. pied-billed grebe. 4 wood ducks. turkey vulture. redbellied woodpecker. juncos. bluejays. bluebird and his lady friend. cardinals. crisis of confidence. what do I even want? bluebirds! here’s one on top of last year’s mullein. song sparrow. white-throated sparrow. sandhill cranes at the edge of hearing. mourning dove. 2 shovelers. chickadees. nuthatch. brown creeper. downy woodpecker. northern harrier, pair.

Notes:
Quote 1: (bend, break): Jesca Hoop / ‘Pegasi’ from Memories Are Now (2017)
Quote 2: (heaven): Funkadelic / title track from Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow (1970)
Quote 3: (fly): Nick Cave / ‘The Ship Song’ from The Good Son (1990)
Quote 4: (hell): Fiona Apple / ‘Sleep to Dream’ from Tidal (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 3.14.17

Shivered

… finally, winter comes …

Don’t take our eyes.
Gravity, magnetism —
the weight and the wire —
thinly, in between
to draw us in and in.

You must carry the moon without claiming it.
Not fickle, but free-ranging —
the sirens when not singing,
in snow that’s never been stept on.

Don’t go underground.

If you shivered,
I’d bring a blanket.

Who can brave closer now?

There,
we are left to it,
and the crow comes.

Don’t take our eyes.



3.14.17

(28/20)

quieter. redwings and canada geese. tracks in the snow. a vole? then rabbit. harrier. a runner passes and now i can walk in his footsteps. better leverage. cardinals in the mixing bowl. chickadees. robins. pair of bluebirds. everyone’s all puffed up to stay warm. a third, very vivid bluebird. fox sparrow. flicker. fox sparrow. coyote. fearless. nuthatch. little flock of song sparrows. cardinal. coyote tracks, at least two, between the pond and the river. heron. eastern phoebe. mallards. and here are more coyote tracks. 3 or 4 this time.


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 3.7-9.17

Home

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)