fieldnotes 10.4.16

‘there aint no remedy for a song come to an end’

Even in the midst of it and trying to be mindful,
the change is a sudden blink of an eye.

Remember how hard it is to grab hold the spinning wheel.

Gods, I have wasted so many years.

Bees on the aster,
a full and frenzied final gathering,
though the oaks are still mostly green.
They will be the last.

The anticipatory.

We are all wondering —
have we gathered enough sweet to withstand the freeze?

(In our Januaries, will we remember those raspberries?)

Redwings call —
a reminder it always comes back ’round —

but we remember —

each time they are fewer,
fewer familiar,
to come with it.

And we need to know all the names before we are lost.


10.4.16
(63/57)

(we will never know all the names, so settle on what we love best.) meadow flowers have peaked. trees getting ready to. milkweed bugs crawling on each other on the dying seedpods. a goldfinch flock at the top of the hill. butter-and-eggs on the way down. indiangrass fiery. ‘there is no home. there is no bread.’ chipping sparrow. magnolia warbler. pelicans still at the north end, funny heads aslant. 4 egrets. canada geese of course. a frog that sounds like a peeper. cabbage whites. white crowned sparrows. yellow rumped warblers. colors on the prairie a heartache that fades. flock of robins. red paper wasp. 10 o’clock siren, I’m slow today. how much longer will there be singing bugs? clouded sulphur. dry tops of queen annes lace. can’t resist walking into the bluestem again, its seeds in my cuffs and pockets. in my socks and hair. a flicker. tie my shirt round my hips. yellow warbler. egret’s throaty growl. bluebird across the river echo on the water. damn cockleburs. geese by the dozens over the trees sliding onto the marsh. eastern comma. eastern wood peewee.

Notes:
Quote 1 (remedy): Kev Russell’s Junker / ‘Twilight of Song’ from Buttermilk & Rifles (2002)
Quote 2 (no home or bread): Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds / ‘Stranger Than Kindness’ from Your Funeral … My Trial (1986)


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)

(tbt) Muladhara

From Aug. 14, 2012…

Muladhara

It’s deep in the bone,
and coming back:
the root on the mend.

It is not time, yet —
to stand,
to walk,
to fly.

First, sit.
Breathe.
Dig deep.
Bring the blood back to it.

Open the bowl of your hip
and remember how
to pull and replace
rusted nails.

Now, pour in the red wine
to see where it leaks.
Mend it with acorn paste
and cardinal calls.

Light a flame
to burn off the decay;
add salt and sage
to open the wind door.

Scrub it down
with madder-dyed wool
from a down-heavy sheep.
Turn off the alarms.

Fill a stoneware bowl,
finger painted,
beets and cherries,
grapes and small red tomatoes
warmed by the sun —

clay bricks
stacked in a terrace
to hold black dirt
and the crawlers who nourish it —

rose petals,
poppies
and a snake
to encircle —

a resonant nest
filled with the noise
of one hundred bees
and gravel footsteps.

Make it solid and strong,
but not still —
It will be something
to build upon.

conversation

(after)

((after that))

October came and I was something different again.
An aster —
a sweet that abides the fall.

And there is that moment of —
(hope is yet too strong a word) —
of light.

Of light,
and faith in life.

To a varying degree,
we grow a guard.
But the singing wire between matter and matter —
what matters —
never ceases.

Eternal throb and hum.

You need to let something go.
Cast off that self you’ve collected.
Give it to the wind

like the cottonwoods their leaves.

(You don’t have to share this with the world.)

The night is the night.
It falls.

But today I am content
to sit beside you and wait.

fieldnotes 9.29.16

‘Save Me’

We move in strange directions,
like the rain’s taken a turn over the lake.
We hope it waits,
but we’ll risk it and our long eyes
for a chance at unfamiliar.

And I could say that I am no angel.
And you could say that you are no savior.
We could lie and lie and lie,
as if words meant nothing.

But I want to feel what you feel.
And I want you to know what I know —
how I was wrong about not-needing.

There might be nothing solid or steady
about the water’s surface:
The visitors come and stay
or come and go —
lucky days, lucky weeks, lucky months or more.
And yet,
there is an undeniable force of permanence.

This is where we place our faith.


9.29.16
(64/59, windy)

blue jay. judgement vs. strength. the lion waiting in the dream. walnuts join the cottonwoods, both brazen, unlike the oaks that wait until the last minute for a subtle blaze. asters seem to love this weather best. when did the redwings go, or did they? 11 robins disappear in your direction. sun fighting the edge of a storm. looks like it could turn any second. my shirt is buttoned crooked. is it still possible for people to become things just because they want to become those things? emily dickinson, naturalist? if we could only shake the clock. milkweed bugs. you have to accept that you will die before you’re done. goldfinches have completely changed color now. i want to tell the truth. walk out to stand among the bluestem. it takes little time to disappear. i can’t tell who’s indulging whom now. the rain is going to catch me, but i have to see if the pelicans are gone yet. redwing. 3 cormorants. 8 egrets. 2 blue herons. 5 wood ducks. 2 sandhill cranes. 23 canada geese. 19 white pelicans.


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 9.26.16

Solace

Cold front grabbed midnight’s wheel to turn the season on its side.

(milkweed pods beginning to burst – crickets and locusts in a long diminuendo – goldenrod thrives and fades – how we love this vulnerability – purple aster, white aster – everything a suncatcher today)

Thinking of Judgement and recently read —
less the confusion —
we wonder,
why not sooner seek solace?

(eight egrets and an entire flock of white pelicans – goldfinches change their clothes – a ragged-winged monarch takes the sun – battered, we serve the wind – chickadee-dee-dee-dee chicory)

(( i need new shoes and socks ))

Anchored by awkward age.

(one-two-three eagles wheel past – nakedeye – cottonwoods gone close to bone)

One feels a minute mechanism —
within some vast,
some elaborate,
some exquisite machinery —
so huge as to be almost hidden.

(cattails above take the wind – hard to imagine the winter that would bend them)

The more we come to know,
the more impossible it is to lie.

And we are so constrained:
by myth of time,
by myth of map,
by myth of wheel,
by myth of mind,
by myth mystic and myth mundane.

Unborn,
unhatched,
we are seed just taking the wind,
and we want to believe
in comprehension,
in capability,
but it takes a season of sleep to arrive.

And if the sleepy winter is a womb,
might it not also be
the fertile soil of our dreaming?

And oh!
(that dream) —
how it shook me like the earth unbound,
how the aftershocks still take me unaware:

a vision of tender,
reclined and bare,
head in warm dry hands,
cheek to chest —

there, there.


9.26.16
(69/57, windy)

moon and sun share sky. bluejay alarm. tricky fall warblers. red tops of sumac. leaves flame and ash. calling the wind. for real this time. socks full of seeds. horseweed. goldenrod. aster. cuckoo. snakeroot. cedar waxwings. mourning cloak. smells like carrot leaves. oh! osprey! poison ivy. joe pye weed, fuzzy topped in the filtered sun. eastern comma.

“Anglewings are some of the only North American butterflies to overwinter as adults, crawling into cracks in trees or manmade structures.”
–Jeffrey Glassberg, Butterflies of North America

The 7 Species of Anglewings:
-Question Mark
-Eastern Comma
-Gray Comma
-Green Comma
-Hoary Comma
-Oreas Comma
-Satyr Comma


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)

task yourself: look at a mirror

… but wait! Stop!

Not like that.

A month or so ago, as I finished brushing my teeth, I stopped, as one does, to gaze at myself in the bathroom mirror. Nose scrunched and brow furrowed, I shook my head. And as I turned away, I thought,

Wait.
When was the last time you looked in a mirror and DIDN’T look for a flaw?

And then I thought,

Have you ever?

Were you ever able to gaze at your reflection without judgement? Maybe at some point in childhood? What, after all, is the purpose of a mirror, if not to find and correct what’s wrong? Can a mirror have another purpose?

So, task yourself:

Look in the mirror, and —
jauntily,
or earnestly,
or saucily,
or boldly,
or confidently,
or sweetly,
but honestly
compliment yourself.

Start small. A tiny round mirror. Look only at one eye. A cheekbone. A wrist. A shoulder. Take it slow.

roundmirror

 

Bonus points for a full-length mirror.

Extra bonus points if you can stand stark naked and stare into that beautiful abyss.

Gods. Look at you. You’re fucking amazing.

(tbt) Craving

From Sept. 19,2012…

Craving

All the world’s sugar
could’t kill
this craving.

Apply every cure
you know. Hope
for placebo effect.

A day’s reprieve —
if you’re lucky,
maybe a week.

Fugues, fogs,
make your own
self a mystery.

Get above it,
look for higher
ground. Find it

near the treeline.
Air lends focus
to the animal.

Here you can accept
you know nothing,
and know starvation’s no solution.