changing costumes

from where we stand i see the woods is washed with the muted yellow color of goodbye
i trace the outlines of tree friends changing costumes
letting go of leaves
and scan the periphery for witch hazel flowers my favorite all of them are your favorite, but what’s especially special about witch hazel is that they bloom thin tendrils of yellow just as everything else is falling apart

visions of bright

renewing
the pledge to notice, and to pin down the noticings like dried flowers
on the notecards on my table, again

learning gomphrena, the flower that comes in hues of purple and red and the kind with yellow dashes on the tips, fireworks, feeling thankful for the papery bracts that lend themselves easily to visions of bright winter window decorations

soak up the sun’ I say to the first graders walking on the farm who are complaining that they are hot and they are thirsty, and when can they sit down, ‘ because it will be winter sooner than we think!’ I say even though that is hard to imagine in the 80 degrees and not even 11am on this mid-October morning

ordering hot and sour soup for the third time in two weeks from the same restaurant under the bridge, this time its dark outside and raining. inside its all smiles we’re laughing and shouting and reaching out with our arms to underscore injustices and gesticulate our fantasies of growing 15 foot perennial grasses in 10 foot long garden beds so sometimes I become conscious of how much louder we are than the older couple sitting at the table next to us, but they don’t seem bothered and the red hue of the wallpaper and the soft maroon of the napkins and the spicy warming liquid is warming more than just the inside of my stomach.

and i witness

in the dream the cocoon of the monarch appears to be drying out, it swells and shows preemptive signs of hatching. panicking, i cover it with a cloth in an effort to keep it in the dark a little longer, to let it continue to gestate.

but it hatches anyway, and i witness the still birth of a butterfly, its pale orange wings not fully formed.

when I wake up i forget the dream until
i am in the kitchen making eggs for breakfast and i see
the clear container on the counter where the monarch cocoon hangs on a mesh screen, and it doesn’t look swollen or dried out. the colors are deepening to black, signs of almost readiness to emerge. the gold spotted trim gleams.
picture of health.

i had written my estimate of when it would hatch on the side of the box due date 9/17 which happens to be tomorrow, so there is still a little bit of time.

our minds at dusk

exercising our minds at dusk
in the sand plains, right
below the power lines, listening to the chorus
i mean orchestra of crickets and katydids and field sparrows and there’s the whippoorwill and towhee and i don’t remember any other names but it actually makes the sounds easier to distinguish from each other because I’m not caught up in the names but instead in the octaves,

and i am paying attention to whether a call is metallic and staccato or soft and warbly. or

can you sing that note? t asks, and i try but it is too high for me.


at the end of the night, when it is totally dark
except for the almost half moon light, I hear a chirp that is loud and sharp and regular and different than the others, so I jab my finger in the air, in the direction where I think it is coming from.
no one else can hear the sound. i keep pointing my finger along to its rhythm and
still no one else hears the sound.
t acknowledges that high frequencies are hard for him, and the rest of them it seems,
and still no one else hears the sound,

c plays all sorts of different options on his smart phone, is it a Carolina ground cricket or a two spotted, striped, pine tree, field, but none of them sound the same as what I hear. ‘still, lets follow it,’ we say, so my young ears lead us to the grassy patch where the yet unnamed cricket is singing.

but soon they’ll grow

it is after dinner and we are trading plants out of car trunks at the edge of the driveway in the dark;

sweet alyssum, which I never knew by name until now, in 3 six packs and a giant begonia named marmaduke.

e takes the begonia (much to k’s chagrin, because where will it go in the winter), and k takes the sweet alyssum, for all of us to share- being that it attracts the syrphid fly, who’s larvae will chow down on aphids in the garden.

s gives me some tiny thai basil, and a parsley, and collards. it is easy to hold all three plants in the palm of my hand but soon, they’ll grow

it chose this spectacle

a feast of homemade pasta in three shapes and three sauces with three bowls of salad and two toppings of cheeses on the counter.

the cecropia moth is still in its cocoon, taped to a stick, inside its wire mesh cage in between all of the pastas on the counter.

twelve of us with plates and forks and one bowl (me) I like eating out of bowls especially if I made the bowl, and now I helped make the pasta so that’s double homemade.

we sit on the deck in candle light and eat the three kinds of pasta in three shapes with three sauces, and for a minute e hula hoops in the corner which is dangerous because the deck isn’t very large and everyone leans away from the fast moving circles and makes lots of whoop whoop sounds.

later after eating i am giving e a tour of the upstairs because she had never been, until they start shouting ELLENA from downstairs and so we run to see everyone collected around the wire mesh cage on the counter.

is it called moth hatching? what it did. slip its way out of a small opening in the cocoon, without even making a rip, now letting its giant wings dry. born. the moth is big (six inch wingspan) and with crescent moons on the wings, red and black and white and grey. cecropia, named after a king. and I explain this to the twelve people- who it is, and what is it doing, and how did I get it, and what am I going to do now,

after a few minutes i carry the cage with the moth –now a moth- clinging to the mesh, out onto the deck.

everyone follows me outside again because it is exciting, (it is the largest moth native to north america) (it is beautiful) and we sing a song about going out into the dark, because some of us know the song, and some of us want ceremony, and none of us have ever seen this kind of moth before, to honor it for its time here, where it might go, and how special that it chose this spectacle of a night of three kinds of pastas in three shapes with three sauces to come into the world in this form.

from up to a mile away

I check up on the cocoon of a cecropia moth that I taped to a stick, propped inside a mesh wire box on my counter,

due date may 21s I wrote on the side of the box in black sharpie, just so that everyone would know when we were expecting.

cecropia moths Hyalophora cecropia , named for Cecrops, king of Attica, are the largest moth native to north America, with wingspans of six inches or more. Their cocoons are large, brown and leathery looking with a golden shiny hue if you catch it in a certain light. c says that the moth will emerge from the top of the cocoon. I am waiting.

cecropia moths don’t have working mouth parts or a digestive system. they live for about 2 weeks. they mate and lay eggs. from photographs i can tell the female from the male by the differences in their antennae. the male moth has bigger broader antennae. they are so sensitive to the scent of the female moth that they can sense her pheromones from up to a mile away.