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.

post storm light            

sitting in my parked car next to the cemetery taking in the post-storm light
noticing

that I already have a watch tan

that it smells like may, if may smells like flowers

that if I look closely at the trees, they are all in fact swaying, some more aggressively than others

that the colors of the trees are as different from each other now as they will be in october,

and that I noticed that same thing last spring.

enough room to breath

when we free the garlic from the too-dense matt of winter mulch so it has enough room to breathe
spring air and extend its fingers and toes, and so do I now, both of us me and garlic sticking out our noses just a little bit farther to smell
spring

walking home sloshing through puddles in dark green boots, seeing shades of light green dark green middle green poking out from all of the corners of the street and sidewalk and a pink child’s sunhat laying in the middle of the road
getting rained on.

the pink halo that I see from far away around a tree, and come to find is actually hundreds, thousands? of red flower buds blooming
on the maple

and it doesn’t mean they’re dying

the way that the drops of rain cling to
white pine needles hanging
down like chandeliers
in the almost dusk

i light a small nub of palo santo holy wood that ive carried in this coat pocket for almost two years, (since buying it on a street corner in ecuador)
for occasions like this: wet and dripping and 40 degrees
when the changing of the seasons means there’s something to shed
whether its grief or a sloughing off of dead skin, the way that the ash trees slough off their outer bark as they get older and it doesn’t mean they’re dying

(even though they are dying) (from other things)

i watch the way the (holy) wood burns and the smoke swirls and I listen to the rain land on (holy) wood and ground