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
it is sunday and k takes out the taps
from the maple trees in our backyard and the one down at m’s house,
and brings all of the stuff inside for me to find later
in the dish drying rack, underneath all of the plates, rinsed of tree sap and
ready for storing again, marking the end
I learn that when an exoskeleton of a tarantula breaks, they (who’s they?) fix it
with super glue.
t tells us about the success of thursday night, the first rain just barely over 40 degrees, when more than 300 salamanders cross Henry Street, migrating from their winter homes to the vernal pools for the spring.
I host more than 20 people and 2 babies in my living room, and we all sit close together on cushions on the floor around low tables that we arranged in afternoon with ornate red and purple tablecloths and lots of small handmade bowls of ceremonial foods, for the holiday of Passover when we laugh and eat and remember to sing.
on the day that february decided to be july
i drive k and e to the train for their adventure south just as the sun is
i drive home from the train and thread my way through the morning mist
i arrive home to empty the bucket of maple sap from the tree in the yard into a pot on the wood stove (still unlit) (too warm)-which makes five pots of varying sizes- all full to the brim with maple sap, waiting. to boil.
i put on leggings and sneakers and run around the block because it is already almost warm enough for a t shirt, and i see j who is also running, so we run together for five minutes.
we drink maple sap in the open doorway.
all before breakfast.
the red winged blackbirds come out and I see them in the garden and the air is thick with shorts and tank tops and rushing river melt.
i press send on the seed order for the plants i’ll tend in the spring.
the chunks of ice shrink in the shade.
i go to bed before the stove is ever lit.
the cooking pots of sap will wait for tomorrow, when we light a fire, when it is winter again.
when i fall 5 times (we are counting) (not a contest) in between
walking up and down the mountain
because of how shoes slip on ice disguised under snow
when t taps on two white pines at the
almost bottom of the mountain,
at the edge of my favorite swim spot north of northampton
and listens to their notes,
announcing them to be a major
when i am saying goodbye to k and e as they’re leaving the house in their reflective gear and bicycle helmets around 7:30pm meanwhile i’m wearing my hooded blue sweatshirt and striped underwear mindlessly playing small notes on the piano, but after the door shuts, i press my foot against the pedal and revel in loud dissonance.
the cusp between rain and snow
the cusp between 26 and 27
the cusp between bedrooms (the one I have now, and the one at the top of the stairs with a pink carpet that is recently empty, where i am camping out tonight)
the core of an apple, russet colored, on my empty plate
the quill of a porcupine, sitting on my shelf after our long day of tracking through the woods, which finally led us right up to its den in an abandoned culvert, in a stream, in a valley in the stand of hemlocks, and right up to its face staring back at us from deep inside the long dark tunnel after we shone a flashlight down it to see what we could see.
identifying the mid point in winter, like i would notch
its height in a tree trunk, marking this moment in time.
seeing the last month laid out in front of me in the form of 3 by 5 watercolor drawings, (the hobby that is as new as this year) that are resting on the floor next to the lamp
and the aloe plant
seeing my name tag, (the one from the meditation retreat) (the retreat that set the tone for everything that has followed)
in the thick juicy aloe leaves
wrapping myself in a blanket and slipping my feet in oversized boots, to walk outside at the turning point between night
and day, to see if i can spot the blue super moon in the early morning.
and seeing it across the road through the neighbor’s trees, looming above the horizon, i want to follow it somewhere i can grasp it more fully,
but i don’t, and i carry my longing back inside,
slipping off the boots, and climbing the stairs back to bed
that the dog’s name is rita, and that she has gotten loose at lunch
as k and I are
sitting in the communal eating area on the third
floor of the old industry building that’s been converted into offices, trying to have a meeting about past conferences and future seed swaps, and
rita’s owner (presumably) chases the group of homeschool kids away from the long table so she can eat
lunch at her (presumably) regular spot,
so I ask her (rita’s owner) about what she does in the building (silk screen printing) and rita starts hacking up a cough under the table
and then all of the rest of the silk-screen-printers come to join her for lunch (or I don’t know who else they could be)
and it becomes suddenly impossible for k and I to continue our meeting, between the silk screeners
and the coughing dog
and the homeschool kids exiled to read their book in a different corner of the hallway so we retreat back to the office to continue talking about seeds somewhere else.