as a parting cheer

the three things I learn about elms over the weekend:

that the leaves are rough,
exfoliant , k rubs one on her arm,

that the base of each leaf is asymmetrical,
t puts her hands side by side with all of her fingers lined up and then shifts them slightly away from each other to demonstrate for me

what about the bark?
and that the bark
is squishy.

3 for 3! j says as a parting cheer as we go our separate ways, walking barefoot on the sidewalk back to our respective houses, sneakers and socks in hands, hair still dripping with river water,

referring

to the running ((around the block, past the young tulip poplar(newly pointed out to me with its signature-ly shaped leaves), and the autumn olive, (snacked on a few berries yesterday)crossing three streets, and all along the community garden)),
and the jumping (our sweaty bodies into the river) that we have done consistently every morning of this
long holiday weekend,
the holiday that has been/is being
redefined as indigenous peoples day, catching on in this (smallish) city, as it says on the door of the library,

forbes will be closed Monday for indigenous peoples day

the parting cheer is especially for the
swimming in warm and rainy october, and
for celebrating that up until this point in (my) history i’ve firmly believed that i didn’t like running simply for the sake of running, and
i’m not sure if the habit will last but for the moment it doesn’t matter because my cold river running warm raindrop body feels happy and
alive.

 

 

 

half unfurled

when the fourth grade girls all swarm in to hug me goodbye just as their teachers are shepherding them onto the bus home after lunch and
one of the girls who had been holding my hand the entire walk from the dining hall says she will never let go, but then she does, and they wave from the bus steps and wave from their bus seats and the engines start and we wave back from the driveway
until the bus pulls out and the wheels turn on the gravel and round a corner, and the trees with their pale green leaves wash them out of sight.

listening to nd practice the ukulele from his room
and kw sneeze from her
nook under the stairs
and hs out by the fire pit putting out the
last of the embers after his grilled steak dinner,
and the rest of them upstairs muffled laughing and moving
chairs, while i sit
still
on the couch near the front door, writing these words.

the cloudy chill that feels like spring is
momentarily
suspended in the half unfurled fiddleheads, and the unopened dandelions
and the one apple tree near the library with blossoms still clasped, hesitating to extend its petals to the world.

all that is left of the wind

my third time up the mountain today i see a whole tree
cradled in the arms of telephone wires.
the sun is sending out pink slivers from where its settling behind the mountains and
all that is left of the wind are the scattered pine branches spread across the snowy road and the innards of an overturned garbage can.

I pick up one of those tiny do not eat preservative packets, a battery, bottle cap, and an empty bottle of dishwasher liquid on my way home.