in their reflective gear

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
second

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.

evident at the first glance

when n (eleven years old) unexpectedly starts in about going to his therapist on thursdays, (just as a side note to me) in the middle of when I was teaching him and the others about wild edibles. it’s dark out, and we’re all huddled around close, every kid with a matching green mug
sipping
the white pine needle brew we just made,
and his language is
precise and
calculated- retelling some of the things he and his therapist talk about. i can’t help but smile listening to his concerted effort to be in the here and now.
he then inserts a line about how his body responds well to the tea
and I am not entirely sure what he means by this, except that he is drinking all of the contents of his mug, tilting his head as far back as he can to finish the (weakly brewed) concoction.
before the interruption I had been telling them about how
white pine needles are great for colds and chest congestion
with lots of vitamin
c.

 

the short amount of research I did about red maple buds (the only blooming flower within walking distance for me to grab a few twigs, in this colder microclimate of the hills) to show my students, when I read the evidence on the internet that suggests the plant to be “polygamomonoecious,” in the words of Harvard professor P. Barry Tomlinson, which means, in words I can understand, that a red maple tree could be entirely male, entirely female, or ambiguous in gender by producing both male and female flowers. and that a single tree could change this pattern from year to year.
i decide to just stick to the basics of
flower
morphology
in my lesson, while also affirming that things aren’t always what they seem to be. how especially in this case, gender presentation isn’t always
evident at the
first glance.