Archive for December 2011
On my walk in the snowy grey woods, I checked on the burrows of the Groundhog (Marmota monax) near our picnic table. I have read about the winter habits of the Groundhog and I know he enters true hibernation this time of year. He does not wake through the winter to feed. For this reason, I was not surprised to find the snow around the main entrance untouched by any tracks leading to or from the burrow. The snow has buried the other burrow entrances. Sleep well, Groundhog family!
beneath the fir, a meter cubed of dug
and snug and sifted dirt, disturbed
observes from veiled backdoor
under fibred curtain, dangled root
twisted tunnel, tilted floor
eats well and sleeps but
wakes, stumbles down his bleary halls
for green but white still sifts between
the burrow walls, tells his mate shove over
settles back to hibernate
© Jane Tims 2011
On Tuesday I went for a walk in the grey woods. Snow fell just before Christmas, so my walk turned into a quest to see who else had been walking (or running) in the woods.
I found many tracks, large and small. Mice had made their cylindrical tunnels, and occasionally had run across the surface. At some places, you can see where their tunnels suddenly go subterranean…
Sometimes several paths converge at a sheltered area beneath a fallen log, like a woodland bus terminal…
There were lots of squirrel tracks, often ending at the base of a tree where their paths move into the treetops…
Squirrel tracks crisscrossed with those of deer…
I followed the trail of two deer deep into the woods, thinking they were long gone since the tracks were filled with a slight dusting of snow…
This made me a little careless, and the next thing I heard was a high-pitched snort and squeal of warning and the bounding of hooves through the woods. I got a good look at two beautiful deer, but the camera was not ready. I did capture the very fresh track of one of the retreating deer.
tracks in the snow
I follow the beacon
of a stash of spruce cones
stock-piled at the base
of a crooked tree
careen from a foe
slip beneath a log
dive into a hole
a pause to still
thud thud of my heart
© Jane Tims 2011
Our firepit has a roaming spirit. It began its days in front of the house and we had many wonderful evening fires. Then, as the years passed, the maple tree overhead grew until it was dangerous to have a fire under such a thick canopy.
To improve the safety of the firepit, I moved it, stone by stone to the back of the house, reassembling it exactly as it was. We had a few fires and then, one day, our lives became busy. We kept taking wood for the next fire and the next fire never happened. Gradually the pile became so large, you could not see the firepit!
Last month, my husband put our tractor to use to move the firepit one more time. I clawed my way into the pile of scrap wood and uncovered the stones. Then we pushed them into the bucket of the tractor and away they went, to their new home across the yard.
Now they are in the driveway, waiting for their new home (see the plan in ‘plans for a rocky road’ November 13, 2011 under the category ‘the rock project’).
The next step will be to fell four spruce trees in the area of the firepit, to make sure we can have our fires safely. This next step may have to wait until spring since the stones are now in the frozen throes of winter!
rattle of leaves
as the air warms
finds its chimney
surges red life
into the tunnel of maple
the moment when breath
turned cloudy on cold air
and lungs draw ash and fire
the summer night
when lightning strikes
bold in its dreaming
turns beneath the earth
and pine sap explodes
in a fistful of sparks
the warming by smiles
and clasping of hands
striking of sparks in the tinder
the flame leaps
from candle to candle
the sharp ache
at the corner of an eye
where cinders and smoke
lungs drawing fire and ash
an effort to breathe
warm with tremble
© Jane Tims 1995
Hi. This will be a different kind of post.
I have been nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award.
I would like to thank the bloggers who nominated me:
www.clsostarich.com At ‘Its Real To Me’, C.L. features her poetry. She has a keen wit and her poems make me laugh and smile and nod my head. Her poem ‘Tree’ is worth a careful read … it speaks the truth at its core, as do all her poems. Awesome poet!
www.everedwater.wordpress.com At ‘Redwater Ramblings’, Eve Redwater features her poetry. Her poems are finely crafted, and get inside her subjects… her poem ‘Bird’ is one of the best I’ve ever read. She uses metaphor skillfully and has interesting ways with words and ideas to show us how her subjects move and feel and think. Awesome poet!
The Versatile Blogger Award nomination is a way to show others how much you appreciate their blogs and to make other bloggers aware of some really extrordinary work.
Rules for The Versatile Blogger Award.
1. In a post on your blog, nominate 15 fellow bloggers for The Versatile Blogger Award.
2. In the same post, add the Versatile Blogger Award logo.
3. In the same post, thank the blogger who nominated you with a link to their blog.
4. In the same post, share 7 completely random pieces of information about yourself.
5. In the same post, include this set of rules.
6. Inform each nominated blogger of their nomination by posting a comment on each of their blogs.
I would like to nominate the following 15 bloggers for The Versatile Blogger Award (in alphabetical order):
Here is a list of 7 random things to know about me:
- I am afraid of spiders, but I try to see things from their point of view.
- I have a collection of old litho prints of hunters at their campfires.
- My favorite film is ‘Fried Green Tomatos’.
- My favorite TV show ever was ‘LOST’ and I miss it so much.
- When I was a kid, I planted a pine cone under the outside water faucet and sat for an hour to see if it would grow.
- My very first poem at age six was about a brook near our cabin at Elkwater Lake, Alberta: “Down by our cabin/runs a little stream/and I love it better/than ice cream”
- I had both my Dad and my Mom as teachers in school, and they were both excellent.
Again, thank you to C.L. and Eve Redwater, as well as all those who read my Blog and who work so hard to make their Blogs enjoyable for others.
Words are the tools of a writer’s craft. I literally wallow in words when I write a poem. Sometimes the right word comes immediately to mind. Sometimes I have to search for it, sometimes for days or weeks. When I do the final edits for a poem, I ‘press’ on every word, to make sure it is absolutely right.
Sometimes, I encounter an idea or image that seems to have no word. For example, I have searched for a word referring to the charming hollow that builds next to the base of a tree when the snow falls. Sometimes small animals use this hollow for a temporary den. Sometimes it’s a place where debris gathers, as it does in the corners of alleyways. Sometimes it is a calm, beckoning place where snow shadows rest in shades of olive green and blue.
I wonder if there is a name for these elusive places, perhaps in another language.
snow shuns the tree
manifest in the hollow
the empty gather of wind
at the base of the fir
where snow-shoe hares find
shelter or dry leaves skipping
across a crust of snow
assemble and rest
inside curve to fit
the spine of an animal
the heart of a man
curled against the cold
a place where shadows meet
select blue from the prism of all
indigo to illustrate the space
of no snow, no warmth, no light
© Jane Tims 2011
Red Berries Red
between ruby glass
and hard wood floor
a slide of light and three
smoke lifts from smoulder
each mote a particle
of spectral light, mosaic
reassembled in three
(Ilex verticillata (L.) Gray)
astound the wetland
red ink on page
fever flush and holly
above December snow
© Jane Tims, 2011
I love to view bits of the world in miniature. Especially at Christmas, small replicas of human space make me feel comfortable. Perhaps seeing a world fit neatly into a small space is a version of the safety and calm an animal feels in its den. Perhaps looking over a diorama gives me powerful feelings of omniscience and omnipresence. Perhaps I like the impression of a story being told, from beginning to end, confined in space and time.
Our Christmas decorations are predominantly miniaturized vignettes:
our nativity scene, complete with a stable and its donkey, and a star-spangled hillside of angels and sheep…
my collection of Buyers Choice skaters, including a fellow roasting a marshmallow at a fire beside the frozen pond…
Rudolf and Bumbles from the Island of Misfit Toys…
children gathering around a pitiful Charlie Brown Christmas tree…
a frosty forest of bottle-brush trees and silver reindeer …
and a village with an inn, a church, and a park with a pond, a stone bridge and a park bench…
All very cute, but there is something missing.
The best scenes are those with real people. A scene of us sitting by our Christmas tree, talking and laughing. A scene of people in the bookstore, looking for a special book to give someone they love. The scene of a colleague at work, leaving a Christmas card on each desk. A scene of friends walking along a downtown street while the snow falls and the church bells mark the hour.
Merry Christmas everyone!
the stillness of this street
its gentle curve
the steady glow of lamps
lighted windows, sturdy gates
a frozen pond, stone bridge reflected
soft snow, unmarked
and a park bench
where no one ever sits
© Jane Tims 2011