Sunday, January 14, 2018

woody

and this morning as i was thinking
about the cold (-21) and the sun shone brilliantly
on the snow
there was a loud thunk.
i looked at the window as a large bird recovered and flew up.
must have hit the upstairs west window and fallen,
recovered,
and landed on the utility pole in the back yard.
it was stunned, not behaving as they usually do.
pileated woodpecker.
or
cock of the woods.
 immediately after the collision
on the dark side of the pole
 moved around to the sunny side
 got bearings and flew off.
 these birds are what woody woodpecker,
he of ancient cartoon fame, was.
 i don't remember a thing about that cartoon
besides his weird laugh
which is nothing like the call that named this one
cock of the woods.
another north country name.
and i have finished off two pounds of flax fiber
made into 8.5 x 11 sheets 
(some are with my papermaking partner melissa schulenburg)
 beautiful flax with the remnants of other paper pulp
(that thin white line)
indicating that the felts are dirty
but oh, these deckle edges!
 i made the last little post of about 20 little sheets at home in the kitchen.
i added some inclusionsincluding 
habu wrapping string (silk wrapped paper thread)
and mica or shell iridescence
which didn't photograph.
 it's always good to make paper.
even through the cold of winter.
it looks like i can see a few sparkles on this sheet.
this is NOT glitter, more like mica dust. 
but it's there.
there was also this,
the life of death video
happened to come along this morning.
coincidence
or
not.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

maybe goodbye

when i looked out around 8 this morning, 
porcupine was heading back from the cedars, 
or so i thouhgt.
we're having a big storm
which began with ice and turned to snow in the night.
temperatures dropped some 50 degrees 
more or less
overnight.
porcupine was out by the spruce on the way to the barn
when i ventured out 
to shovel some snow and examine my flattened mailbox.
a rough night.
heading back towards the woods
after visiting the garage and leaving
a scattering of scat and urine.
 (it's rough weather for human beings
and porcupine beings
this crazy winter.)
then porcupine stopped and stayed perfectly still
 i walked over and tried to spook porcupine into action
there was none.
with my snowshovel i moved porcupine to the tree about 15 feet away 
from this open spot.
maybe porcupine will clinb up and eat.
or maybe all the suppers are done.
it's not for me to know just now.
but i am sad.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

porcupine fell

excuse the focus
when i'm in a hurry i struggle with technology
so i couldn't get the camera on it. 
porcupine was in the cedar, 
i was working at the table.
out of the corner of my eye
i saw a dark gray earthbound flash in the morning light.
porcupine fell. 
plop.
i turned and saw the landing, grabbed the camera, and ran to catch the action.
meanwhile 
stunned porcupine paused and took stock of the situation.
i could see that the fall was small, six feet, perhaps seven.
still, porcupine paused,
 moved carefully, 
turned and 
 walked across to another of the cedar trunks.
and then up porcupine climbed, 
quickly moving to a new place on a cedar branch
to browse.
(have i mentioned those marvelous climbing feet?)
on the omnipresent facebook i was advised 
that porcupines do fall.
evidence is their healed broken bones.
when i was told this, i worried at first 
but
this small one seemed only a little vexed
by the inconvenience of falling.
this is a lesson that
i want to learn.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

back to cold

this week has gone by, a rollercoaster
with porcupine visits every day or two.
porcupine has gotten very, very un-cautious.
so has the little deer,
and as we moved back into the deep freeze.
events...
i love my subaru, but our local dealer has not treated me well.
(except two of the sales people and one service guy) over the many years
i've dealt with them (they're the only one around).
this week i'd had it.
 after "having it" and all that that entailed,
i have new back brakes, snow tires on and beautiful, 
and the head gasket completed.
i sat in the waiting room 5 hours this week alone.
also, i've got a little respect.
i begin to feel like porcupine
who persists 
(nevertheless, she persisted)
balances precariously, 
goes where she wants,
gets a tummyful
and isn't too concerned what they think of her.


tippy top and precarious
with a teenager down below
symbiotic relationship

being at the edge of the trees is not scary
i've learned to adore edges.
taking risks
porcupine made a house call


while my hair gets more uninteresting with age and hormones
this one has some real excitement going on.
riding down low yesterday and almost falling it seemed,
but not at all.
tail works like a rudder and strong hands/feet do good work
the box elder that grows with this cedar
was cracking like breaks
repeatedly with the other trees
in this frigid weather.
more leavings for the teenaged whitetail
as temperatures plummeted and my toes froze up.
i'm happy that i can navigate the driveway now
observeed by eyes doing porcupine things
eating, watching, not very worried about me, but aware.
not worried 
just being porcupine eating arbor vitae.
so the hot and cold water froze in the kitchen
again and
i made cookies today,
watched silly british tv shows on the mac.
the dark comes later and later and YOU CAN SEE and FEEL it.
there were things i wanted to write about,
but it's all about cold and porcupines and cookies and 
arbor vitae.
not a bad week, after all.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

so cold

the last big snow
 porcupine today
 going
 out on a limb, 
s/he's moving keeping balance
 my walk was short and very very cold
 i could hardly see past the balaclava and my glasses frosted up
 shadows were all kinds of indigo
and purple.
new years eve and i sit home with a candle lit,
babysitting this old house as the thermometer creeps ever lower.
i am alone, not lonely, still missing the new place.
jude wrote about shelter, what porcupine seeks (between meals)
and what i must have or i would die (also between meals). 
i have no quills to defend myself, or ability to climb agiley up, eating bark and buds
out on limbs that challenge balance,
and my language is a conversation with friends, not repelling enemies.
thank you for being along on the journey.

Friday, December 29, 2017

thanking porcupine

a large flat package came with the instructions
don't open till the 25th, or sooner if you wish.
 i waited
ian made us a drawing of home.
home in the woods
(these woods are actually overgrown farmland, marginal at best, 
 logged before once or twice, and before that, woods)
the front of the house faces a meadow and the ridges that form the land.
 the back, where the back door, bridge, and side door live
is the side where the work happens.
 i see some odd beasts in the snowy woods
 the sun came out after the big snow.
that's when it gets cold.
  walks this week have been painfully cold
so much so that i barely go out.
(don't listen to my complaints about car troubles, over 2K worth,
and the fact that these old knees don't like the cold any more,
and the fact i'm housebound)
 this is when the snow set in.
 the stream that winds through and out and away
 i think this is wool grass
 gin might know
 when it gets this cold,
so cold that a face mask is essential.
i need to stay at my place to keep an eye on things
the new place also has to be kept warm, a different task.
 hauling wood and feeding the stove is straightforward hard work, 
here it's a furnace and potentially freezing pipes. 
 the new place is warmer and tighter with 14 in. outside walls.
i become grumpy when i have to drive 5 hours for a post op check.
i spotted this small fierce one yesterday, finally,
and went out later when s/he returned to the woods.
i'd seen evidence of eating activity in the arbor vitae
deer and porcupine already.
here s/he is.
 porcupine has begun feeding the cedar (arbor vitae) by my diveway
 s/he was not happy about me speaking and photographing,
and tried for a bit to enter my garage.
 i found that porcupine did not like having snow tossed at it
s/he turned away and was off.
 i was presented with the armor side, 
and if i got closer that tail would have tried to bop me one.
they can move surprisingly quickly.
when i first moved to the north country i lived in star lake in the adirondacks.
i found dead porcupines, and harvested some quills, with thanks.
they became part of a coil basket, and some were umbilicaria lichen dyed
and given to silversmith friends.
which were given back to me as earrings!
anyway, my neighbors stopped once,
asking me if i need help.
i was taking some quills from a roadkilled one. they thought i'd had an accident. 
needed help.
i thought they were worried i wouldn't take care of (relocate) the body.
a lesson in perspective and gratitude.
it's hard to maintain both practices isn't it?

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