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?


  1. Love the drawing and your little bridge, and porky-pine.

  2. happy happy jude, we love the bridge, too. and ian's drawing. porky is as porky does.

  3. More love for the drawing, especially the stonework in the foundation. Growing up we camped in Eastern Oregon every year & encountered porcupines, us kids would try to rattle them so they would shoot out quills to collect- crazy to think of now. Wishing you some cozy.

  4. hazel, you won't believe how many people ask me about their ability to shoot quills... a myth i believe was perpetuated by cartoons. anyway, cozy would make me happy now.

  5. oh, Ian's drawing is lovely - a keepsake for sure. I'd have trouble getting out of bed if it was that cold here! Poor little porky, he's cold. Sending warm thoughts.

  6. jean, so that's why my nights have been longer than usual...

  7. Such a lovely drawing...the detail! I think it would be swell to have a little entry bridge :) And the 'wool grass' is beautiful.
    I guess I didn't realize how long the porkies tail is. My son love this book as a child...really tugged at your heartstrings!

    It was 84 here today! I was just telling my friend that I could not handle that cold back there!

  8. nancy, the bridge was necessary, and we do have a thing for little bridges. porcupines are marvels in so many ways, very much little soldiers. i wonder if they have headaches...they do grumble. do you know if it actually is woolgrass? i'm probably wrong.

  9. Great drawing!! Love that porcupine - I so far have only once seen a LIVE one! One nite driving home there it was in the middle of the road ! I stopped to let it pass and it didn't know which way to go it kept turning right then left I laughed hysterically and waited for my live cartoon animal to make up its mind....made my day to see a live one.

  10. ann, look for their paths in the snowy woods--they look like tunnels with little round chains along the sides...if you find one on the road stop and go visit, it might be talking in the little troll language they have.

  11. V - I'm amazed at the amount of snow you guys have had. Love the photo of the snow on the bent grass. Stay warm. B

  12. barry, you are right-snow AND cold. but tonight it's raining.


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