Outside Heat

Every living species is invested
In the same effort
To stay cool.
Standing outside in the
Heavy, heated air
It is so quiet.
The loose folds
Of my blouse
Billow in the weakly
cooling breeze.
The rest sticks to the
Surface of my body.
I retreat to the cool
Darkness of my home
And try to regain my
Ability to breathe
Which the oppressiveness
Of the open air has
Stolen from me.

The Cacophony of Crows

The crows gather as the sun rises

Outside my window.

Black specks in the branches

Hanging over the house

There is one in particular

Who, once starts,

Doesn’t stop.

To me, lying in bed,

It sounds as though

He argues with

All the others

In the yard.

It is harsh and guttural

And soul-jarring.

Making my heart

Race,

When all I long

To do

Is sleep.

Summer Storm

The rumble started in the distance

Deep, long, and low.

Thunder approached, rain and hail

And lightning’s unholy glow

The wind tossed the treetops

And blew grass

Until it bent.

My dog sat glued

To my lap ‘til the tempest’s

Power had been spent.

Only then, did my dog

Bravely lift his head

And placed a kiss

On my cheek

As if “Thank you” he had said.

Thank you for comforting me

In the circle of your arms.

When I’m with you

I know I’m safe

And free from any harm.

Then he jumped down

To the floor, and yawned

His mouth gaped wide.

And all he wanted to do

As the sun came back out

Was go and play outside.

An Extraordinarily Magic Moment

Last night I was walking my dog out in the backyard. I always have a flashlight with me because we have fisher cats, coyotes, and other predators in the area that I have to be careful of. So, I’m standing there holding my dog’s leash and he was off in his own world intently sniffing something on the ground. I was scanning the inky recesses of the yard when the light bounced of two glowing eyes standing about 5 feet off the ground about 30 feet away from where I stood. I gasped and took a step back, hating myself for all the horror movies I have ever seen. Taking a deep, yet shuddering breath, I tentatively looked again. The light bounced off the pale broad flank, up the long slender neck, and the softly curved head of a deer. My eyes widened as we stared at each other. It occurred to me that he had probably seen me long before I realized we were sharing space and he had still emerged from the woods and entered the yard. I was no threat to him. I brought the light down again because I didn’t want my dog to see him and start barking and scare him or wake the neighborhood. My curiosity could not be contained though and I kept shining the light and finding him ghosting across the yard towards the street where I could only assume he was heading to the nearby river. After he had disappeared around the corner of the house I stood there basking in the magic of the moment. That magic has stayed with me throughout today as well. This might not be the most authorial way to express this sentiment but it was just so cool.

First Flight

I have no idea how it survived the drop

The plump little feathered fledgling

Sitting on my porch.

It woke up this morning

In the small nest nestled in the eaves.

Now it sits blinking in the sun.

Suddenly flapping its wings furiously

Trying to catch the breeze

That ruffles its feathers

And lift off.

But only manages to hover a foot and

Lands again.

I hear the parents in a nearby tree

Their sharp chirps ring through

The air.

All at once I am completely

Invested.

I stare out the window and will it

To take its first flight.

A Monochromatic Kaleidoscope

Sunlight filters through the trees

Mottling green on green

In the soft grass that

Carpets the yard.

When the summer zephyr blows

The ground becomes

A monochromatic kaleidoscope.

My dog is a reddish blur

As he chases his ball.

Turning to look at me, dropping the ball

He is the picture of happiness.

And I find myself smiling

Even with the heaviness in my chest.

The healing has just started

It’s in its infancy still.

But it is welcome.

The Gardener

My mom loved gardening. I vividly remember playing outside, as a child, during summer weekends, watching my mom hunched over her various flower beds with her blue and white cowboy-style bandanna tied around her head. She would be weeding or transplanting new flowers. There would be containers of near fluorescent marigolds, pansies or some other colorful summer flower. One house we lived in there was a stone wall in front of our house and my mom and planted rows of bright orange tiger lilies all along it. When I got home from riding my bike somewhere I could see the brightness from way down the street. Those flowers were like a landing strip for my bike.  Out of all the flowers my mom loved though, the one she had to buy every year were geraniums. Early summer always meant there would be pots of red blooms decorating our porch or front steps. It couldn’t be white or pink. They always had to be a deep rich red color. I must admit I’ve always loved the contrast between the red flowers and the verdant green stems and leaves.

So, the other day I was missing her like crazy so I decided to go to Wentworth Gardens in Rollinsford, New Hampshire. It is a massive complex with endlessly long greenhouses and a gorgeous outdoor space filled with bushes, trees, and other flowering plants. My mom and I went there the first spring we lived in Maine and she loved it. It’s such a wonderful memory I have of her, seeing that gardening spark come alive again in her eyes again. I spent a good amount of time just walking around looking at all the flowering plants. Then I spotted the geraniums and a lump immediately formed in my throat. I made my way towards them and as I touched one of the blooms I felt the tears welling up in my eyes and I swallowed hard and took some deep breaths trying to compose myself. I didn’t want to have a full-on meltdown in public. I knew what I had to do though, and I’m sure you have figured it out as well. I bought three deep red geraniums and planted them in a large pot that sits on my porch. Sitting on the porch and transplanting them to their new home gave me a moment where I felt close to my mom again. That was a nice feeling to have when, for the most part, she feels so far away from me. Now, throughout the summer, when I see those flowers, I’ll smile because I know she’ll have the same look on her face when she looks down and sees them.

geraniums