Spring Rain Woods

April 30, 2021

I’ve been learning to pay more attention to the native plants around me, the old-time residents of the land. Often these turn out to be little favored in contemporary horticultural terms. They are said to be lacking in showy blooms and a sweet fragrance, or as too attractive to insects. But gradually, awareness of the value of native plants to the health of the environment is increasing.   And I think our ability to see the intrinsic beauty of many of these plants is growing too.

shadbush, chokecherry—
new leaves burning through spring rain,
russet, lemon green

Pussy Willow Stars

March 27, 2021

In the overlap between the end of maple-sugaring time and the start of mud season the pussy willows (Salix discolor) bloom.  Pussy willow trees go largely unnoticed through most of the year, but right now they are the beloved stars of the woodland show.

Standing in snowmelt
I clear away last year’s vines
from pussy willows


February 19, 2021

I’m fortunate enough to have received the final dose of the Moderna Vaccine and so to have joined the still very small percentage of people to be fully vaccinated against COVID.

Some folks, myself included, experience side effects, especially from the second dose (a low fever, headache, fatigue). Others get away with just a sore arm, or nothing at all.  Either way, they say our bodies are building immunity.

Dozing on the couch
slowed by yesterday’s vaccine—
snow falls slow all day

Overwintering in the Pandemic

February 4, 2021

We are almost a year into the pandemic, regretfully habituated to a muted, distanced life with most social encounters occurring via the internet. Like others, I’ve learned to set my computer monitor in front of a sunny window; the light is cheering, especially in winter, and has the advantage of brightening my face so it’s more visible to others online. I also have some nonhuman company in my well-lit location.

Southerly window—
beside a sea of Zoom faces,
potted rosemary

Welcoming the New Year Without Snow

January 1, 2021

A week before New Year’s a warm but powerful storm with lots of rain washed away the layer of powdery snow we had on the ground. But that didn’t prevent the new year from dawning with its own touch of brilliance.

In the sere brown lawn
frost crystals, ten thousand flares–
New Year’s Day sunrise