Heavy Rain and the End of Lilac Season

June 11, 2019

Like a lot of people, I enjoy occasional rainy days towards the start of summer.  The green of the oaks, maples, ashes and birches is still new and in the diffused light of a rainy day it takes on a quiet radiance.

But we live in a time of climate change, brought about by us humans.  Extraordinary downpours–such as the one that came through last night and this morning–are increasingly common in Maine.  They are creating more problems for our already challenged lakes, occasioning heavy runoffs that contribute to algae blooms, and fish-threatening low oxygen levels.

In such a season, we feel the need for action and hope…and maybe  a little forgiveness.

Struck by too hard rain
last lilacs open, scatter
soft benedictions


Rain on Snow, Snow on Rain, Icing in Between

January 9, 2019

It’s unsettling having a patch of tumultuous winter weather such as we have been experiencing for the past two days, with temperatures vacillating between freezing and thaw, and precipitation switching wildly between periods of rain, snow and freezing rain.  It is an uncomfortable reminder that we are living in the Anthropocene.  The winters have gotten warmer, with more thaw…and so more ice.

The current patch of weather is also simply difficult for us humans and many of our fellow living beings to be out in.

There were no fresh deer, fox, raccoon, or coyote tracks this morning.  The usually unseen subnivean tunnel work of the meadow voles had been exposed by the melting effect of the rain on the thin layer of snow cover.  Not surprisingly, there were no actual voles to be seen.  Exposure of their trails clearly represents a challenge for these voracious, year-round plant foragers.


vole trails

Not only the voles, even the trees seemed hard-pressed by the conditions.

Patient balsam boughs—
Learning water’s weight from drenched
lattices of snow.

balsams in wet snow

True Semptember

Sept. 12, 2018

The first week of September didn’t feel like September at all.  The air was from the south, hot and muggy; it was summery in the uncomfortable sense of the word, a reminder that we are living in the Anthropocene.

It was with a sense of relief a few mornings ago that I woke up to find cool, fresh air pouring in through the open bedroom window.  Overnight, the season had shifted from high summer to early fall, Maine style.  While not letting me off the hook in terms of my responsibilities as a human being, the change felt good.

True September’s here!
Step through damp woods, coolness, mist
into one, still mind.