Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday, October 23, 2009

and so it is with my old friend

The light from the sun is reflecting
upon something
I placed beside the window.

In all that sparkle its identity
is lost,
 but when the light is gone
the shape of the things itself will return.

I will keep it where it now sits
so I can see the beauty of its sparkle 
another day.

What with the lowering of winter's sun
this may take a long time,
but when I look at it
I remember the sparkle
as much as I see
the thing itself.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Pumpkin Spider

In the fall, the garden is full of of large spiders, Pumpkin Spiders. This one made her presence known on her web beside the gate into the garden about two weeks ago. She has woven her web inside out beside the pathway. That's why we see her underside.

Every day she appears from her hiding place somewhere in the foliage at the edges of her web and sits in the sun for the entire afternoon. Every day at sunset, she disappears back into the leaves and makes herself very small. Anyone who has ever picked raspberries or blackberries knows how startling it is to reach for a berry and have one of these spiders run out from beneath the nearby leaf.  Now that the weather has changed, she waits until the rain has stopped and then only comes out in the afternoons. Her place of rest during a storm is now in the salal berries growing behind the white wooden slats.

She has probably lived here all summer and we didn't notice her before because she would have been very small. In the fall, there is much more food in the greenery which these spiders inhabit, and the pumpkin spiders grow enormous at a very speedy rate. Since their sudden and amazing surge in size makes them more obvious around Halloween and since their body resembles a pumpkin, it is believed this is why they are called Pumpkin Spiders.

So, to not get them caught in our clothes or hair - they are everywhere in the shrubbery and plants and thus somewhat out of sight of  the birds and those who come upon them unknowingly -  and since they eat so many bugs, in the fall we take a break from working in the garden and leave the Pumpkin Spiders to do their business. When we walk through the gate, we are careful not to brush against her web. She ignores us.

No one I know would ever willingly kill a pumpkin spider and they are not feared for their bite as are our black widows and brown recluses and more recently, the hobo which is said to be migrating south from Oregon and Washington. Some even say they don't bite. I don't know about this for certain as they most probably are capable. However, I've gotten them caught in my hair and on my clothes many times and I haven't ever been bitten.

Any day now, she will have a name, should one come to mind.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Dust and White Smoke

Before us sky and a river of white smoke. We were looking for something to follow.
We looked behind us, more sky. We couldn't follow the sky. It circled back on us wherever we went.

We followed the smoke single file, one behind the other, the one behind stepping in the footprints
of the one before so we wouldn't know we were lost. When night came
we stopped and squatted where we stood to protect our imprint in the dust.

After two days of this the smoke dispersed. After that we knew not in which direction we travelled. They were all the same, across the dust.

On the third day a cloud passed. We were by now walking so slowly we moved as one,
one shifting mound of dust.

On the fourth day a drop of rain fell from the third day's cloud. It caused not one ripple in the dust.
We waited. Not another drop fell.

On the fifth day we were possessed by a whirlwind, a dervish.
It disturbed our footprints but kept us moving through the dust.

On the sixth day a wall rose before us. We went no farther.

On the seventh day we circled the wall until the footprints of the one behind became
the footprints of the one before, a hoop. We stopped where we stood.
All that flowed was our blood. There was no white smoke.

On the eighth day we raised our eyes to the sky and stomped our feet on the ground.
The wall crumbled into dust.

On the ninth day someone called out, "A gate opens, a gate opens, a gate opens!" three times.
We entered the gate, eyes to the sky, watching for smoke. Our footsteps were unruly.
The one before left no footprints for the one behind to follow.

On the tenth day we saw it, the river of white smoke, and followed it with our eyes
back down to the inner city where we now stood.

On the eleventh day we walked in circles toward the source of the smoke towards the center of the city, towards a mound of black earth.

On the twelfth day we stopped where we stood and sat - nine circles, nine times nine deep - around
the mound of black earth.

On the thirteenth day we saw on the mound of black earth, a pile of grey ashes.
Atop it, one red burning coal. Upon the red burning coal, one tiny twig.

"The last burning twig!" Nine times nine voices fell - nine ripples deep - in the dust
around the mound of black earth. Still rising, the river of white smoke.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Laughing With Trees

If you throw your arms around a tree in the middle of a laugh
the tree will give you a mystical secret.

Few think to do this while laughing,
laughter is immediate transport to its own magical land.

Those who do, when questioned,
smile mysteriously and say, "I only remember laughing."