Winter Wonderland At Work Across The Dreamtime: Everyday Magic, Day 254

The snow’s job is to fall steady and thick all night and all day. The sky’s job is to let it. Meanwhile, my job is to talk with BFA students about pacing novels composed of vignettes, the holy work of writing the truth, poetic forms comprising a play and helping Vets tell their stories. My job is to sit in a small circle of faculty and students talking about writing about race, what transformation through writing means anyway, and who the “we” is in a particular poem and in our lives.

All around the trees hold a thin layer of branching snow, the sky turns dim on the eastern edge, and the buildings inhale heat. Downstairs, people line up for dinner, and down the hall, someone laughs and different voices say, “Got you,” “I love you,” and “Where did you say that was?”

My mind ambles closer to where my body has landed, in a freshly-painted room of pale green before two winter’s full of falling snow, across the dream time¬†between my two homes. I simply remind myself to breathe, feel the fatigue and dizzy swish of having landed in a surprise, and follow the line of my limbs to what comes next.

Last Winter Snow (We Hope) In Spring: Everyday Magic, Day 248

Lake snowflakes tumble down, diagonally past the window. The daffodils endure it as do the just-opening hyacinth and the boat-like pedals of the flowering magnolias. If there’s such a thing as a false spring in the January thaws, then this is a false winter in the early days of spring.

Yesterday, about 160 miles south, I walked through budding trees, having rolled up my sleeves because of the heat and sun. Tomorrow I may be pulling dead things out of the garden and putting in potato and onion starts instead. It all turns on a dime in March and April, and right at the cusp of these months, even more so.

Meanwhile, there’s something a little sad about seeing what will probably be the last winding snow drop straight down or rush sidewalks behind the large cottonwood, holding small buds on its branch tips while the birds of spring look at each other in confusion but also in song.

Red-Winged Blackbirds in a Field of Snow: Everyday Magic, Day 220

The birds woke me up, hundreds of them, so many and so surprising that I thought they must be overflow from a dream or a recording Ken was listening to in the other room. But when I looked outside, I saw the giant swarm of red-winged blackbirds — one of my favorite of all the flying beings — filling every branch in Cottonwood Mel as well as ground they pecked bare below the bird feeder.

Where did they come from? Where are they going? I don’t know, but watching them dive upward, circle down to the feeder, then flutter back to the tree, I aimed my eyes toward their red wings against the iridescent black against the fields of snow.

Turkeys were also there, checking otu the compost pile

In little time, the large feeder was empty, and Ken cajoled me to step outside in my slippers and refill it. Of course just opening the door made them scatter at high speed, and I think that wearing zebra-print pajamas probably didn’t help them feel too welcome to return in a hurry, so I went back in once my mission was accomplished and watched. Our regulars — the pushy but elegant where to buy generic cialis cardinals, intrepid chickadees, flashy red-bellied woodpeckers, and sweet but nervous juncos — returned, used to the human-bird feeder routine. They rushed in full force, getting all they could, and keeping a scared eye to the sky.

First one red-winged blackbird returned, an early scout, then we saw about three. Within a few minutes, there were a dozen, and soon hundreds poured back in, freaking out the littler birds but eventually settling into a pattern. First the red-winged blackbirds rush the feeder in groups in 4-7, and after a bunch of them had their fill, they moved onto the cottonwood. Then the little birds made a run for it, doing their usual mid-air jostling on occasion. Cardinals every so often, as they are prone to do, crashed into our windows, cats on the other side making their strange eeking sounds (as in, “This is the best movie I’ve ever seen”). And the humans watching it all — this glimpse of spirit on the wing — took pictures, pointed, asked questions and followed the line of the flock from feeder to cottonwood to long slope over the snow-fog sky to wherever they go next.

Night Fields of Snow: Everyday Magic, Day 192

Last night, driving in the country to a friend’s house, I was dazzled by the wide fields of snow all directions, the open palm of the prairie brighter than usual in the dark. Although the snow is melting today and will surely be gone by Saturday when the temperature should approach the 50s, my friend died this week, our state government is about to wreck havoc with my husband’s take-home pay, the arts funding that helps support me and many friends is in dire straits, and close pals are suffering great losses lately, there’s something to be said for the night air, the wide fields, and the beauty of snow.

I especially love that sense of being surrounded by the changing dazzle of what comes when we’re not always looking, like now as I write this, the chickadee stretching her wings on the railing, and then she’s gone. Snow, people, politics and the like come and go, but it’s what we notice and how we treat each other that endure, that make the biggest difference.

In Praise of Neighbors: Everyday Magic, Day 187

Though the woods dark and deep, I was Little Red Riding Hood yesterday (although it was more like Little Mauve Riding Hood) carrying a bag with a container of soup and loaf of banana bread. I was heading to our neighbor’s house, a wonderful man who cleared our long and winding drive twice in the last week so we could actually drive in and out without shooting off into the middle of the field.

Our neighbor does this for us and my mother-in-law, refusing payment, as his way of being a good neighbor. He also knows our tractor — a big orange number from the 1950s — is out of commission, and his is. So this is what he does. No matter that our politics, religion and general ideas about the origins of the world’s problems are acres apart.

By the time I got to his house, I found no one home, so it was back through the fields and along the deep woods home, but later last night, we drove over our little thank you, and of course, he was gracious and thankful. So were we. So this little email is in praise of neighbors — the ones who step forward and hold open the proverbial door, keep watch on strange cars approaching our homes, bring over casseroles when the news is bad, and even clear a half-mile winding drive up a hill and down again of snow…..repeatedly. Let’s hear it for the people who, simply by proximity, show up to help.