Tuesday, April 30, 2013

April 30: Osprey

This morning the shadow of a large bird moving through the trees manifested itself as a brown and white Osprey. It perched in a tree in the neighbor's yard, from which it could look down on the river. I think it was poised right over my husband's favorite fishing hole. The river's barely more than a stream where we live, but it serves as a wooded, watery pathway for Ospreys, eagles, and kingfishers. I never get too used to seeing them pass through my back yard.

Osprey watches the river.
It's all about positioning--
right place, right time.

April 29: Kingfisher

Didn't get outside all day until I left the office well after 6:00 pm, but was rewarded for a long day's work by a kingfisher rattling overhead. First one of the spring for me here, though I've seen some further south in Maine. He seemed to be traveling downriver. When I told my husband, he wondered aloud if the river had been stocked with fish this spring. I think he was also wondering silently if he could get outside and go fishing while there was still daylight.

Kingfisher sounds annoyed
to find the river so low.
Spring hopes realign.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

April 28: Bright weekend

The most beautiful weekend of spring thus far and I spent almost the entirety of it indoors--ironically, at a land conservation conference and at a meeting of birders. The bird-y meeting took place at Colby College, and even on a sunny Sunday, a few students could be found in the halls of the science building where we met.

Tank top, shorts, sandals--
student's attire reminds me
I should be outside.

April 27: Early rising

Staying with friends who have Evening Grosbeaks coming to their bird feeders in the morning. I haven't seen Evening Grosbeaks in several years, so when I awoke early and heard them calling I got right up, even though I had planned to sleep longer. And by getting up early, I managed to catch a glimpse of the big fat golden egg of the moon setting behind the pines.

Fat moon setting
and calls of grosbeaks--
rewards for rising early.

Friday, April 26, 2013

April 26: Hayfever

Red haze of maple buds--
my body a tuning fork
for all that pollen.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

April 25: Hawks overhead

Driving to Belfast this morning, noticed several hawks flying above the Route One corridor, including some circling Broad-wings and at least one Sharpie. I apologize to anyone driving behind me while I was trying to get better looks at 50 MPH.

Driving north
following hawks up the coast.
Wish I could keep going.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

April 24: Lifting rain, birdsong

Rain stopped and the sky began to clear just before sunset. One last tendril of mist floated above Rockport village. When we got home, a Ruby-crowned Kinglet was singing in the yard, its sweet, burbling little song much louder than one might expect from such a tiny bird. On a short walk before dinner we heard other birds singing: cardinal, titmouse, Song and White-throated Sparrows.

Buds on the azalea,
birdsong before dark.
My head grows clearer.

Monday, April 22, 2013

April 22: Lyrids

Tonight the Lyrid meteor shower peaks. But the waxing moon is too bright most of the night. And I'm not the kind of person who can wake before dawn, just after the moon has set, so I can freeze half-awake in the back yard waiting for stars to fall. Those wishes will have to remain unexpressed until the next shower of space dust.

In the moon-washed sky
Big Dipper spills onto our house
unseen meteors.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

April 21: Inside/outside

A blue sky blue lips day, sunny but chilly. I tried to open a window so I could enjoy the spring air while I worked, which the cat seemed to appreciate, but I had to close it after a few minutes. So the cat hung out on a patch of sun behind the glass door, looking out on the front lawn, tail twitching. A squirrel came by audaciously close, and she flung herself against the door. Later, a cat wandered up the walk, and she threw herself against the door with such vigor I screamed, thinking someone was trying to break in. I shut the door, and now she's peering out from under the blinds, looking out at the dark street, waiting to respond to the next intruder.

Cat on the inside,
cat on the outside.
Restlessness of spring.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

April 20: Birds in the rain

Only one other person besides me came out in the rain to join my friend Derek on his weekly Bird Walk this morning. But our all-weather persistence was well rewarded. As we walked along the wooded edges of Florida Lake in Freeport in intermittent rain, sparrows sang, a swarm of Tree Swallows flew after midges on the water's surface, peepers trilled, two Ospreys periodically swept over the water looking for fish, and hundreds of Yellow-rumped and Palm Warblers chipped and sang around us. We stood in one place for a long time, letting the music of the place wash over us, simply appreciating the moment.

They always return,
but still, a wave of spring warblers
brings such joy.

April 19: Hawk Watch

As I drove to the hawk watch on Bradbury Mountain this morning, a thick fog shrouded the coast. The radio was full of news and speculation about the Boston Marathon bombers. One had been killed in a shoot-out last night, the other on the loose. The thought of the entire city of Boston on lockdown gave me chills. 

We turned off the news, climbed up to the summit as the fog began to burn off. Birds sang in the trees--Palm and Pine Warblers, my first Brown Creeper of the spring, trilling junco. And soon, the hawks began to come. All day long they flew past. It was a thing of beauty.

Fog lifts, birds sing.
All day hawks stream northward,
a welcome distraction.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

April 17: Beaked Hazelnut

Doing some yard work around my office, we came upon a Beaked Hazelnut bush in bloom. The almost-microscopic pink blossoms are the female flower, and the phallic catkins are the male flower. (And I think that's part of my finger, bottom right, fondling the catkin.)

Almost missed--
beauty on a very small scale,
thus all the more valued.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

April 16: Watching warblers through the office window

Far from the swaying palms of Florida where we last saw them, a handful of bright yellow, palm-sized Palm Warblers moved through the pussy willows outside my office this gray afternoon. One of spring's first returning warblers, the Palm adds a much-needed note of color to the still-bleak foliage. They also wag their tails as the flit and glean among the branches, an endearing trait.

Bobbing warblers,
early yellow blossoms.
Wistful, I watch from inside.

Monday, April 15, 2013

April 15: Horror

Following the news of the bomb blasts at the Boston Marathon, reading stories of indescribable horror. Why does it always shock us to learn, over and over again, that such evil exists in the world?

I've been frantically looking around for things to offer comfort--the season's first local Osprey, birdsong outside my office, learning that a poet whose work first inspired me to write poetry as a teenager (Sharon Olds) has won the Pulitzer Prize, praise from a Board member for work well done. But these are small things compared to people's lives.

Soaring Osprey, returned,
and singing sparrows--
sometimes this isn't enough.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

April 14: In the studio

Spent all day in the writing studio that my husband and I rent in one of the renovated mill buildings in downtown Camden. If I'd stayed home, I'd have found myself doing laundry and watching the Masters, allowed myself to be distracted by today's NYT crossword on my iPad. Here, I got accomplished what I needed to, while in the background like a white noise machine, the river roared over the waterfall that used to power the mill.

River, oak, mill, mountain--
who's to say which of these
has more significance?

Saturday, April 13, 2013

April 13: Rain stops, clouds begin to lift

Blue sky's open eye
peers down through rain clouds
at cars crawling below.

Friday, April 12, 2013

April 12: A little spring snow

It happens every year, and we always express shock; you'd think we didn't know better. It always snows at least once in April. Even after the crocus have bloomed, peepers chorus among the cattails, and robins chortle in our back yards again, even after teenagers have been running around town in shorts for a week and someone has been considering swimming in the lake two days after official Ice Out, even after all that full-on spring-y stuff... the potential for snowfall has not diminished. And sure enough, today: ice pellets interspersed with rain and big wet flakes.

Full-blown flurries
while we watch the Masters,
envy its azaleas, lush greens.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

April 10: Beech leaves

I thought at first it was a flowering tree shining in the forest as I drove back roads to Belfast, but it was a beech tree still holding on to last year's pale leaves, which reflected the morning light.

Last year's leaves still shiver
on the spring beech.
Hard to let go of the past.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

April 9: Vultures on a roof, and...

Leaving work tonight, I noticed several dark silhouettes lined up atop the roof of a neighboring house. As I watched, one took flight and soared over the lawn: a Turkey Vulture!

The vultures often circle above this part of the river in late afternoon. Perhaps the damp weather had grounded them. Or perhaps there was something dead in the yard. Altogether five or six birds perched in a row there, one or two occasionally leaving for a short flight, their dark, hulking forms rather ominous in the grey light.

Vultures perch, wait
for the rain to stop.
I am alive.


This is my 1,000th post! If this weren't National Poetry Month, I might take a little break from posting. (Maybe I will anyway...) Here's what I've got coming up for poetry readings:

  • Thursday, April 11, Rockland Public Library, 6:30 pm reading with Elizabeth Tibbetts and Dave Morrison
  • Thursday, April 18, Lithgow Library in Augusta, 6:00 pm reading/music with poet Dave Morrison and musicians Anna and David Patterson
  • Monday, April 22, 2013 Inauguration Poet Richard Blanco will read at Camden Hills Regional HS, 7:00 pm, tickets $10/$5 for students--don't miss this!
  • Wednesday, April 24, Rockport Public Library, 6:00 pm reading ("Birds and Spring")
  • Friday, June 14, Owl and Turtle Bookstore in Camden, 6:00 pm reading with seven other poets from the new "Take Heart" poetry anthology
  • Monday, June 17, Carver Library in Searsport, 6:30 pm reading with fellow "Take Heart" poets Elizabeth Tibbetts, Linda Buckmaster, and Carl Little 
There are a lot of readings going on now, so please get out and support your local poets! We truly appreciate it. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

April 8: First phoebe of spring

The first thing I heard as I arrived at work this morning was the two-note song of the phoebe, and immediately my day improved. It's not the prettiest song--just a raspy "fee-bee" repeated over and over--nor is the phoebe, a simple, dapper gray and white flycatcher, the most striking of songbirds. But the bird's arrival shouts "Spring!" into the mild morning air.

Not long after, my husband emailed excitedly from his office that he too had heard his first phoebe of the season. Our pleasures are simple this time of year--we just want Mother Nature to keep reminding us that warmer weather, green leaves, flowers, and birds are slowly but surely returning.

First phoebe's song,
wasp exploring sunlit eaves.
Can you feel it in the air?

April 7: Rooster

The friend I was staying with complained about a neighbor's rooster that begins to crow every day at 5 a.m. But though I listened, all I heard were doves cooing, woodpeckers at the feeder, a trilling junco...

Somewhere a rooster crows
but all I hear
is my own heart beating.

April 6: Out on the town

Walking through the bustling streets of Portland in the late afternoon, gulls wheeling overhead in full, spring sunlight, my arms around two dear friends, happy from the day's adventures, the night's adventures still ahead of us...

Buzz of beer and sidewalk bustle--
this day's last light shines
just for us.

April 5: Harbor at sunset

Joined some friends after work for an end-of-week drink at a restaurant on Camden harbor. The setting sun cast a beautiful glow on the opposite side of the harbor, while inside we glowed with the buzz of companionship, conversation, and a few drinks.

For a brief sunlit moment
even the boats wrapped in plastic
are radiant.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

April 4: Squirrel antics at my bird feeders

Acrobatic lunges
of hopeful squirrel--
you have to admire the effort.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

April 3: Sunset

I was sitting here at my desk wondering what to write about when I looked up and out my west-facing window and was surprised to see a gloriously gaudy sunset filling the sky with vivid purple and peach stripes. How did I miss that happening right in front of me? Just goes to show how easily we can be distracted by our mundane tasks and miss those brief moments of true beauty.

Behind the screen of tangled,
bare, black branches,
setting sun throws off her raiments.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

April 2: Lingering winter ducks

Given that it was in the 20s today, you can't blame the wintering ducks for lingering a bit longer before heading to Hudson Bay and environs. This morning a pair of Buffleheads drifted on the river above the  Seabright Dam.

A wink of white
as the duck dove, like ice
bobbing in spring runoff.

Monday, April 1, 2013

April 1: Transition

First day of April, Opening Day for the fishing and baseball seasons. Hopefully the last ragged remnants of snow will soon be washed clean by April showers.

First day of April.
Snowy owl lawn sculpture poses
next to rusting Christmas tree.