Saturday, March 31, 2012

March 31: GPS

Driving home from Portland tonight, watching the GPS screen (I wasn't doing the driving!), it occurred to me that when you only focus on the screen, all you get are a network of lines that don't even show all the little side roads. What you don't see: the house where someone I know lives, that great restaurant we stop at sometimes, osprey nests, several fields featuring flocks of turkeys, where my grandmother's trailer used to be (now a car detailing shop), the turn-off to a good farm stand in the summer, big bare oak tree on a hillside, a trailhead to a good hike, one of Paul's favorite fishing spots, more homes of people we know, the pond where some buffleheads are still hanging out, a wetland where we heard peepers, a view of the moon, Venus, and Jupiter...

The way home reduced
to a single orange line
across a black screen.

Friday, March 30, 2012

March 30: Matched pair

A pair of geese--probably the same pair as last year--has a nest near my office. I think it's somewhere along the shore of the river near the access road to the Seabright Dam, but I haven't wanted to go seeking it out. I'm sure the constant traffic of town vehicles to access the dam, dog walkers, fishermen, and then in warmer weather, swimmers, harasses them enough. But while I've conscientiously kept my distance, I've been very aware of their renewed presence this past week. One or both of them always seem to be there, beady black eyes on the lookout, those sleek black heads and necks every so often rising like periscopes on the lookout. They probably pay as much attention to our goings-on as we do theirs. There's something I find inexplicably comforting about their presence, despite their aura of intense alertness. Perhaps grazing animals of any sort--and these big birds do seem to spend most of their time heads down, poking around in the grass--have a pastoral effect on a landscape.

Our neighbors, the geese,
keep a close watch on us all.
Eggs are so fragile.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

March 29: Snow on daffodils

These early spring snowfalls can be painful, especially if you've been teased by "real" spring weather already--air like warm breath on the back of your neck that made you sweat, that whispered sweet nothings about swelling leaf buds and opening flowers. We woke this morning to more snow falling, though accumulation was minimal. They call this late snow "poor man's fertilizer," because it's supposed to somehow help the greening. Once it melts, of course. And my lawn does look like it's reviving a bit.

In our garden right now, bright green shoots of chives look positively savory. Bulbs--lilies and tulips--are sending forth an advance guard of greenery. The rosy tips of peonies are poking through the surface of the soil. And I already had to pull up some dandelions. But the view from our front step, looking up at Mount Battie, resonates with the misplaced glory of the season past: the mountain's crags and ledges frosted with snow. The white ridgeline of larger, higher Mount Megunticook, visible up the street, is even more dramatic. I feel like we're living right on the threshold between two seasons struggling for power, winter on one side and spring on the other. What makes it bearable, what makes it possible to enjoy the delicate beauty of the snowy mountains despite my longing for heat, is that I know spring will eventually win out.

Daffodils' green necks
barely bend beneath the snow.
They too wait for sun.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

March 28: Snow pellets

This morning, the office phoebe returned. This afternoon, a co-worker and I were mesmerized watching as a light snowfall shifted from big loose flakes to pellets of ice that rolled off the shingled roof like thousands of tiny white marbles. This random snow shower didn't linger; no snow clings to the grass. And now it's raining. One of those raw days I'm thankful to be inside, under a solid, secure roof.

Roof over our heads
easily sheds snow pellets,
and later, the rain.

Monday, March 26, 2012

March 26: Red Buds

The world was in motion today. Gusty wind created white caps on the small patch of the river by my office. Branches swirled. Crows swept past the windows. Downtown, everyone was rushing on the sidewalks to get to where they were going, in out of the wind and cold. With so much kinetic energy in the air, focusing on one thing was a challenge. Yet for a moment, while paused at the bank's drive-up window of all places, my eye fixed on something that stood out in the bleak, windy woods: a maple tree red with budding flowers.

Humming now with sap,
maple boughs push forth red buds.
I can be patient.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

March 25: Small town

My husband and I just got back from a memorial service that filled the Camden Opera House, standing room only. I'm not exaggerating much when I say that almost everyone I know in Camden was in attendance. My husband and I were there because Don was a key member of the Rotary club I belong to, a genuinely kind person with a lively mind whose civic-minded life I greatly admired. People were joking that if Don had been there this afternoon, he'd have wanted all of us to vote on something, to get something accomplished for the community. The memorial was certainly better attended than many town meetings I've attended. 

The memorial was a moving experience, with many stories shared by Don's brothers. One of them commented on how everywhere he's been in the past week since Don's passing--the grocery store, the library, a play, a concert, the dump--he's run into someone offering condolences and asking how he's doing. After talking to dozens of people, I left feeling very grateful to live in the same small town where my mother was born, a place where I know that if I need the support of my community, it will be there, in the post office, the corner grocery, the bookstore... Yes, as they say, everyone knows your business in a small town, for better or worse. But there can be much comfort in that, in being part of a true web of human connections.

His simple mantra:
What can I do to help you?
And, Always give thanks.



Saturday, March 24, 2012

March 24: Raking leaves

Because the fair weather has persisted, my husband and I chose today to commence our annual Raking of the Leaves. The day-long activity kept us warm in the chillier air, and the lawns and flower beds now look ready for spring's touch. The lilac and quince bushes already boast fat leaf buds, and tulip leaves push up here and there like green flags waving on the season. We uncovered a few previously undiscovered snow drops and crocuses. We also uncovered quite a few curled up woolly bear caterpillars, which had undoubtedly been hibernating in the heaps of dead leaves around the yard. Knowing the weather is supposed to get even more seasonable soon--i.e. much colder--we tried to put them in places where they'd continue to be protected from the elements.

Don't be fooled. Hang tight,
woolly bear, until spring is
really here to stay.

Friday, March 23, 2012

March 23: Litter

Sometimes on beaches we'll come across driftwood or dead trees bedecked with found buoys that washed up on shore. A "buoy tree" is a great way to clean up all the flotsam scattered across a beach and make something decorative, even sculptural, from the litter, especially when you don't have the means to carry all that trash off island. I thought of this today when I drove past a roadside brush pile in a grassy vacant lot. Someone had obviously put in some effort to clean up the lot, making a big heap of fallen branches and other detritus. What makes the brush pile distinctive are the discarded bottles and cans stuck on the ends of all the branches poking out. They make the pile somehow look both trashy and artistic at the same time. Someone must have decided that simply clearing the field wasn't enough, that creating such an installation (mixed media: wood, aluminum, plastic) was more interesting than simply tossing all those empties into a trash bag.

No longer mere trash,
these colorful cans are now
parts of a sculpture.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

March 22: Suddenly

I swear they weren't there this morning. Of course, I was distracted because I thought I'd heard my first phoebe of spring, so maybe I missed them. They definitely weren't there yesterday. But this afternoon I suddenly noticed that the coltsfoot was blooming under the white pine outside our office--our first wildflower of the season. Perhaps the day's freakish 80-degree weather enticed the multitudes of yellow blossoms up through the pine needles in record time.

Later, I ran sluggishly across town, my asthmatic lungs unaccustomed to the heat. As I neared my destination, however, my pace picked up. I could hear a loud chorus of peepers in Lily Pond, behind the Y. They weren't there a couple of nights ago. We drove home the long way, through Aldermere Farm, with windows down so we could hear them in full force. A hot pink sunset was settling over the pond as we drove past, and a flock of geese grazed in the pasture. If the songs of frogs can make our spirits soar so easily, imagine how the female tree frogs must feel.

Light, warmth, and hormones--
simple recipe to thrill
hearts of frogs, and us.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

March 21: Perfect sunset

Someone told me a very funny story at the end of a reception on this sultry evening, so I left in high spirits, open to joy. I was wearing flip-flops on this second day of spring. Jupiter and Venus hung together, bright above the red glow of sunset. In the field next to where my car was parked, I could hear the twittering of displaying male woodcocks. I stood by the field for several minutes listening. Off to the east I could see red Mars: a planet trifecta. When a bird landed, in the pause between aerial displays he sat in the field for awhile calling "peent, peent" loudly enough to hear over my car engine. Spring magic.

Vernal conjunctions:
three planets, several woodcocks,
and me, observing.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

March 20: Vernal activity

Today's the official first day of spring, the vernal equinox. (And yesterday was the official "ice out" day for Megunticook Lake.) From here on out, we enjoy more daylight than darkness. Energized by this transition (and a big mug of green tea), I sang loudly along with the car stereo this morning as I drove up the coast to a meeting. A warm spring haze softened the contours of the Camden Hills and blurred the islands out in the bay. A good morning to be alive on the coast of Maine.

Later this afternoon, when I'd opened the office window once more, I thrilled to hear the end-of-day songs of robins fill the air for the first time this year. I looked out, and the vacant, grassy lot across the street was dotted with birds hopping around, hoping for worms. They're truly back, and now we're rolling into the green season--not that I'm ruling out an unexpected snow fall or two. Yes, it's supposed to be in the 70s tomorrow, but according to Maine weather tradition, you can't rule out anything until Memorial Day. At least.

Blue islands, blue bay,
and robins singing vespers
this first day of spring.

Monday, March 19, 2012

March 19: Open window

Such a beautiful day today that by mid-afternoon I opened my office window to let in some air. I think it was warmer outside than in. Not a minute later, I heard the buzz of a fly ricocheting around the room. I guess if it's warm enough to crack open the windows, it's warm enough to need to replace the screens.

Outside the office, the resident pair of Canada geese spent the morning grazing on the lawn near the dam, and later, I saw them paddling on the completely ice-free river. A couple of fishermen stopped by on their lunch breaks to test the waters, but didn't appear to have any success.

After work while on my run I saw a woman out on her patio grilling burgers.

Despite the night's chill
I keep the window open
a few minutes more.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

March 18: Into the woods

With temperatures in the 70s, a hike was in order. And apparently it was in order for everyone else in town, too, because my first choice for a hike--Bald Mountain--was over-booked, with cars spilling out of the parking lot and up the street. So I headed to one of the Ragged Mountain trailheads and happily found myself alone there. Well, with no human company, anyway, unless you count the guys training their bird dogs in a nearby field down the road.

I brought binoculars because with weird warm weather like this, I didn't know what new spring arrival I might come across. I was hoping for a phoebe or perhaps a fox sparrow. Instead, the first bird I saw was a Bohemian waxwing--a boreal breeder that often strays southward during the winter months. A small flock of seven birds hung out in the treetops near the parking area. As with the snowy owl I saw on Friday, they've been observed by many birders this winter. I just hadn't managed to come across any until today. I'm really pushing the envelope with my winter bird sightings this year. It made me feel that I was diverted to the other trail for this good reason alone: to appreciate the beauty of these winter visitors and enjoy their soft trills, even as I could also hear a brown creeper singing his sweet, clear spring song and a pileated woodpecker calling loudly from deep in the woods.

A red-tailed hawk soared over the parking area as I set off up the trail, probably one of the resident birds I see every time I come to this part of the mountain. I enjoyed a mellow walk through the awakening woods, relishing the almost-sensuous sunlight, the soft flapping of last year's clinging beech leaves, the clear, unfrozen stream, and a sense of peace among trees slowly stirring back to life. The occasional bird sang from amid still-bare branches, and I sometimes lost the path in my distraction, wandering here and there amid stands of slender trunks shining in the sunlight until I found another blue blaze.

Hiking down the trail--
everything looks different
than when I went up.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

March 17: Renewal of the Run Counts

Thanks to this glorious sunshine, this morning it felt warm enough for me to go for my first outdoor run of the year. (I know many runners who run outside year-round, but I'm a real wimp when it comes to cold so would rather take advantage of my Y membership and run inside in winter.) In spring I don't like to run plugged in to my iPod; I prefer to hear birdsong. It's a way of learning what birds have returned. I keep a tally in my head of all the species I hear or see on each outing, trying to top my previous run's count. This morning's total, accumulated while running from my house to the Y (a mere two miles), was eleven:

  1. goldfinch
  2. tufted titmouse
  3. cardinal
  4. song sparrow
  5. white-breasted nuthatch
  6. downy woodpecker
  7. Canada goose
  8. house finch
  9. grackle
  10. crow
  11. herring gull
Nothing unusual here, but this is just the beginning, just a baseline for the weeks ahead when the woods will once more resound with the renewing songs of birds, and my middle-aged body, fueled by the revitalizing vigor of the season, will push itself to run farther and farther.

My legs have more spring
as I run from bird to bird,
all of us revived.

Friday, March 16, 2012

March 16: Finally!

I've lost track of how many times I've gone to the Samoset to look for the snowy owl first reported there over a month ago. Less than a week from the vernal equinox, I'd given up hope, figuring the owl was on his way back to the Arctic by now. This winter has seen a record number of snowy owl sightings across the country, dozens in Maine alone. I've been feeling like a birding loser, unable to see a snowy owl in the one year when they're virtually everywhere. (One even showed up on Hawaii!) I could have driven three hours down to York to see the one that's spent the winter at Nubble Light, or looked for the one reportedly still lingering at a dairy farm in Clinton, but with all the owls out there, I'd really wanted to see the one closest to home (and which I came so close to seeing back in early February--see post for February 12).

When I heard from two different sources that the Samoset bird was still around, my hope returned. With a use-it-or-lose-it vacation day today, I figured this was my last chance. It's supposed to warm up significantly over the weekend, which will probably send most of our lingering winter birds northward. I headed over to the Samoset directly from a massage, figuring the relaxed frame of mind would help my quest. One person I know had seen it near the ponds, so I parked near them and walked the paved path through the golf course from there. Many geese, but no owl near the ponds. I heard my first blackbirds of the season singing from the reeds. No owl visible on the golf course. No owl visible on roof tops. I decided that at the very least I could walk along the shore bluff and count waterfowl. A song sparrow flew past. A loon drifted offshore. I looked down at the stony beach...

And there he was: a big, white snowy owl perched on a rock, impassively turning his head to look back at me. I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that I was so relieved and happy to finally see the owl that I burst into tears. I watched him for a while until, satisfied and happy, I finally decided to move on and leave the bird in peace, wishing him a safe flight back to the Arctic tundra and good luck in finding a mate and lots of lemmings to eat there.

I took the long way back to my car to see what other birds were around. Song sparrows, cardinals, and robins were all singing. A flock of grackles flew over. Pairs of ducks bobbed off the breakwater and in one of the resort's ponds. A big harbor seal perched atop one of the rocks offshore, as if beached there by the low tide. Dozens of robins hopped around the golf greens, hoping for worms. A pileated woodpecker swooped past. Clusters of pussy willows edged an alder thicket. A junco trilled from atop a tree. The very air is breathing "spring." I don't know how much longer the owl will linger now, but I am very grateful he hung out long enough.

On spring's wet threshold,
snowy owl lingers, robins
sing their merry songs.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

March 15: Ides of March

A headache's driven
out all possibility
of a good poem.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

March 14: Watch the road

Doesn't it always happen that when you're in a hurry, the guy driving in front of you is going 20 MPH under the speed limit? And when you finally get past him, that sense of impatience lingers. Fortunately, I took some deep breaths, slowed back down, and relaxed a bit, because just a few minutes later I came to an intersection at which a car was stopped halfway through at an odd angle. No accident. I think the car just died and rolled there. The poor driver was standing there on her cell phone obviously calling for help. Several minutes after that, if I hadn't regained my calm, I might have clipped a turkey. Instead, I was able to watch with a smile as a small flock safely disappeared into the roadside shrubbery. When I finally got to my destination, I felt like I'd successfully run a gauntlet of sorts.

Slowed, I didn't kill
that woodchuck or those turkeys.
A good day to drive.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

March 13: Christmas cactus

Last year it didn't flower at all, so this year I guess I'll just think of the Christmas cactus as blooming nine months early. For some reason one of my three Christmas cacti suddenly decided to put forth four translucent pink blossoms worthy of the tropics. In the absence of crocus in my flower beds, I'll take these inside. Hanging by my front window, they make me smile each morning when I raise the blinds. I know that all too soon they'll dry up and drop off... and then it will be another year or two before I see more.

Ephemeral bloom--
for a moment I'm thinking
of warmer places.

Monday, March 12, 2012

March 12: First Grackle

Things are really heating up around here: I saw my first grackles of the season fly over the gas station while I was filling up this afternoon. (The great thing about birding is that you might see a cool bird--and all birds are cool--just about anywhere. As long as you're paying attention.) Many people find grackles annoying. From the blackbird family, they gang up and mob bird feeders, they're loud, and their song--though interesting--can hardly be called music. But watch them closely. In the sunlight that boring black plumage becomes iridescent green and purple, accented by a bright yellow eye. When they fly, the males hold their tails vertically, like little rudders guiding them through the air. And they're one of the first birds of the season to return, certainly cause for celebration as we transition into spring.

Common grackles carry the lovely Latin name of Quiscalus quiscula. (Photo from Wikimedia Commons.)
In a couple months
they'll be "just grackles" again.
Right now they mean "spring."

March 11: Patch of Sun

Spring was in the air and in the quality of the sunlight as my husband and I walked up Beech Hill in Rockport. We saw pussy willows along the muddy trail, and although we saw no sign of the bluebirds that have been hanging out up there the past few days, we did hear many chickadees singing their courtship songs in the alders. I noticed too that the alders, birches, and other small trees visible at a distance in the lower fields are shifting hue as they begin to bud out. The sun felt good on my pale face.

Upon returning home, I wanted to continue to feel the warmth of the day's sun on my body, but our house, bounded as it is by a mountain on one side and many trees on the other, doesn't let in a lot of light. The air still carries enough of winter's chill that hanging outside on the back porch to soak up the last rays of afternoon's sunlight, isn't yet an option. So instead I found myself literally crawling around on the floor trying to find one sunny patch in which to read a book. I ended up in the hall next to the laundry room, light falling across my legs for a brief half hour. My husband gave me an odd look when he found me there. It wasn't even enough light to entice the cat.

The cat too disdains
my tiny patch of precious
early spring sunshine.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

March 10: Driving home

Route One north of Portland has some long dark stretches at night, interrupted only by the head and tail lights of other cars and the occasional streetlight or intermittent sign. Then a car dealership will appear, packed with shining cars gleaming under dozens of lights. Or the overlit oasis of a gas station/convenience store, the kind you can always count on to be open no matter how late. Or the night will be punctuated by that "oh my god" moment when you crest a hill and glimpse the recently full moon rising low, orange, and huge--a giant potato of a moon--that puts all the other distractions to shame.

There it is again--
enormous moon, low, rising,
outshining all else.

Friday, March 9, 2012

March 9: Chasing my shadow

Often on longer drives, my mind wanders into more imaginative terrain. Perhaps it's the stimulation of the ever-changing landscape outside the window or the simple thrill of being on the road with blue skies and sunshine around me. As I was driving eastward home from a trip to Bath this afternoon, the setting sun  cast the shadow of my car directly before me on the road. I was tailgating my own shadow. My car is fairly compact, squat-looking from the sun's low angle. I amused myself with the idea that my car's shadow looked some sort of Japanese anime character: the side-view mirrors gave it the appearance of having ears; the two front seat headrests were its eyes. Weird thought, I know. But it helped while away the miles. I was actually a bit disappointed when the sun sank so low that the shadow disappeared; I'd gotten used to thinking of it a separate entity that I was following up Route One.

My car's cast shadow
becomes a strange gray creature
I'm following home.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

March 8: Crow's Nest

One of my co-workers reported seeing a crow fly by the office today carrying a bunch of twigs in its bill. With today's temperature rising into the 60s, it's not so surprising the crow was thinking of nest-building. Later, a small conclave of crows was gathered on the grass down by the dam, pecking at the remnants of someone's lunch and perhaps discussing the finer points of making nests--which trees produce the best twigs, what's the best diameter branch, how to twist the body just so to make the coolest shape...

With bill full of twigs,
crow flies to its waiting mate.
Home's where we make it.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

March 7: Pairing off

From my office window I can see a long patch of open water on the Megunticook River. This afternoon two pairs of spiffy common mergansers were hanging out together there, diving and drifting for a few hours. They were in bright breeding plumage and close enough that the males' green heads contrasted strikingly with their white bodies, and their bills were a vivid red-orange visible without binoculars. Pair bonds already formed, they're on their way to lakes and rivers further inland to breed.

The river opens.
Thoughts turned to nesting northward,
ducks gather, pair off.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

March 6: Blue sky

Home sick today. Outside stretches a brilliant, cloudless blue sky, the kind of sky that prompted Dickey Betts of the Allman Brothers to write about his girlfriend (in the song "Blue Sky"), "You're my blue sky, you're my sunny day..." At least the dazzling day's providing me good light to read by, as I huddle near the front window wrapped up in a thick blanket, book in hand.

Stuck in with a cold,
taunted by this perfect day.
Sun, snow, river shine.

Monday, March 5, 2012

March 5: Crow convergence

So wonderful to see blue sky still at 5 p.m. And apparently the crows were excited about it too. As I was leaving the office for a meeting, dozens of crows were flying from all directions toward a nearby stand of pines. The waxing moon had risen above snowy Mount Battie, glowing with the setting sun's rosy light. And in the foreground, crows came from all directions, some swirling in the air, some landing in the trees, feathered black silhouettes everywhere I looked. I almost drove off the road, I was so intent on figuring out what they were up to. But they didn't seem to be gathering with that same frantic urgency as when there's a hawk or owl to chase away, no diving or swooping at anything. They were just, well, gathering, like one big crow happy hour.

Company of friends--
even crows enjoy chilling
together, day's end.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

March 4: Sunday Morning

Sometimes the day's greatest pleasures can be its simplest ones, like sleeping in a little late and then sitting across from my husband at the breakfast table while he reads and I work on a crossword. He's just boiled eggs, and I've got an awesome sticky bun from Home Kitchen and a big mug of green tea with honey. The cat purrs nearby, hoping for handouts. Still in my flannel PJs, I've got nothing ahead of me planned for the day beyond finishing this puzzle.

Perfect Sunday start:
crossword puzzle, sticky bun.
Paul and cat here too.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

March 3: Explosion of robins

Robins are all over town today, perhaps having ridden in with the rain on this warm front. We drove by a crabapple tree, and a large flock literally exploded out of the branches, robins everywhere, their rosy breasts contrasting nicely with the still-fresh snow and the grey cast to this bleak day. Robins seemed to be perched in every tree as we passed through town to the YMCA. The first thing I heard when we got out of the car was a robin's cluck. And from the workout room windows, I could see robins poised in trees, scattered throughout the woods behind the Y. (The Y, incidentally, also features some stands of beautiful, full-blown pussy willows, if you need a good seasonal pick-me-up.) As we made our way home, I noted lots more robins, including some in our own yard. These birds are moving through, probably heading northward; their numbers indicate that something's in the air. But that something won't really be spring as we know it until we see these omnivorous thrushes change their eating habits from pillaging the last lingering fruits and berries to pulling worms from our thawed lawns.

Let's encourage rain
to expose our worm-filled lawns
for hungry robins.

Friday, March 2, 2012

March 2: Birch bark

There's a white birch on the edge of our parking lot, visible from the kitchen window if you peer through the hanging bird feeder. I notice that natural trunk growth--or perhaps the ravages of winter--has caused some of the bark to peel off in long, curled strips that look like small parchment scrolls or something you'd find tucked inside a fortune cookie. This tree often provides a perch for chickadees, who peck open sunflower seeds on its branches or wait there for a turn at the feeder. A bird might notice the peeling bark as a potential hiding place for insects to glean. My thought, as I paused in the driveway this morning to listen to the chickadees belting out their spring courtship songs, was that these slips of birch paper were like little love notes to the birds--billets-doux from the tree to the chickadees.

Birch bark scroll flapping--
a love note unfurled by wind,
read by chickadees.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

March 1: Snowflakes

March is coming in like a polar bear this year, with the first snow storm we've seen in weeks. I've been mesmerized by snow sifting off the roof in whispering waves, and by fluffy, wind-blown flakes swirling in all directions outside the window, whirling dervishes of snow. The bleak lawn has been restored to a clean, white canvas, written on only by the occasional weed and last summer's grasses poking through.

Big flakes cling to my window, retain their entrancing forms as lacy, six-sided crystals. It's almost a cliche to marvel at the perfect beauty of a snowflake, but really, just think of each one forming up in its cold cloud, those microscopic bits of ice accreting to create each unique crystal, which then falls with millions of others just like it (and yet each different!) to create this thick blanket of snow... Watching snow is really a meditation on the power of many small things coming together as one.

I put my nose up to the window to get a closer look. On the other side of the glass, the tiny, dried-up florets of a Queen Anne's lace blossom perfectly echo the snowflakes' starry shapes.

Snow crystals--entranced,
I almost hesitate to
get out the shovel.