1. In spring the surface of an orchard pond is broken into circles as the trout begin to feed. It’s like a fantasy gifted by the kingbird in its flight– away to the pear tree’s pearly blossoms.
In summer the mother mouse, bulging-eyed, scampers from her newborn in the nest, a morsel for the roving sow. Each season is a teacher with its give and take, but he learns so slowly of what is.
In autumn you are driving aimlessly. You pass an Amish man with horse-and-buggy. Blindered eyes, clomping hooves, and billowed breath become a memory… Commitment and direction linger in your mind.
In winter he ascends the snowy hill, looks down to his house and barn and family. Descending slowly through the evergreens, he reads from his bible of the world– growing smaller, stronger, happier, blessed.
2. The foresters are marking all the white ash to be cut, removed and sold before the emerald borer robs the great trees’ dollar value. Everywhere, it seems, native species sicken, die and fall. I reach out– not as native as I’d like to be– climbing the winter hill in easy labor, bundling tight the small planted pines in burlap jackets to protect them from the snow-bound deer through the weeks to come.
The new year dawns. I’m hoping for the best while bracing for the worst. The wild voices beckon with a sound suspiciously like my own when wishing for renewal. Lately I have woken in the night to the shrill but pleasant barking of foxes wafting through an opened window from their sand banks in the poplar grove out back. They, too, are keeping house and reaching out. Red fox, white ash, brook trout, white pine, deer. These spirits of the place, these natural energies, call for reasons not quite clear to me, but their reach means every day is new.