Thursday, December 11, 2008

Circular Logic

It's raining somewhere but around here it's snow. What a strange form of water snow is, I just love the way it tries to find a different path for every flake. For days you smell it coming, like the rains in an Arizona desert. I feel it deep in my bones and I'm walking like a sidekick or comic relief. "Hyar I come, Missus, hyar I come, hee hee hee."

There are so many cardinals outside in the bushes and chestnut that it looks like a Technicolor version of The Birds. There's a half dozen males, so bright and black and red like a Russian workers poster. Two dainty females argue over the wooden feeder, ignoring the other empty feeders. The goldfinches don't seem to care about anything but what is in the sock. Looking at the bright red males suddenly diving down into the lowlands I find myself thinking of kids diving off a low cliff into a pond.

Outside the colors are stuck in a small range of shades: tan, white, red, black,green-grey, and gray. The whole world could be described in those few colors. Even the birds, even the birds have abandoned color...except the jays. Bright blue and bold, diving after the seeds on the ground and tossing piles off from the feeders to the snowy ground below. The red squirrel is burning so many calories running around after sunflowers.
 In the middle of it I see Biddie, the silly Rhode Island Red who just has to believe that anything near my house must be better. But if she keeps it up I have to go out and take her home before her feathers freeze. I put up strips of plastic hanging from the top of the hen house door, the chicken door. It's like they have over the doors to freezers and beverage center refrigerators. I just have to teach the girls they can part the strips and walk into the house. Funny, they'll climb into a potting shed or peck a piece of glass but walk through some strips of plastic? That takes some working up to accomplish. They stall at the ramp to the door and start mumbling and groaning. Soon one takes a peck at one of the strips. They she dives in through the opening. Several others follow, but some hang back, waiting, no doubt, for some kind of signal from the first hen that all is okay.

If snow were time,
If time were snow,
Then we'd watch it pile up
Outside our windows
Building up on the arms of the chairs
And making it difficult to walk up stairs,
Time from the past just piling like dust
and we go on piling it up
For we must.
If you stop you get buried
If you run you get wet
If you die on the way there
You might get there yet.
All those years you might have wasted
Are like glaciers in the heights
Growing larger yet by inches
In the water known as ice.

It's a little like being placed in the middle of your parents' bed and then undressed and covered with a knitted shawl your grandmother wore. You would like to watch it all happen but the shawl, for all it's delicacy, is warm and soft and it seems right to sleep.

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