Saturday, April 29, 2006

Specters on the River

This is how the river looked this morning at about 6:45 AM before the sun came up over the hill. Of course it's best in person, but I can't help but try to share some of the magic the river brings to us. The correct name for this particular river is the South Fork Rivanna River. Some people don't think it's a river any more because in the 1950's a dam was built to create a drinking water supply for the city of Charlottesville. In that creation, the little mill town of Hydraulic was flooded and now lies under the water. But the river does still flow, just like other rivers, except in times of draught when it's lower than the level of the dam. Still, I call it the river, when others refer to it as the reservoir. The other thing that is a bit odd to me is that the subdivision where I live is called River's End. Well I don't believe that rivers end, so in one of my very rare stubborn moments I wrote the following:

River’s End
in response to the naming of this place where I live

Beyond this curve of river
a mammoth dam was built
to bring to town some water
for local folks to drink

There once were fields
and meadows
where now we float and fish
corn and wheat
were ground there
beneath my bobbin’s drift

The river is now wider
than it was before
pipes transport her bounty
to people on the shore

Birds and fish continue
as does the water’s flow
the river doesn’t end here
it merely starts to slow


This is what the river looked like an hour later when the air started warming. The specters grew larger and must have seemed more threatening. Molly and Sam and all the other dogs in the neighborhood barked until they went away.

Friday, April 28, 2006

The Hummingbirds are back


A battered hummingbird rests
in the cup of my hand
ruby throat green wings
tremble in fading light

The guilty calico
winds her way round
my legs mewing
the treasure swiped
from thin air as she hid
among geraniums

I wish to bring back this tiny jewel
watch in wonder as it darts
from bloom to bloom
sipping floral nectar
listen to the whirr
of wings as I fill bottles
with sugar syrup

At night I dream of sirens
flames flashes of blue
red reflecting on the river
moon stars tumble
toward dawn hummingbirds
by the hundreds
beckon my spirit away


The hummingbirds have returned along with an endless list of other birds who nest nearby. I argue with myself about putting the feeders out again this year. My two latest rescues salivate and tremble as they watch from the window. Little Lilliput, not so little anymore, goes outside now, brings gifts of deceased voles and once a still fluttering male goldfinch. All I can do is turn my back and walk away, trying to send thoughts to her that these are not gifts in my eyes. If I try to keep her in she bounces off the walls, goes about knocking things off tables and shelves to show her dissaproval. Now Peppermint joins her for brief outings. I'm carefully trying to place all the feeders in open places where the cats cannot hide beneath them. And when I see one of the offenders slinking toward a ground feeding bird, I bang on the window or run outside shouting profanities at the startled cats, who then quietly slink away, mumbling about my trying to play God again.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

A Day Comes

A Day Comes

A day comes
when the mouth grows tired
of saying "I."

Yet it is occupied
still by a self which must speak.
Which still desires,
is curious.
Which believes it also has a right.

What to do?
The tongue consults with the teeth
it knows it will survive
both mouth and self,

which grin-it is their natural pose-
and say nothing.

Jane Hirshfield

I just found this poem in the spring issue of Inquiring Mind, a Buddhist journal I get twice a year, and find it exactly the piece I need to begin this new journey.

It seems that every few years I reinvent myself. I think this started in my childhood when as a architect/homebuilder's daughter I moved every few years out of one of many houses my father built on speculation into another he had started but hadn't quite finished. It seems that as soon as the "new" house was done he'd sell it and on we'd move in to the next one. In my 6th grade year I attended 4 different schools. As a result I became good at becoming whomever it was I had to be in order to make it in my new school and neighborhood.

Throughout my adulthood I've found myself restless at times, ready to take on new challenges, feeling done with whatever it was I was doing at the time and beginning something new. Here I am, in my 64th year and something is once again nibbling at me.

Starting a blog is something I never dreamed of. Blog? What's that? Then one day a friend started one and from then on I'd hear about this blog or that blog and how they were reading the climate of the country's population or influencing an upcoming election. I've been thinking about blogs for a while now, visiting them once in a while. This past weekend a chance meeting with a lovely young woman in Washington, DC who has a wonderful blog of her own inspired me to take my first step. You can visit her blog at

To speak or not to speak, that is the question. There are times when I have something to say. There are times when I don't. I think of this blog as place where I can speak ... express myself in any way that I choose whether it be through a poem, an image or a quotation that inspires me. The point for me is to see what I have to say and to watch where this new pathway will lead me. If you choose to watch with me I welcome you and if you don't that's fine too.