Thick moist heat bathes
The night in crimson,
Drives bears deep
into sphagnum bogs to dream.
Fireflies drift through
Sweet wet grass.
Hidden under leafy branches,
Grey tree frogs trill.
Blood red cardinals whistle love songs,
teach offspring to chirp
sharp staccato rounds
at the threshold of dawn…
Rainbow light filters
through crystals formed by dew…
won’t be missed
by transforming toads,
but the drought may crack
the vernal pool too soon
for lungs to form.
The doe grazes outside my window
under a blistering noon day star.
Chomping down wild rose thorns,
red deer shred supple grape leaves,
nip bee balm for after dinner mint!
Gray foxes feast on treats I leave
beneath heavily perfumed pines.
Grapes, old cranberries, apples,
hunks of fat and bone marrow – perhaps
a carcass entices them in.
When mountains fade under clouds
of thick fog Our Lady ascends,
her nimbus shrouded in pearl-
like mist. One night soon she’ll
sing up the Toad Moon.
A wave of gratitude swells and breaks.
An emerald sea is moving through me.
Water and air create a symphony –
Breath deep and listen!
The Soul of Nature sounds a joyous hum.
I wrote this poem early last July during the terrible drought of 2016 here at my “home” in Maine. I was trying to concentrate on the more positive aspects around the drought which distressed me so deeply. Not hearing the kingfisher’s cries, the shrinking pools, a brook so low I couldn’t hear her soothing sound, the scarcity of toads – I could go on and on here – left me feeling so helpless – so profoundly depressed. When I returned from Abiquiu, New Mexico a week ago after being away for 11 months I was struck by lines of this poem because the weather conditions in Maine had been totally reversed in one year. We arrived and spent the first week under monsoon conditions with almost continuous rain, lovely wet fog rising off the mountains, and extremely cool temperatures for ‘almost’ July. Kingfisher is back and toads and frogs are abundant, breathing in lovely moist air. My skin feels like velvet.
Flowers are bent double under silvery sheets of rain. I still have lemon lilies. My water barrels are full. Whenever rain falls I feel blessed – here or there – because water is life. The thunderstorm last night reminded me of the heavy rains that punctuated most late afternoons last August in Abiquiu while I was still living on the hill…Here a canopy of green shelters the house from the fiery sun even when it breaks through the clouds as it did this morning when I took the pictures that precede last year’s poem. The thick heavy morning air is still…and a young bear is eating wild strawberries.
In New Mexico the relentless heat drones on although yesterday my friend Iren wrote that two tenths of an inch of rain fell in Abiquiu. Any amount counts and I hope those few raindrops are a precursor of a healthy monsoon season to come. I feel a great thirst whenever I think about that beloved high desert, now another “home” place in my heart.
That global warming is a reality is obvious to anyone who pays attention to Nature’s Warning Voice but it doesn’t change how heartbreaking it is to live through these terrible extremes.