The Fox

Yesterday a fox scampered up the driveway and stopped at the snowbank in front of the house. It twisted its head slightly like a robin listening for worms and suddenly dove headfirst into the bank. It emerged with a mouse in its mouth which it ate in two gulps. For five minutes it kept moving and listening along the bank like a stalker in a Tarkovsky film until it realized its luck had run out and  trotted off.

Dead Fawn

A runt born late in the year who didn’t grow fast enough and died of starvation even though the winter has been relatively mild. It was out grazing with the others yesterday and now it’s dead. Makes me want to quote John Donne or see if it’s not really from a scene in a Renaissance painting.

It is a pietà of sorts, not unlike the ones I’ve seen in Berlin, Rome, and Brugge. One stares at it with a heavy heart and can never forget. It was divine, born of a mother, and died for our sins. A moment that crystallizes into eternity.

Our Last Trip

It had rained during the night and the floor of the tent was darker in color in places where the water had seeped in. You were sleeping, sighing with soft breaths, and I wondered if the world would work without you in it.

Crawling through the flaps of the tent into the early morning light I felt the presence of god, or, at least, had a feeling of peace and contentment that in my mind I associated with god. I had often felt this way on our canoe trips. Here time slowed down to the speed of a canoe paddled across a vast lake, where there were no computers or cell phones, where the ego shrank to a reasonable size and real focus was possible.

Ducks swam in a ragged line near shore. A patch of blueberries covered the lower edge of the campsite near the water. I decided to pick some for pancakes and got an aluminum pot from the large pack containing our food and utensils. The pan was scratched and worn from use. The berries were larger than I expected and, as I picked them, the green-headed Mallards and their brown mates twitched their wings and paddled away. I had beaten them to the blueberries and felt a twinge of regret.

Ode to Rebecca

The waning of the light turns bright, yellow, a steel blue, celebrating the breeze, the water, a shimmering half-life of day, for once intending, ever is, ever does, ever wants to be, the beacon of remembrance that I now embrace.

Lost in thought, I hear your voice on the wind, but cannot hear the words, just the sounds, unable to separate sound from sense, sound from essence, until the slapping of our paddles releases them.

We drift past islands and outcroppings of rocks with gulls, some flying overhead, terning with with sharp, piercing cries. Are you listening? you ask, turning to face me, and, as always, your eyes are dark pools, and reflectively, without preamble or thought, I fall into them.

We are so ordinary, I think, so common, like anyone who has ever lived or will live, except for the intensity of what we feel for one another. It’s like a potpourri of Shakespeare’s sonnets, Romeo and Juliet, fortune cookies, Baci sayings, Wiccan’s spells, every story I’ve written or wanted to write, Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, and Kate Wolf’s singing, a thousand misstatements, misdeeds, lies, and misanthropic Malapropisms, good and not-so-good lovemaking, kids, family, and all the rest, encompassing every absurd cliche ever written about love, but nothing captures the essence of it, or its mystery, nothing.

In the twilight a young moose wades through reeds at the edge of the island, eating as it goes. Like the gulls, it ignores us.

We should head back, you say, it’s getting dark, and your voice carries across the water and disappears into the void.

Ode to John

in the game the Revelator
I watch
as the Word rides a wave
that I must catch
the exact moment it crests
or else
I die
and must try again,

but of course
I never catch the wave
and possess the Word
no matter how hard I try-
I always press the wrong buttons
or my timing is off-
and am doomed to die eternally.