Thursday, December 31, 2015

Winter's Exuberant Song...

Winter, steamy and damp, proceeds unabated, 
even as Christmas moon wanes, 

and we wonder, 
in the warm and wet,
at the creatures wandering about.

Toad is a welcome visitor, 
though unexpected in late December,

and we chill for a while,
ruminating on the warmth and the wet and the weather;

reflecting together by the light of the moon,
before we go our separate ways.

Days pass.
Warm winter days, laden with rain, 
replenishing the ephemeral ponds and dry woodland streams,

yielding then to long December nights,
filled to overflowing with the frogs
and their exuberant song... 

Here's a sampling of last night's chorus...

Sounds a lot like spring,
here at the dawn of a new year in the heart of Carolina.

Thanks to Jay Randolph and our amphibian friends for the lovely recording.
Happy New Year!

Monday, December 7, 2015

December Morn...

Oak leaves clad in frost-fringed scarlet pose in the neighbor's thick fescue as though auditioning for the family Christmas card, on a brisk December morn...

Strangely silent, a solitary mockingbird pauses from its pear-picking,
absorbed in the day's first warm rays,

while northern cardinal, another aspiring star of the greeting card set,
blazes brightly from the nearby brush.

Young sweet gum, reluctant to relinquish its first full complement of well-formed leaves,
bears chilly witness to last night's revelry by little Jack Frost, 
only just departed,

mere minutes ahead of the morning sun, 
now stealing across the pond's still waters, 
relentlessly driving December's chill and damp before it.

Blue is the color of heaven, this bright December morn, 
reflected in the waters,

and framed by the snow-white branches of the mighty riparian sycamores 
and the darker boles of the towering sweet gums, 
bedecked as they are by a bevy of spiny bronze fruit and fuzzy green lichens and
brilliant five-pointed leaf-stars, 
rising high against the blue.

The trees whisper tales of fellow forest dwellers, 
out and about, or safely hidden, 
who can tell?

Few flowers are so indelicate as to flirt with the likes of Jack Frost, 
but this one, at least, 
has done, and lived to tell it! 

Crimson and green, it seems, 
are the colors of choice for the few tenacious leaves still holding fast to their woody stems, 
and lovely, thorny blackberry makes no exception.

Young sandhill crane, majestic flyer from the far, far north,
mysterious stranger,

serenely browsing among the remnants of autumn's corn; 
rare and seldom-seen visitor in these parts, 
casually crossing paths on a chilly and magical December morn.

Taking wing and heading upriver, 
disappearing anon in the distant blue of the heavens,
crane yields its place to a far less graceful flyer,
a furry mammalian forest-dweller,

familiar friend and neighbor, 
gray squirrel. 

Appearing not much bothered by its lack of grace, 
old bushy-tail wastes no time reaching just the intended spot, 
and quickly ducks out of sight.

A magical morning on the water...

Mockingbird, cardinal and crane,
sycamore, walnut and ash,
sweet gum stars and skies impossibly blue;

Shadows of an old truss bridge, ... and you.

Just a few of the wonders of a frosty December morn.