In Search of a Cage

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cherryjubilee

 

dovelight

 

It took only a moment to decide.

As happens every day, as she sang to me, her arm reached past my perch through the open cage door, to pour fresh water in my bowl.   Just beyond her, overhead near the barn, were clusters of glistening red cherries bouncing in invitation in the morning breeze.

So I heeded, flapping clumsily over her arm as she spilled the water, her mouth an “O”.

I escaped my cage, my first time flying more than a few feet, awkward and careening.  I made it to a high branch and grabbed hold tightly, staring down at her asking me to come back.   Instead I listened to the cherries next to me, their sweet song of red juice pouring over the sides of my beak.

Cherry jubilee.

I ate more than my fill of freedom.

When the breeze picked up in the darkening hours, I missed the comfort of my indoor loft nest lined with cedar shavings and horse hair, with snug walls where I have spent many wintry nights, and soft summer twilights.   My mournful evening anthem was hushed by the wing swoop overhead of a clicking owl, anxious for dinner. I listened to the chorus of coyotes nearby and tucked my head in fear, with no wire enclosure to protect me. I fell silent, barely sleeping.

At dawn, she found me picking at cat food in the dish near the back porch, with an ancient feline crouched a few feet away, tail twitching, ready for instant breakfast.  I fluttered off, returning to relative safety of the orchard treetops, alert for hawks.   For two days I explored the trees surrounding my little home, its door still open as a standing invitation.  She filled my water bowl and brought my seeds just as she always did, singing.  I listened carefully to the familiar tune, twisting my neck one way and then another to hear her better.

The cherry song no longer seemed as sweet.

The next morning, she found me in my little nest inside my dove house, the door still wide open.  She filled my bowl with fresh water and brought me new seeds, closed the door, latching it snug and safe.

The cherries still beckoned but not to me.

Today, joyful at dawn, I woke her with my mourning song.

 

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Wet Trembling June

graze

 

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eveninghilllight

 

Green was the silence, wet was the light
the month of June trembled like a butterfly
~Pablo Neruda from “Sonnet XL”

 

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We are now four days into summer but aside from the date on the calendar, it would be difficult to prove otherwise.  After a dry stretch of warm late spring weather, it is now unseasonably cool, the skies stony gray, the rivers running full and fast, the ground peppered with puddles. Rain fell hard last night, hiding behind the cover of darkness as if ashamed of itself.   As it should be.

What all this moisture will yield is acres and acres of towering grass growth, more grass than imaginable, more grass than we can keep mowed,  burying the horses up to their backs as they dive head long into the pasture.  The Haflingers don’t need to lower their necks to graze,  choosing instead to simply strip off the ripe tops of the grasses as they forge paths through five foot forage.   It is like children at a birthday party swiping the frosting off cupcake after cupcake, licking their fingers as they go.  Instead of icing, the horses’ muzzles are smeared with dandelion fluff,  grass seed and buttercup petals.

In the northwest, June can tend to shroud its promise of longer days under clouds.  Outdoor weddings brace for rain and wind with a supply of umbrellas, graduation potlucks are served in the garage and Fourth of July picnics stay safely under cover.  There is a wary anticipation of solstice as it signals the slow inexorable return of darkness from which we have not yet fully recovered.

So I tremble as I too splash through the squishiness of late June,  quivering like a wet butterfly emerging from its cocoon ready to unfurl its wings to dry, but unsure how to fly and uncertain of the new world that awaits.  In fact the dark empty cocoon can look mighty inviting on a rainy June night or during a loud mid-day thunderstorm.   If I could manage to squeeze myself back in, it might be worth a try.

After all, there is no place like home.

 

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A Sweet Abandon

cherrybounty

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royalanne2

 

A stone’s throw from an abandoned homestead foundation leans
an ancient cherry tree, bent by countless storms,
its northern half bare,
from the southern half
dangles clusters of sweet century old promises.

Once orchard lifeblood of this farm,
its fruit picked for farmers’ market
an early dawn hour’s wagon ride to town;
now broken down, forgotten
until this week of fruitful surrender.

Already, but not yet finished,
roots still reaching deep for one more season;
a faithful cycle blooming forth
with budding life from gnarled knots
to yield glorious from weary dying branches.

Hundreds of glistening amber globes of rosy sheen
cling clustered on crooked lichened limbs,
to be gathered up heaping into bowls of gold,
awaiting ecstatic burst of savored perfection,
fulfilling an old promise of sweet abandon.

 

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royalanne

A Delicious Day

 

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taylordock

I’m glad I am alive, to see and feel
The full deliciousness of this bright day,
That’s like a heart with nothing to conceal;
The young leaves scarcely trembling; the blue-grey
Rimming the cloudless ether far away;
Brairds, hedges, shadows; mountains that reveal
Soft sapphire; this great floor of polished steel
Spread out amidst the landmarks of the bay.
~William Allingham from “On a Forenoon of Spring”

 

Spring is wrapping itself up
in blue skies and cotton candy dawns,
rows of crop sprouts
dots of fruit among fresh leaves.
There is hope renewed here in water and landscape,
a foretaste of heaven.

 

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Each Round Drop

photo by Josh Scholten

And when the Sun comes out,
After this Rain shall stop,
A wondrous Light will fill
Each dark, round drop…

William Henry Davies from “The Rain

I don’t ever remember mud in July, only dust.

The sun is finally predicted to come out from behind the clouds tomorrow and stay for awhile.  Until then we continue to see copious bleak tears spilling unchecked from a shrouded heaven.  Wet cracking cherries have hung unripe for a week, untouched even by the birds who know to wait for a sweeter day.

Nothing now illuminates these perfect round spheres as they roll off leaves and petals to huddle puddled together in community on the ground.  The wait for Light is long.

It will come sooner than I can imagine, that moment of seeing a glistening crystalline reflection of the universe in a droplet, when Light returns undimmed, its taste ambrosial.

Abandon

RoyalAnn

A few yards from the old homestead foundation of
Partially buried cement chunks covered with sod;
An ancient cherry tree leans to the south,
Its northern half bare, the other half
Bearing century old promises.

Once orchard lifeblood of this farm
Its fruit picked for farmers’ market
An early dawn hour’s wagon ride to town;
Now breaking down, forgotten
Until this week of fruitful surrender.

Almost finished, but not quite,
Rooted deep for one more season;
Faithful cycle blooming forth
With budding life from gnarled knots
Yielding glorious from ancient branches.

Glistening amber globes with rosy sheen
Cling clustered on crooked lichened limbs
Gathered heaping in bowls of gold,
Ecstatic burst of savored perfection,
Fulfilling a promise of sweet abandon.