to bring more light

sheepish i say to my students
about zooming rather than driving to town
to meet in person for an hour
on the slippery but not super blizzardy snow
i also call myself den mother

each shovelful of snow so light
like the kind that falls in movies
i shuffle my feet around in the fluff

honna and i rejoicing about the sun
that came out this morning
from our hundred and twenty some miles apart
my sun only lasted for an hour or so
but i’m hoping hers stayed out all day

eating homemade pizza
and roasted brussels sprouts
i show juniper my
making-a-channel-with-a-match trick
on the beeswax candle
to allow the wax to drip
in order to bring more light



after all the compaction

how we crunchcrunchcrunch
walk our way off road
up the glaze-topped snowcovered hill
to get tall enough to see
the horizon
while the sunset smudges sky
with shifting shades of hot pink

epic i say after we finish reading aloud to each other
the final sentence
of the final paragraph
of the final chapter
of the final book in the series
of harry potter
and how i read slowly through the tears
of the several chapters before that
to make it through
the neighbor in his truck
giving the hill out of the trailer park a second try
after slipping back down
on the ice that the gravel road
always becomes after all the compaction
that comes from aggressive plowing
wisconsin: the place that makes you say into the phone
when you’re leaving a message for your friend
on your early walk
not too cold this morning –
somewhere between 20 and 30 degrees
wisconsin: a place that makes you
leave a faucet dripping overnight
when the pipes could freeze because
the temperatures will be dipping
into the single digits


the rough glaze on the snow’s surface
from the drizzly snowy precipitation
forming a thin crust
the jerking feeling of my feet breaking through
the surface and the loud crunch crunch sound
under my feet
punctuating each step of my walk

i’m deep in a dark cave corinne says
not that she’s in a terrible place
but just that some of us respond
by going inwards

i turn johnifer the conifer’s
tiniest string of bright lights on
in the morning
to bring little gems of color
to juniper on a morning of responding
which was supposed to be a morning of rest

story of the icy solstice

the round ripples from snowmelt
dripping off bridge-edge
into the wide and slow section
of creek below us
sun almost out but not

my snowbooted feet seeking
the parts of the road whose snow is
not yet compacted by tire tracks
in order to keep from slipping
how even now
i can see in how apple moves her wrist
the story of the icy solstice night she broke it –
how she in intense pain
asked me to put her ponytail/s in
while we waited near karma’s door
for intrepid kurt to appear
in the intrepid big truck

how the four of us laugh at our screens
when it comes time to talk about the
babe the blue ox suit

the paw print impressions
that lisi leaves in the new snow
at the end of his pink leash
on our morning walk

hi-fiving the cedars

we walked the sun out i say to shawn
who’s at the front of the trail with me
while the gaggle of students moves forward
in clumps behind us

how i hi-five the cedar branches
that hang over the trail as we pass
erik without caution
stepping out onto the ice-covered lake
on these warming days
with a leap and pounce
emotional support owl
juniper says
about smidge, the finger puppet owl,
that snugs up around my neck
when i can’t read the part aloud
about choosing to hand dig the grave
for a beloved house elf, a free elf

another flyover

the first sound i hear
upon walking out the door
at 7:50ish in the morning
is eagle
calling in flight
against a mostly gray but lightening sky
and how the eagle returns for another flyover
while i stand in the snow in the garden
and how another (or the same) eagle
swoops overhead
as i descend green acres road
towards the creek
in grey poupon

the light sprinkle sound of snow
that falls in little light pellets
while juniper and i
crunch around on the old snow on the hill
with lisl cat who talks at trees
before he climbs them
the sound of grey kitty returning to the screen door
again and again
battering at it to get in
while the snow drizzles down out there
that bang bang bang
of the aluminum frame
is the sound of heartbreak
and i hope
his people
let him in tonight

at the end of the day

From today’s New York Times:

Finally, just before Mr. Pence headed to the Capitol to oversee the electoral vote count last Wednesday, Mr. Trump called the vice president’s residence to push one last time.“You can either go down in history as a patriot,” Mr. Trump told him, according to two people briefed on the conversation, “or you can go down in history as a pussy.”

2. The sighting in Florida this week of a manatee with “Trump” in block letters on its back has prompted an investigation and a plea for help from a nonprofit conservation group.
It was not immediately clear what was done to the manatee. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said that the manatee did not appear to be seriously injured “as it seems the word was written in algae on the animal’s back.” The Center for Biological Diversity initially described the writing as having been “carved” into the manatee’s back and said it appeared to have caused “serious scarring.”

3. etc.

and these are just a few of the things
that prompt juniper to ask me
at the end of the day
if my heart is ok
to which i respond with something like a
meh or hrrrrmph

the blue of the snowshadows

on our four mile loop
into the wind and further into the wind
and then out of the wind and then wind at our backs
and then sidewaysish into the wind again
we replay/re-act the funny joke
of one of us being so excited it’s spring
(it’s not, but it is 15 degrees warmer than it has been)
that one of us exclaims it’s SPRING
while punching our hands out sideways
in an expression of excitement
while unknowingly/accidentally/comically
punching the other
clear across the road into the snowbank
i am grateful i say
for others writing about recent events
(a capitol overtaken by armed angry white supremacist men)
offering context, framing, saying how they see things
because it helps me
not that it helps me make sense of it
nothing can help me do that

simple foods juniper says
as i place the rice, the green beans,
the cooked beans and the squash soup
into my bowl
the blue of the snowshadows
how we both love that

to tend

the great return of gray kitty
and though he has no visible scabs
he has a new wicked limp and tentative walk
and i want to ask him where it hurts
and what he needs
but the best i can do is
pet him gently
speak with a sweet tenderness
do a little rogue reiki
and leave some crunchies on ground level
instead of up on the railing where he usually snacks
how it lodges an ache in my chest
to not be able to tend to him
as if he were in my care
(definite ethics question tangled in there:
it’s not abuse as far as i know
and not acute neglect but
were i in his charge
i would have already called the vet)

good game

while winding through the hubbard hills woods
on paths that have been carved through the snow
by fat bike tires, boots and snowshoes
we shake dried flower stalks, prairie grass seed heads, branch tips
like one shakes hands with another human,
and say “why hello,” “nice to meet you,” “con mucho gusto,” “peace be with you”
to plant after plant after plant
and after that, we hi-five and good game the tree trunks
that we can reach out and touch from the trail
the drops of blood on the porch
not many, but enough to notice
and wonder if it’s paint or…
how there are many droplets up on the railing
where we put the dish out for gray kitty when he comes around
unsure of the story but
pretty sure it is cat blood and i can’t help but worry
for any one of the neighbor cats and
i beam out a golden light of warmth
and healing
the second round we add to our check ins
during the brontosauri writers zoom group
because of all the other stuff we forgot to name
in light of, oh, you know, just a group of
armed white supremacists
forcing entry into the capital to
disrupt/destroy the electoral vote-counting process