Night’s Benison

 

photoNight into Day
In the sinking stillness of the evening,
After birds have ceased to flit and call,
Silence comes to rest as day is leaving
And dark draws down the shade where night will fall;
The smallest breath of wind stirs from its sleeping,
For after dusk another world takes flight,
A world with gleaming secrets in its keeping
That give the constellations dazzling light,
Fill up the moon with shining opalescence,
Fill up the heart with dreaming of the day
And how its powers overcome senescence
When sun returns to chase the night away.photo

It’s Early Yet

graphite line drawingBeing an inveterate late riser, and a crabby one when forced to get up before I’m ready, no matter what the hour, I am flummoxed for the most part by those who tout the glories of the break of day. I say, for the most part, because even I have been known to admire the sunrise, and even in my worst and most heel-dragging, snarling moments can see how incredibly pretty and magical the beginning of the day can be. In fact, I can outright admire and relish the whole thing if I know I get to watch the show and go instantly to bed again until I’ve had my requisite number of hours abed.

I’ve a fairly wide variety of reasons for not having children, too, not least among them my aforementioned monstrosity in the beginnings of the day, a time when babies and young persons of all persuasions and personalities are apt to be chirping and squealing adorably and performing all manner of gymnastics and, just possibly, noisy and/or noisome bodily functions that would demand kind attentions from me. I am not that nice at the best of times, never mind any time before I’m willing to rise up and be Awake. You can imagine how the very prospect of pregnancy and its sleep disruptions, and those only leading precipitously to years more of the other sort, would seem to me, most particularly as I was already sliding off the back five of my fourth decade of life by the time I got married and thus would have had any hope of an ongoing partner in the proceedings.

You must know, however, that I think children are a very fine invention and well worth the trouble, and also that I have nothing but the greatest admiration for that mystical marvel that occurs when the tiniest edge of the sun peers over the horizon and then in seeming seconds is blazing up the morning sky. It’s just that I am content to leave all of the heavy lifting in those categories to finer beings for as long as I can. My siblings and other relatives and friends have gifted me with an abundance of outstandingly beautiful, brilliant and engaging children to admire, cuddle, tease, flirt with, trade tall tales with or about, and otherwise delight in before handing them back to their parents just in time for any less scintillating activities to be addressed more expertly and semi-willingly than I would do. And dawn, well–that will likely become part of my repertoire when I hit that Certain Age incapable of sleeping massive amounts any longer, but until then, it belongs to others, except in my imaginings or when I am dragged out of repose by duty or airport hours or some other sort of the unavoidably morning-oriented difficulties life presents.

So I am quite content to enjoy a made-up version of sunrise, even making a picture of it with a very slightly baby-shaped mother-to-be washed in its dainty light as she lingers in some little secret garden. I am not designed either for motherhood or for getting up at the first whisper of dawn, but that needn’t prevent my admiring them both from a safe distance. I can assume my odds of conceiving a child at this advanced age have shrunk to a manageable nothingness by now, and I will count on the passage of my hours, days and years to prepare me for that unthinkable morning when I might willingly resurrect my carcass from the pleasant dead-of-bed state before daybreak. Meanwhile, my fancies are large enough to amuse and amaze me, and I thank the rest of you who have so kindly practiced and reported on either of the foregoing astonishing activities and reported back to me for my edification and vicarious enjoyment. I may get back to you with my own first-daylight infatuations someday, but it’s early for that yet.digital illustration

Dusk to Dawn

digital illustrationCoal & Diamonds

Strangely enough, the bond of sleep, that weight of Lethe sitting on my soul,

Reminds me constantly to keep from letting diamond days turn back to coal,

For stillness rejuvenates bone and blood and sinew strong enough to bring me on,

And sleep is a portal through which a flood of musings sweep me forward to the dawn,

So rest is essential, and there I lie, seeming immobile while I dance at speed,

Or mounting on magical wings to the sky, to soar as sweetly high as I should need

To see in sleep, in my mind’s eye, new ways to spring from dark to day’s desire,

To find in the darkness of night what I love most amid the constellations’ fire

And planets and comets’ tails’ dross and stone what I can reinvent as suns for day,

My own coal-diamonds, blood and bone and sinew turned to chasing night away.digital illustration

Passages of Time

photo montageJeunesse et Tristesse

We two, when we were very small,

Walked hand in hand down avenues

Studded with poplars and long views

Of granite pavement, pale and tall

Sun-sprinkled shops, apartments set

Above them on whose balconies

Perched men like birds among the trees,

Eyeing our youth with vague regret—photo montageHow could we know, young as we were,

The brevity of these our strolls,

How every hour more swiftly tolls

Than the preceding? To be sure,

The marvel of our living lies

In sensing little of the thought

That what short summertime we’ve got

Measures in spans like butterflies’,photo montageAnd realizing late in age

On balconies, as children pass,

Our tenure’s brief as leaves, as grass,

As words washed from the novel’s page

By tears dropped silently, this truth

Too hard to tell to little ones

Passing in hand-held joy, the sun’s

Brief rays alighting on their youth.photo montage

Seasonal Happiness

photoFarm Land

Few things can match the beauty of

Black soil that’s newly tilled

And redolent of things to come

As soon as March’s chilled

Cold heart has given up his hold

And April’s warmth begun

To set the life-renewing pulse

Of earth under her sun.photo montage

The Green Man is on the Move

digital artwork from a drawingThough he may well have sprung from the roots of ancient earthbound deities, the Green Man remains alive and well and, at this season, inhabits garden and woodland alike, filling sun and shadow with his mischievous magicks. And this presence is a very welcome thing indeed. Few things can compare with the appearance of those tender sprouts, however miniscule and vulnerable, that bring new signs of life to the winter’s loamy floor, unfurl their banners on the tiniest twig of the smallest shrub. The mere sight of one small tip of leaf can bring an upsurge of life to the dormant veins of even a hardened person who’s waited through the dark and chill for newness to arrive.

Did the long freeze of January kill that little sapling that I found? No, here’s the faint, alluring swelling of a bud, the blushing edge of a leaflet, soon to open wide in exuberant yellow-green shouts of Spring. Has the ice of the short days and long, long nights wholly buried and killed my favorite herb, both branch and root? No, I see a hairline stripe of promising verdure in the bony bark of its woody little stem. Life is a bold, determined act, and with its brazen call brings out the denizens of Earth, first the bud and then the bloom, one small broken seed shooting out a multitude of growing things at the conjuring wave of the Green Man’s hand. Like him, I cannot help but grin when the world begins again to wake in leafy laughter.

Will the Blooms Return?

I’m thinking about flowers. [I’m not talking about my cousin’s family, though they’d be a welcome sight in this part of the world as much as any!] Perhaps it’s because, here in Texas, signs of sprouting, budding and even outright blooms are beginning to show all around us: the flowering pear trees are starting to burst like giant batches of popcorn, my infant fringeflower is sporting a deep fuchsia-colored tassel or two, and even the local redbud trees are bravely showing off glimpses of their own hot pinks and purples. It may also be that the influence of a few days spent recently on seasonal cleaning and prep in our yard brings, along with the seasonal sneezing and watering of the old eye-bulbs, the welcome scent of earth and sightings of green specks that seem to increase in size while I watch, reminds me of spring and summers past and favorite blossoms I eagerly await on their return. The recent speedy trip to San Antonio, just enough farther south from us to be a week or two ahead in the race to renew its flora, certainly enhanced my longing for the sight of flowers while it was giving me its own preview. And of course, there’s simply the persistent infatuation with all-things-growing that grips me year-round that might be one of the main instigators of this present hope.

No matter what the cause, my heart is yearning for floral happiness these days.Blog.02-28-2013.1

Too Early to be Called Springtime

Leaning back into the shade

Next to a mirror foxed with age but

Gleaming still with that low glint,

Mercurial, that holds onto its ghosts—those

Pale vapors that have passed

Through the pavilion and its garden greens,

Have dreamed while leaning in

This selfsame shade

Of fading memory and of

Incipient bloom, in this

Just-waking secret garden—

Here I will stay at rest, a shade myself

In the pale green gloaming

photo

Yes, the redbuds are arriving, bees and all; I’m not the only one humming with happiness.

Wide Skies

photoIt’s early in the year. I’ve had my little first cold of the year immediately after New Year’s Day, enjoyed getting reacquainted with my innards with the help of a quick annual doctor visit and subsequent updates on my coronary calcium (still no sign of same, thank you very much), allergy testing (finally going to deal with longtime mild but annoying symptoms) and crossed another handful of tasks off my eternal household to-do lists. But as we’re still in the first month of the year, that leaves a whole lot of things yet to be done, things yet to even be imagined.photoAnd I like that, rather. There’s something compelling about looking up at sun, moon and stars without being able to read in them any threat or promise more concrete than my own fantasies, knowing that I might well find great adventures ahead, because that’s simply how my life plays out thus far. The unknown, while it has the potential to be prickly and problematic in any number of ways, also has the possibility of being as wide open and beautiful and thrilling as the bright wide sky.photo

Naturally

Along with all of the other, perfectly legitimate and obvious, reasons that I celebrate every year when I am remembering the arrival of my next-younger sister on her birthday–the first one remembered mostly anecdotally given my tender years on the occasion, and all of the subsequent ones fitting days for delighting in the gifts with which her continued presence graces me and all of her circle of influence so consistently–I rejoice in the greater sense of appreciation for nature that she has given me.photoShe is something of a bouquet herself. Indeed, she is beautiful in the way of pretty things throughout nature, and also filled with liveliness and energy and purpose and growth that inspire me and amaze me regularly. I look on her as an enhancement of the world a little like a human bloom in its garden, unfolding each day and year with new surprises and joys that reinforce the very image of goodness in life.photoIn a more concrete way, with her love of the outdoors and its grand presents, pleasures and promises she has taught me and continues to teach me to appreciate the natural world as well. As much as our garden-genie mother shared her love of interacting with the created spaces in nature and even getting outdoors appreciatively on day hikes, in parks and on strolls wherever we could, the number-three sister in our quartet has given me yet greater love and sympathy for the breadth and depth of possibility in all those realms of nature and more. I will never keep up with my sister’s skill and prowess when it comes to being physically ‘outdoorsy’ as athlete, gardener or explorer, but every time I step out any door into the untrammeled world, I do and will see much of it as a living bouquet paying tribute in return to one of nature’s loveliest flowers.photoHappy birthday, my dear sister, and I send you these little pictures and words in token of my love that spans from your first blooming in the world to the end of my seasons.

Aria

graphite drawingLa Chanteuse

This melody that lilts, lifts us to light

Like incense rising, or like hope aloft,

Like spring’s sweet perfume and like down-soft

New blooms, the lovely song eclipses night–

Brings sun and starlight and a shining flame

To paint the darkness into blazing day,

To chase all sorrow and all gloom away

Or give them luster as the marks of Fame–

The singing sinuous and smooth as glass,

As stillest water or a spotless sky,

And yet the singer never stops to sigh

Except when breathing lets a moment pass–

Because the music brings such passion, clear

Expressive, infinite and full of grace,

Poured out in rivulets and with a trace

Of magic only those with love can hear–

One aria can change the flow of time

And raise us all from simple to sublimegraphite drawing