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March in Minnesota

 

It overwhelmed, if for a while

            Snow so thick I can’t see across a street

            Flakes aswirl, enveloping me as I walk

 

Suddenly, sunshine, brilliant, blinding,

            Squirrel and rabbit prints

            Chase each other in the snow

 

The world comes alive again

            Cardinals dart from tree to tree

            Serenading me, sending me forth with hope in my day

 

Hoar frost rimes the trees

            Gold finches flit

            A psalm of their own making

 

Sculpted with whiteness, dotted with colors

            Children playing as penguins

            Making snow mustaches and beards

 

A splash of melting snow.

Copyright (c) Lydia A. Schultz

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Given we just had snow (7 inches) yesterday, I thought I would share a poem that talks about natural wonder.  Although I now live in Minnesota, I find myself often returning to my hometown and Pennsylvania when I write.

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Natural Epiphanies

 

Among the smokestacks, buildings,

pollutants, steel,

of my childhood town

God was an abstraction,

impenetrable.

 

But camping in wild hills

of whitetails and hemlock

I could feel God’s glory.

 

The stretches of wild blackberries and huckleberries,

The shimmering aspen leaves,

The coy May apples under their umbrellas,

The delicate sassafras leaves in their threefold variety,

Black-eyed Susans, lacy Queen Annes,

Grasshoppers dancing ahead while we walked.

 

            The profusion of it all —

 

Racoons seeking refuse

Newts under rotting logs

Groundhogs waddling beside dirt roads

Wild turkeys raising a ruckus in the brush

A bull snake, crushed and broken on the road,

Her eggs exposed for us to see

Spiders in their webs in the corners of outhouses.

 

Here I could imagine a god

using these places as a palette.

 

At my first camp job,

I escaped the children and routine.

           

            My blaze orange poncho glowed,

rain dripped on my glasses.

I moved through an impressionist painting.

            Light trickled through leaves

Wet grasses brushed knees

Brambles grabbed at sleeves

            Low branches swiped at my face.

           

            Until —  suspended in time, rooted in place —

           

            Poised, we stared at each other

            Breathless, that instant captured us

            Knowingly, our eyes shared understanding

 

Then the deer bounded off.       

I was alone, connected.

 

Now, deceptive stillness

fills the urban yard.

Snow covers brush piles

Pine branches fill with snow

Oak limbs create abstract patterns

of hoar frost in the sky.

 

            But life spills out with of a shimmer of sun.

            Chickadees, feathers puffed for warmth

            Squirrels, scavenging acorns

            Blue jays, on alert

            A grey rabbit, peeking through shrubs

            A cardinal, singing flamboyantly

            Snow-suited children, exploding with energy.

 

Here too, amid the trees,

I seek the ineffable —

on my face, I feel the wind

bringing me

to what is.

 

Copyright (c) Lydia A. Schultz

Posted in honor of Tu B’Shevat, the Jewish equivalent of Arbor Day.

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Tensions

A sky of emotions
A stormy week
Water in the basement
Power out
Tornado warnings

All seem calm
Compared to my feelings.
Is this crisis my official midlife one?
I do want a sports car
yellow, please
without room for car seats
or groceries
I think of coloring my hair.
Diseases seem more imminent
and deadly.
I’ve added the obituaries
to my daily newspaper fare.
I don’t read them all
Just the ones that sound familiar
Or seem too young.
(That could be someone I knew.
My friends and I are that age.)

The bunny hops by.
The kindergarten girl up the street
Has dubbed it “Fu-Fu.”
It eats the flowers
That the neighbor next door so diligently plants.
Me–I only want trees–
here before me,
likely to outsurvive me.
Flowers are joyous–
But I plant trees.
Maybe that’s my hedged bet with aging.
Flowers are too ephemeral.
Trees,
Long-lived and limbed and lovely,
that make me appreciate
that I am merely another element
of the world in which I live.
Birds, squirrels, rabbits, insects, and me-
We co-exist,
eyes alert, noses twitching,
ready to bolt if someone invades our territory
or behaves at all suspiciously.
But even we can be deceived
By coy, slow, stealthy ones,
The neighbor’s cat that tiptoes into the shrub
Waiting for the hapless fledgling
to lose its guard.

So I watch for that creeping old age.
wary
seeking the island of calm
within the storm.

Copyright (c) Lydia A. Schultz