I drew this elaborate poster for a little competition in my town, but it didn’t win. On the plus side, now I can share it here! You can click on it to view it larger. It is 18 x 24 inches.
I was looking for a potential cover photo for a journal that I am submitting a manuscript to, and I stumbled on this beauty from last summer. Pretty nice, eh?
Doesn’t it make you salivate for summer? Right now, I’m just excited for SPRING! The air is starting to get that smell. Temperatures are starting to get above freezing. The snow is starting to melt. The ground is starting to thaw.
Or, in other words, as the cardinal says, SPRING SOON!!!
PS. If you want to vote, here are the three photos I am trying to decide between for submission. I’d love your opinion!
It’s been a while since I posted a poem, so here’s one from Ronin Waters about missing Summer in the dead of Winter.
I love your long green hair
and your brown thighs
The way I blush and darken
when you kiss me.
I love your sultry nights
and warm sighs
against my neck
And the stars in your eyes.
I love your sudden storms
Your lightning and thunder
I love dancing in your rain
Warm rivulets on my skin.
I love your light
The way you linger
The smells of you
Or fresh and green
Or dark as dirt.
Everything is alive in you
Vicious, passionate, wonderful
Everything is gold in you
hot and somehow wild.
Everything is ancient
And everything is new.
And now this old man
Is panting at my window
fogging up the glass
With his rattling breath.
Raking at my skin with his claws
His teeth chattering in his jaws
Howling in the panes
Shaking the leaves from the trees.
Where is your light?
Where is your warmth?
Don’t leave me to this old man
Don’t betray me to his knobby fingers
And brittle laugh.
When you return with your giggles
When you run your fingers through my hair again
And kiss me til I smile.
I’ll forget how you left me for lost
Your fickle nature.
Your blinding beauty.
Come back summer I didn’t mean what I said!
August rushes by like desert rainfall,
a flood of frenzied upheaval, expected,
but still catching me unprepared.
Like a match flame bursting on the scene,
heat and haze of crimson sunsets.
Like a dream of moon and dark barely recalled,
a moment, shadows caught in a blink.
Like a quick kiss; one wishes for more
but it suddenly turns to leave,
dragging summer away.
- Elizabeth Maua
I love, love, love Mary Oliver as a poet. I think she might be my favourite. I think this might be my favourite poem. I wonder why?
The Summer Day
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
- Mary Oliver
It was late June. I had been working all day in the sultry summer heat of a wetland restoration area in central Virginia, wading through shoulder high grasses. I had checked endless numbers of tree tubes, recorded deer damage and germination success on each and every one.
In other words, it was prime tick season in prime tick habitat.
Trudging wearily back to my beat-up field vehicle at the end of the day, I knew I should do a tick check…but I was too tired. I longed to head for home, where I could peel off my sweat soaked clothes, take an ice cold shower, and wash the dead insects out of my hair.
Some days are like that, particularly days that involve wetland restoration areas and germination surveys.
So, instead of checking for ticks, I slumped behind the wheel, put it in gear, and drove onto the motorway.
It wasn’t long before I felt something crawling along the sensitive hairs at the nape of my neck. I cringed, reached up, and plucked it off. Yep, a tick. I rolled down the window and let her fly off at 100 kph (~60mph). A tick has probably never moved so fast.
Then I made the mistake of looking down at myself…there were eight ticks in plain view, crawling about on my field clothes.
I must have been quite the sight, weaving down the highway at 100 kph, flinging tiny black specks out the window. Eventually, I decided that this was hazardous behaviour, so I screeched to a halt in a skeezy petrol station, leapt from the vehicle, pulled off my shirt, and frantically flung ticks in all directions.
After I had calmed a bit, I looked up and realised that there was a gang of dangerous looking Mexican guys, leaning up against an old Ford pick-up, smoking cigarillos, and watching me through squinty eyes. I jumped, flicked one more tick off the driver’s seat of my car, dove back behind the wheel, and peeled off, not bothering with my stinky shirt.
Despite all my efforts, I was still picking off ticks at every stoplight on the way home, albeit at a less frenzied rate.
I don’t know how many I found during that frenetic drive, but when I got home I bundled up all of my clothing and put it in the machine to wash, took an icy shower, checked myself carefully one last time, and went to bed.
Well, you can imagine how I felt when I woke at 2 am to a tick crawling across my eyebrow.
This is pretty perfect.
So much I’ve forgotten
the close insects
the shoot—the drip—
the spray of the sprinkler
the heat of the Sun
the flush of your face
the high noon
the high grass
the patio ice cubes
the buzz of them—
the weeds—the dear
like alien life forms—
all Dr. Suessy and odd—
here we go again¬—
we are turning around
again—this will all
happen over again—
and again—it will—
- Tim Nolan