leaf and wind

nestled as is my dwelling place
into the base of a northeastern facing hill
and hills all around
excepting a small north northeast area
where the road rounds a curve and disappears
it is not often windblow reaches here
as the tree canopies on the ridge across the road
to the north are mane tossed
and bone creaked
and yet I look up
to this mad dancing
listen to this primal melody
from a place of stillness

high overhead though
where my trees top out
above the ridge lines that protect me
here on the ground
wind finds and has its way
combing through the tree manes
sending dead twig and limb tangles
to the ground
to be harvested for wood stove tinder

then come the autumnal breezes
to snuff out the candlelight glow of turned foliage
as leaf by leaf all loosen to cavort in twist and turn
and flutter before they come to rest
limbs are bared

and the setting sun strikes the high trees
the leaves transform to fluttering crystal



just as everything
in every femtosecond
is different:
because the only constant in the cosmos
is change
there are certain recurrences over
longer timespans

recently here
there was

the flight of the thrashers

a murmuration of starlings
making an annual fly-through
of the black walnut trees
pecking at the nuts in the canopy
for starling gold – the black walnut husk maggot
and as they peck a major nutfall occurs

this year they came three days
somewhere between 200 and 300 strong
flitting from tree top to tree top
sending a rash of nuts to the ground

I liken it to a hailstorm of golf ball sized hail

there are over 60 black walnut trees
on the three acres of lawn around the house
as well as burr oaks, American elms and box elders
the latter foregrounding this view of the lawn and road east

and road facing west

most of the deciduous forests hereabouts
are a mix mainly of black walnuts and burr oaks

another recurrency here
is my annual harvesting and cleaning of walnuts
a messy hand staining job

but which yields a large wicker laundry basket
full of scrumptiousness

and yet another is the sound of walnuts hitting the roof
as they fall from a tree whose trunk is about three feet from the house

when I am inside and the starlings fly over
I know immediately because the rate of loud PLONKS
as the nuts hit the roof increases dramatically

and yet another recurrency:
the firing up of the woodstove
on frosty mornings . . .

first frost

a natural satisfaction this morning:
that this first full day of fall
should arrive on the crystalline tiptoes of frost

most of my garden veggie plants
hang limp and frost burned
(excepting the recently sown fall salad green crop)
my herb garden
nestled next to the house
survives nasturtiums even seeming to love
the brush with ice

* * *

alas! when I took my camera out
to take some photos
I discovered that my camera
has ceased to function

and after an interval of fiddling around with it
to no good result
I surrendered to frustration
came back inside
and began perusing cameras for sale sites

I’m on the verge of getting a new one
so I can show as well as tell

the birds’ eyeviews

putting place in perspective
thought it lacks a big something
without the topographic features

yes that’s it
near the middle of the photo
home sweet home

almost all the surround
is the 15 acres of the Land That Time Forgot

to the north, west, and south
are high hills
with the house tucked close up to the base
of the southwestern slope

giving me my very own micro-climate

and this larger view shows the crooked creek
about 1/4 mile up the road

and a nearby creek serpentine
as most creeks are
in the flood plains hereabouts

coming soon
my own photos from the ground
which will give a better indication of the hilliness
of the terrain

there is SO MUCH to say
about the wonder of this place
I’m almost too overwhelmed to know where to begin

adrift in the driftless zone

this is not  post-modern fiction
this is not sci-fi

this will be the meditation of a lively crone
living in the unique beauty
of North America’s Driftless Zone
the land that remained bare of ice
during the last Ice Age
the hills and valleys not planed down
by the crush and movement of ice’s heavy load

I call it The Land Time Forgot
the beauty of burr oaks

the fascinations of living close
with woodland critters

a forager’s paradise

all this and more