Equinoctial Wood

things I noticed
Equinoctial wood. Watercolour painting illustration of a bridge in a forest in autumn.

The wood is on fire tonight. Changeable light, the sun sinking, the sky shrinking into red and flaring up. Light, coming from the ground fills up the forest all with flame.

The wood tonight smells like a rotting apple, Dionysian feast for rabbits. Watch them run through their wanders, drunk, besotted on this goblin yellow yield. Fox, in this forest, himself a flame.

Who knew how this secret place would give one final graceful orgy out? Who could anticipate this mad enraptured succulence?

Over the bridge it seems the gully is not what it was. Live leaves run it down. They own it. They run in it a current of all currents, and not.

Woman’s face, a beaming brown sun. Her self one with the forest and the mood of this place, me, one, each of us greeting the other as she who has seen and taken part in revelry, this Dionysian moment, this hinge, as we fall from and into.

Once again, this woodpecker upon a tree holds his own reign, holds forth his rhythm. He fears not the fire running up the very limbs of trees, for his limbs are not tied to earth as rabbits are tied to earth. Let him be drunk on sap. If he falls he fears not. Flight carries him up, up, red jaunty cap its own rising lick of flame.

And if we built a shelter here, my love, what doves we could become! Thee and me curled small in the cave of fallen trees. What elegance need we, when this pyramid of our making will hold against any winter’s fall? Bring thee thy skin to my chin. We will curl small, smaller. Smallest of all, make me into a seed. Bury me under these trees, this mound, this architectonic ground. Let me sleep, shiver, as the last flames of autumn run high, higher. I sink.

And there she is, my other part, my counterpart, the flip to my friend. Her smile is galactic, wide as the wood is wide. Her eyes shine.

And there is the joy of the woman in the wood. And there is the joy of the wood in the woman.

Hoya run

things I noticed

The little hoya plant coiled round a leaf of sansivera, what my mother would call mother-in-law’s tongue. Oh no, little plant, that is not your place. Here, embrace yourself. A second shoot emerging from the cluster of leaves at the base, one more tendril to contend with. Who knew a plant could be such mischief?

Running for the first time in my adult life. Running voluntarily, even. Pain in my right knee, on the outside of the bone, in my upper shin. Worse walking down hill and down stairs, when weight bears down on the joint. Give in, walk and suddenly walking feels slow. Even slowest runners pass me.

Running past me, old and small and round and large women and men, pear shaped and string bean, grandmothers and children. “Go,” I salut them in my mind. “I can’t, but you can. Go on.”

My flowered shoes are fading.

Old man heron overhead. The way his wings rise from his shoulders, cup the air, flight feathers dip down. Not like geese or ducks or crows, not like the hawks I see over the forest. He is the only one like him.

Dash from between town houses: a starling chased by a crow. Into the sun over the ponds, crow’s belly flashing. Twisting, turning after the little brown starling.

Racing the storm

things I noticed

Cold. Again.

Hesitancy. Fear of cold, of shivering. A timid voice,

“I’m not dressed for this.”

Halt. Weight on heels. Roll forward, a firmer voice commanding,

“Walk on. Walk faster.”

Onward, quickly, trusting in motion to outpace cold. Breathe through the nose to build heat. Shoulders lean forward in speed; no. Open the heart. Lean back. Shoulders try to huddle for heat. Lean back. Breathe deep. Right hip leads the beat, and awareness shifts to my pelvis: is the right side forward? Balance. Lead from the left for a step.

Up the stairs to the library roof, two at a time in strength. Feeling muscles stretch and flex, smiling. Over the roof and down the other side, the long shallow steps to the wood. One and two-three, again and again, like dancing.

Resistance, wood chips and mud underfoot. Pushing harder, shoulders roll again. Slower, lean back. Better heart open than feet fast.

Through the woods and out, and on the far side white dashes inhabit the air.


Turn to home. Sun hangs low under swollen cloud.

A mallard races the storm.

Tying knots in the wind

things I noticed

Lop-eared pines.

Two finches tangle, bound together by a filament of air, tying knots in the wind.

New growth clatters under my glove, springs. Silver branches shimmer before a white sun.

Weight of a thought on my tongue.

On a path to the forest, wood chips rattle. Here, on the outside, brittle.

This part of the wood where the dead trees are. Bracken rises. Listen. The old ones creak. The water seeps. Wetland covers the forest floor, blackish. Rises. Listen.

Ebb and flow of rhythm. The colour of the music.

Motion in space with the music. Not dancing; crouching. How my arms wield paint, syringe.

The essential curve

things I noticed

Clumsy fingers. Cold hands. My wrists still numb when I write.

Grasses in the marsh, light gold with an undercoat of steel. Blond fur on the earth. This morning, no red in the grass, no blue in the water. The sky is white overhead.

A gull flies away from me, chased by the wind. Slopes with the wind. At certain angles, when its wings are parallel to my vision, nothing appears but a dot that is its body. Then it flies behind a cloud and the dot is no more.

Shoulder high grass, a finer kind. Run my hand along the top of it: wiry and thin as horse’s tail.

Lower your eye level.