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.

Wind has a new voice

things I noticed

The wind has a new voice; “Hurry, hurry!” Playful and insistent.

High, a hawk or a falcon. Blunt head, flat wings, circling. Slivers in and out of the sun, becomes a splinter, is gone. Into the wood we go.

Who knew? The shap little buds become blossoms that bend in the wind, waving tender red leaflets. See!

A haze of green whispers around the elders.

The healing plants have flowered, but their eyes are closed in the morning. Sleeping? After noon, the forest floor explodes in white. Leggy and brazen in the light.

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.

Green eyes gazing

things I noticed

Green eyes gazing.

Early sun slanting through the trees, and now every new leaf is a point of light. Sun a caress on the backs of my thighs, another staccato beat somewhere high in the treetops, pecking.

I wish I could paint this so that you could understand.

Snail shells by the creek bed in the mud, some inhabited. A mushroom cap, a rolled real of plastic: ephemera of the forest floor. And everywhere, that little green leaf that heals.

Rustle in the leaves and out hops a sparrow, fat brown bird in the undergrowth.


Leaves like slender fingers, furled. A closed hand around something precious.

One tree by the bicycle path covered not with leaves but with brown seed pods the size and shape of diminutive shoes. As if a company of elves had camped there overnight and left nothing behind but their slippers.

The smell of this pen’s ink, the ink I wrote with a dozen years ago at a slanting writing desk in my parents’ house.

How lonely the books seem when seen though library windows. Left stacked on shelves, not even filed in the rush to quarantine. I long to enter, to run my hands over them, to comfort them.

Our neurons fire

things I noticed

A shift in mind as I round the first bend to the park. Calming, slowing. Drop irritation behind me. I heard yesterday that our neurons fire in cycles of two beats per second, a hundred and twenty cycles per minute, and that these cycles can be influenced by faster or slower music. Walking to a slower beat, do I slow my manic neurons?

Coming again to a point of noticing gives pleasure, like a tonic note or a good joke. Half anticipation, half surprise, familiar. Let me pepper my walks with points of closely seen.

Sharp little buds again, but here another form – a vine wrapped over and around in loving tangle. Sharp-budded tree bent double, domed. Doomed? this amourous pair will grow together or perish, one or the other. But look, the promiscuous vine reaches already for another, the next tree over. This one will always land on its feet.

The forest is full of such romances.

Here, on the lee side, honeysuckle bear bundles of leaves already. Already, redheaded tufts beard the maples. Not long, now, to blossom. What will they do when the snow comes? Late snow in spring this year, again.

Over the bridge and up, steps to the library roof. The Christmas spruce is gone at last; only rust and needles left.

Walking back on the paved straight path, I close my eyes to head my beat, my breathing. Notice my head’s faint weaving, which I’ve never caught before.

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.