Twigs and Shakes:
Twigs and Pine Needles:
Twigs and Trunks:
Gold in the Cold:
– above post (on phone) or beside it (on desktop). –
Morning Sun on Winter Wreath
Bird, bow, and berries
scatter rays of hope to me.
Today may be good.
I knew Everett from his being the part-time mail carrier who sometimes drove my home’s rural route. He was also a subsistence farmer who had veggie plots, chickens, and some goats who wandered at will despite attempts to corral them. While the Houdini goats were cause for resigned amusement, the predicament of a cow and her calf was cause for anxiety.
Mama was a small cow whose tryst with a large bull had produced a calf too large for her birth canal. Mama was lying on her side, with just the calf’s nose and front hooves protruding. Neither Everett nor I knew how to contact and compensate a veterinary surgeon who might perform a bovine C-section on short notice, but Everett had a plan.
He had tied the middle of a rope around the hooves. He would pull one end of the rope while another guy pulled the other end in the same direction, straight out from Mama. I would be the other guy. There was no mention of the possibility of pulling with a tractor, and Everett probably did not have a tractor anyway.
Was it thin rope or thick twine? Either way, it was old and frayed. (Before we started pulling, it was not quite so badly frayed as in the image above.) As we pulled, I feared that either the rope would break or some boots would lose traction. Either way, one or both of us would suffer an ignominious pratfall in the barnyard’s morass of mud and manure.
The rope held. So did our boots. Mama endured the ordeal with quiet stoicism, as her calf emerged slowly. Both survived.
My one and only obstetric accomplishment was decades ago, long before the 2016 election saw the USA’s ignominious pratfall into what passes for conservatism nowadays: a morass of mud and manure, with quicksand too.
Along with many others now, I am once again pulling on a frayed rope. Constitutional democracy has been badly frayed by dark money, gerrymandering, troll farms, and vote suppression. Will it hold long enough to extract my country from the morass? (We need two unlikely wins in Georgia on 2021-01-05 to flip the Senate.) When the future looks bleak, I think back to Everett’s frayed rope. We pulled; it held.
A Google image search led to the images in this post; clicking on them will jump to the source credits at the end. The haiku in this post is my response to
with special thanks to one of Jane’s haiku about winter:
© Jane Reichold
heavy and dark with holding
Cold. Pond iced over.
Silent snow on tomb-like mound.
Beavers wait it out.
However bleak and dark it may be, winter is unlike the bleak dark periods of history. Winter’s onset and duration are roughly predictable. Like beavers, those who prepare can often endure. Too bad history is not like that.
I wrote the haiku while commenting on a wintry post by Poet Rummager that I liked. The post did not mention snow or beavers, but inspiration is quirky. Tho I liked my haiku enough to post it all by itself, I decided to wait until I had found images that would clarify it for readers unfamiliar with the way beavers wait out winter in their lodges. Those who would like to see more detail can find it on a very readable webpage that was created for course requirements at Hamilton College.
The photo of the outside of a lodge in winter is from a well-illustrated post by Harlan Schwartz on the Canadian Canoe Routes website. The photo was shared on PhotoBucket and downloaded from there.
The drawing of the inside of a lodge in winter is from the book Why the Adirondacks Look the Way They Do by Mike Storey (Nature Knows Best Books, 2006). The drawing was reproduced in a very positive online review by Paul Grondahl and downloaded from there.
Lifeless? No, leafless.
Trees hold their breath all winter,
exhale leaves in spring.