Thursday, January 24, 2013

snow diary two

(marking the melting more than the fall)

day one

First snow fall.  A messy affair – the snow has fallen with prejudice, favouring leaves and the narrow edges of fences and walls – avoiding large areas of tarmac and concrete.  The effect is uneven and not the completion we know this beast is capable of.  On her back windscreen the layer of snow is melting and slipping – opening like a lazy eye.

day five

Second fall.  What wasn’t there when we woke now is.  This Friday disappears, one settled centimetre after the other.  Upturned hanging baskets become snow crusted cages protecting bulb sprouts beneath.  The deep huff of snow collapsing beneath her boot steps. 

day six

There is a beach of bare path around our door.  There are footprints coming close to the house – some look long-pawed, perhaps belonging to the fox I saw in the road last night.  I have little left to say about this snow but more maybe on it’s way – the forecasts are vague – perhaps if it comes it will bring my words with it.

day seven

She retreads her track to the birdbath and back.  The snow falls in fine flakes that make me feel like I’m looking at old photographs of our garden – grown speckled and pale from the drift of memory.

day eight

A perfect dome of snow still covers our chosen marker stone.  There are other blobs and bumps of snow on the paths and I wish I could learn a frozen form of Braille – to read them and learn the story of what lies beneath.

day nine

Surrounded by the drippings of thaw as my word count grows.  The snow becomes glassy and darker at it’s base – it starts to let go, surrender this temporary state – it prepares to slide away.

day eleven

Third fall.  An unexpected visitor over night.  Cars pass with ruffling toppings – as if someone has pushed back a tablecloth once the meal is over.  The tops of fences like the edges of ripped paper – abandon another bad idea.  

Thursday, January 10, 2013

friend of a friend

Every new year I struggle to throw away last year’s calendar, to abandon the colours that have kept me company each month.  So this year I truly recycled – snipping free little replicas of 18th century birds.  These are the ones that got away – the ones that want to tell their stories before they go.

When I search online to find any details of that calendar I find nothing but dead links – to all intents and purposes those birds of 2012 are extinct.  But I remember them, larger and sharper than these clippings suggest – hung on a hook above the study radiator.  Pages lifting and falling and curling slightly in the updraught - even in two dimensions they longed to fly.

I am the bird above the blue bird.  You don’t need to know my name or anything much about me.  My feathers come in a handful of colours so I fit well in most social situations and adapt easily to everyday avian requirements.  Not so my friend below.

He is a bird of a discontented hue.  Every time he perches nearby his pips and trills are filled with how he has spent much of his morning flying cloud-high only to close his wings and free-fall, eyes closed – pretending to be a raindrop. 

He tells me too how tomorrow he plans to fly two miles out over the sea, then will his feathers to turn to scales, his wings to fins so he can dive right in.

Some birds weren’t meant to be hatched blue.