Saturday, February 15, 2020

bird counting

There was steam rising over the river this morning when I bundled up to go for my first ever birdcounting expedition.  I figured I'd see the chickadees who hang out around the river bank,
I'd likely hear a woodpecker, and I wanted to count some hardy Saskatoon Winter Ducks (after my morning's research, I'm going to call them Common Goldeneyes). 

Watching the birds often makes me think of my mom.  She paid attention to them.  Noticed who was around, and when the sparrows were fighting over the bird houses in their back yard.  She and Dad made sure to have lots of food out for them. I don't think she ever participated in a great backyard bird count.  But I'm pretty sure she would have enjoyed it... and laughed at her oldest daughter taking such an interest in birds. 

So I walked my favorite path to the river, and stood on the bank with Randy's telephoto lens, one glove off to try to focus on the Goldeneyes playing in the water, among the morning mists. 

Thinking of Lydia.  Thinking of a God who sees each sparrow - master of the bird count. 
It was a good morning.

My count, as submitted through
# of taxa reported:7
protocol: traveling
duration: 55 minutes
distance: 1.18 km

10 common goldeneyes
1 downy woodpecker
1 blue jay
4 common raven
6 black-capped chickadee
6 house sparrow
2 house finches (I heard a bird high up in a blue spruce but couldn't see it, so I turned on my audio, and the counting app added 2 house finches to my count.  I accept this interpretation of my reality, though I cannot visually prove it!)

Monday, December 9, 2019

like a crocus

on these days when darkness gets longer every day, and my Christmas lights need a timer that goes 18 hours on, 6 hours off, my morning readings take me to crocuses in Isaiah 35.

the desert and the parched land will be glad;
the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.
like the crocus it will burst into bloom...

the earth wakes up with crocuses
when the winter night loses its hold
scattered along the high ridges
among the grasses and thistles
lying low
so the wind brushes
over them in its haste to find a taller
thing to buffet
open in shades of lilac, lavender, purple
that you cannot see while scannig
the horizon

tired of winter we see only
ridges of old snow on the river banks
brown grasses
things that are not yet new
not yet awake

but if you find one
one clump of

you will discover
the hillside is singing
river banks echo
clouds stopping to grin
returning hawks spin as they soar

this is
the earth shouting for joy

Friday, October 25, 2019

granby river line

for Irene

the breeze came up soft
from the river in the mornings
waving through the pines
winding the grasses around its fingers

when the high ridges blurred
in the haze of the midday sun
the wind mostly held its breath
silent as the river tumbled by

fish flickered in the shadows
sheets hung silent on the line
till the afternoon cooled
breeze brushed around the corners

clothes dried
by the granby river sun
caught the scent
in every fibre and crease

I could fold the clothes
and carry the river
up the stairs
into our rooms

Thursday, October 17, 2019

morning moon

the old moon does not rush through the night
gets up a little late
hanging in the morning sky
as though she's lost her way

followed us to school today
disappeared without leaving traces
while we meandered along the pathways
popping up in unexpected places

overheard us
  while we discussed the colors
   of trees
   ..that bunnies hopped
   and stopped
   and also frogs
   or magpies who flew

and maybe
we could be a bunny on the way home
or a magpie
or a frog

the moon was waiting at school today
hanging in the morning sky
as though she'd lost her way

meandering on pathways


Monday, July 15, 2019

south saskatchewan moon

the moon rises full
as jupiter pierces the sky

when I reach the banks
the moon has already broken free

but the river holds
   the light
stretches it long and

broken lines of light
disappearing into the far dark shore

pelicans glide across the river's moon
set all the tips aflame

till the current calms them
quiets the moonlight

rocking gently
as you rock your little one

Tuesday, April 23, 2019


These are dry messy spring days.
Wind throws last year's leaves
into all the corners of the yard;
tugs at the fingertips of haskap and ash
coaxing them out of winter's sleep.
Poplar gets ready to throw seeds
and stickies all around the yard.

Iris and tulip spears piercing through old growth
to begin again.
I look at all the dry, lifeless looking brown
and wonder
how things can spring to life and color.
And they always do.

Mystery of harsh prairie where
the earth bursts open when
the winter loosens its hold.
Spring clouds wander the skies like
maverick squadrons
throwing rain and wind and
occasional hail onto the
waking land
not ready to settle into warm or
soaking rain.

Monday, April 22, 2019

resurrection hangover

So would you feel lighter or heavier?
Body slowed to a stop, blood ceased pumping;
pierced so that blood runs down, muscles flaccid.
When heart surges to life again, like a Gforce spin
the weight of the world falling behind,
lungs re-inflate with a sharp intake of breath,
spirit once more is knit to this body.

Our bodies -
not just shells that are thrown away
fading back into dust.
Resurrection implies at least some sense of
   bringing forward something of what we have been
      utterly renewed
but known.

A robin is singing her joy to the neighborhood.
Plastic bag remnant of Easter egg hunts floats through the yard on the air currents, catches
high on willow branches and
then continues into the neighbor's.

A pair of jays land in the poplar and the robin's joy turns territorial.

Sun shines warm on my face,
wind tugs at the pages of my journal.
Yesterday's laughter catches in corners
and branches of my yard.