Jilly D.

Archive for the ‘Signs from beyond’ Category

Dog talk and winds moan

In Signs from beyond, Time and seasons on April 1, 2013 at 1:32 am

My dog Scooby walked into the bathroom while I was in the shower one morning about three weeks ago. Rosemary mint conditioner on my hair and patchouli soap lathered on my skin. Did I hear another set of footprints?

“Well, hello, Jill”

I heard a voice I wasn’t sure I recognized . I peeked my head outside the shower curtain. No one was there. Scooby looked at me with ears perked, eyes bright. I didn’t see anyone else.

“Hello?” I asked and my voice echoed across the tiles, glass window and mirrors on the wall. No answer. No sound at all. Scooby just looked at me waiting for a reply.

There was no one in the house and no reason to be scared despite being in the shower and hearing a human voice. Except it wasn’t human. It was Scooby vocalizing his intentional good morning greeting.

He’s not the first dog I’ve had speak to me in plain human English. I had a dog Bob who spoke to me during the last few years of his life. Deedee talked out loud, too. She was a German Shepherd whose owner had been abusive and she came to us, Sam and I, as a rescue dog from the Triple D Ranch in Odessa; a roadhouse. Geesh, I’ve never known such a grateful and obedient dog.

One March morning she stood up and shook herself fully awake and then nudged my foot hanging off the bed.  I felt it, but didn’t stir. Not yet.

“You gotta get up, Jill,” Deedee said. I heard it plain as day. So did Sam. His right arm flung off the blankets. He turned his head on the pillow and looked at me with smiling eyes.

“You gotta get up, Jill, you heard her.”

My feet hit the floor. Bare skin on hardwood. Warm and smooth. I grabbed the teapot and filled it quickly under the tap with water and set it on the stove while I put on some clothes, socks, and found some shoes. Then Deedee and the other dogs were out the door to face the onset of another day on the farm.

We never talked about the incident again. Sam spoke many animal languages and I spoke only mine. When we transcended those translation problems it didn’t spook me. Instead I learned from him to open my heart more than my ears.

What I heard from Scooby while in the shower the other day was a good sign. At least he’s talking to me. And I can hear it.

He doesn’t mention the nail clipping, or the extra long walk through the forest, or the fresh beef bones, either. And Lucy, our other darling Dalmatian, speaks only in the the nose rubbing category for demonstration of affection. Lots of it.

I mistook Scoob’s dog talk for ghost talk. I’ve been getting plenty of that as the March winds blow. Here in the woods the trees enunciate all the lamentations of my world. The moans, and cries, whimpers of limbs, whispers of wishes, the ghosts of all that walk my way seem captured in the soundscape of life in the pines.

Howling, wailing, exhaling, wheezing, breathing,

This afternoon the winds picked up and rain came from the south. The basement walk-out door blew open, sending dry oak and maple leaves across the cement floor. I sensed Sam coming in from the storm and searched the laundry room and guest bedroom and bath thinking his ghost might be right around the corner. Nothing. Silence and darkness. Outside the winds still moan through the spruce, elm and pines down the trail. I shut the door and close it tight.

dusk

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Lost love letter found in book: mine

In Holidays, Pictures and memories, Signs from beyond, Time and seasons on February 22, 2012 at 4:04 am

My volunteer shift at the Caroline Community Library is the third and fourth Tuesday of every month. Housed in the new town hall building powered by solar energy, the library is a collection of popular reading materials largely donated by neighbors. My shelves have grown full of books and I decided to clear a few out this afternoon before I went into Slaterville.

Half an hour early, I unlocked the building, put out the OPEN flag, and emptied the book return bin. My plan was to look at the childrens’ books for inspiration on several new personal and professional projects. The Greg Mortenson book display sadly stood in the window ledge with a full quart jar of pennies and nobody quite sure where to send them.  I was glad to see information about a new group for mothers with children ages two and under would be meeting in our little library.

After checking books back in, I checked the volunteers notebook and saw a search was on for a missing book. I looked in all the logical places and didn’t find it. 

Earlier in the afternoon, I had filled a milk crate with an odd selection of titles to donate. The book about North Korea was disturbing and I wanted to share that disturbance. A couple odd cookbooks, back issues of LA’s literary mag, Slate, a couple memoirs, and a copy of Chicken Soup for Dog Lovers.

Threw in the last issue of Mother Earth News for the community magazine exchange shelf. Noticed there three back issues of Reminisce, a great mag for retro and vintage inspiration. Sat right down in the quiet space and skimmed through with an almost giddy sense of distraction. It was already 7 o’clock.

I unloaded my crate of book donations and noticed a piece of paper stuck inside the Chicken Soup for Dog Lovers book. I remembered Annie and Bird had given Sam the book for Christmas the year before he died. I pulled out the sheet of wide-ruled notebook paper folded in half.

“On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me

Twelve volts of solar power

Eleven years of passionate living

Ten feet of Lionel track track and an engine with a real whistle

Nine times checking on the wood fire each day

Eight puppy Dalmatians this year

Seven p.m. suppers served on time

Six chapters of material for our book

Five cords of wood

Four buffalo

Three deer and elk

Two windmills

and a waterwheel that doesn’t mind the snow.

Every day is like Christmas,

Bright, warm, full of surprises.

We eat like kings and live royally.

You might be Scrooge again this year

Like last year

But all I want for Christmas is YOU

(and a fruticake to save and regift next year)

I love you.”

My pencil scratchings on the paper began to blur as my eyes filled with tears. I didn’t know he had saved it. Why did I find it today? He’d never written me a love letter. He wasn’t a writer. Few words, all action. Somehow, though, he turned this trick on me today. I sensed his spirit as soon as I found it. He sent it back to me: love in a post script. He’d written it back to me. He’d gifted me some love and sunshine on another gloomy, grey flannel cloud day here in his Finger Lakes wake of my widowed life.

I left the copy of Chicken Soup for Dog Lovers at the library but I brought home my love letter to Sam I’d lost in that book.

My bleeding belly button

In Health, Mourning, Signs from beyond on October 30, 2011 at 1:59 am

Every month on the 15th, starting in October 2009, my belly button has bled. Weird, eh? Then it didn’t on the two year anniversary of Sam’s suicide.

The dried blood surprised me every time. Most of my Q-tips I use to get the ear wax out but I found myself dipping one end in hydrogen peroxide and swabbing the old umbilical cord.

When I didn’t have a bloody belly button, I thought maybe the healing had begun. Grief takes physical manifestations. The absence of this symptom I noted.

But it wasn’t just the 15th, it was a Tuesday. My body isn’t going to let me forget. Sam and I were one; he was as much inside of me and I was into him. The umbilical cord is like sinew and tough and without any pain receptors so when cut, there is lots of blood but no pain.

Connected at the core, we were a couple made whole by our differences. When he died, I felt his departure in every cell of my physical existence. The physical connection between us remains a bloody wound of our symbiosis found in the orifice of my center.

So why does my belly button still bleed?

Sobbing awakens me

In Mourning, Signs from beyond, Time and seasons on October 28, 2011 at 3:37 am

The sobbing wakens me. I’m crying in my sleep so hard it forces me to consciousness and my eyes read the red digits on the alarm clock beside my head as 3:42 a.m. My face is wet from crying and I sit up in bed to catch my breath. I know he’s not here. I’m alone.

And yet he was the only person I could ever feel alone with and not feel lonely. Now I feel lonely, upon reflection. We both sanctified our own solitude and he was the only two-legged creature I could share the experience with in daily life for more than a decade. Like the comfort of an indoor plant or a pet, we lived alone together as cats in a common household. His physical presence a comfort rather than a distraction from my inner self.

It’s as though I am having an out-of-body experience. My unconscious weeps as the sadness seeps through my skin. I am awake enough to know my sleeping-self suffers. I see me laying under sheets, blankets and comforters nestled between his dogs. Even my dreams are disturbed by Sam’s death. It’s like watching sleeping dogs twitch, the way I see myself in the middle of the night’s darkness alone in my bed.

Under conscious control I start to calm my breathing and unclench my muscles. Fists, feet, thighs, arms, calves calm. My mind and body meld back into the middle-aged mush of myself in a flannel nightgown while the first snowfall of the season gathers on the lawn. I imagine him next to me snoring gently.

When he’d breathe in, I’d inhale. I’d exhale in sync with his breath. Matching his relaxed in-and-out respirations would always lull me into deep restful sleep. I’d lie there tight up against him and sink into his rhythm and find stillness, and calm, and the kind of peace I thought only the Dali Lama could know.

The breath. The touch. The warmth. The quieted spirit.

Sam used to say that sleep was just God’s way of letting us practice for death. I think he was trying to tell me that death would be as peaceful and sweet as sleep. In sleep there is no pain, there is no loneliness, there is no want. Or so he thought.

Sobs rock me awake and his absence sends me down a well of loneliness in the middle of the night.

“Come back to me,” I cry. My heart is broken. He’s tried in all kinds of animal forms. Deer crossing my path, squirrels squawking at me, the blue heron and raven who chase me   down for long discussions on walks along Valley Road.

There’s no way to make up or break up or argue or agree with him anymore, and yet my heart keeps trying. One doesn’t forget. Never.

While it would be easier in some ways if he’d been killed in a tractor accident, or hit by a stray bullet from a hunter in the woods, or keeled over from a heart attack in the hay mow. Easier because he would not have intended to end his life which left me without him, alone.

Sam’s intentions cannot be mistaken. It was no accident. He planned it. Had planned it for a long time and had told others bits and pieces of his intent and method. He did not want me to be implicated and made sure it could not be mistaken for what it was. He’d barricaded, chained, bolted and locked every possible entrance.

I only recently have had flashbacks of his wild and desperate calls for help in the final weeks. He was furious at the news on TV. Michael Jackson died. Madoff made off with millions. He made me look up the phone numbers for the tv news hotlines and write them down during the news broadcasts. He’d call up and leave threatening messages. I was flabbergasted and expressed my total astonishment to him for doing it. He’d made calls to Bolivia the winter before to inquire about land there and had likely already put my name on some kind of watch list. My record of government surveillance goes back to my college years when I supported the people of Nicaragua and El Salvador with a campus club. I couldn’t imagine why he’d call and say Madoff should be executed, shot before the people, on a voicemail with a phone number listed under my name. I laughed and cajoled him about his hidden militia tendencies. Now his rage against Wall Street and the corporate rip-off of the American public and the desecration of democracy are called the 99%. Why did he feel so all alone?

No health insurance. The skin cancer on his back was back and it had spread. People owed us money and couldn’t pay because the economy tanked. He was serious when he told me it was best to keep your stock in the barn, not in the market. Sam was giving me the 911, the nine-eleven, the heads up in the most subtle ways. The perfect storm brewed and his inability to say what was going on inside himself is what still hurts most of all. You think you really know someone. He lived inside me; every cell. How could his suicide have taken me by surprise?

I’ve been listening to a new CD by Mary Lorson and the Sobrettes (Amelia Sauter and Leah Hougtaling). The lyrics resound in my head:

“You’d rather die….ooooh, than tell me. You’d rather die….ooooh, it’s just a matter of time.”

We all die. Sooner or later. One way or another.  We’d talked about these metaphysical matters many times. Sam did not want to live through his parents’ passing. He couldn’t’ bear it. He told me so and it was no secret to his family that he felt this way. He loved his mother and father deeply. He knew he had hurt them and yet redeemed himself to them as a prodigal son.

He made his own decisions. He didn’t include me in the deliberations. He lived his life to its fullest and he wasn’t going to settle for less. He kept careful records of hours and work and who owed what and what he owed and in the end, Sam left this world thinking others owed him far more than the handful of bills and receipts submitted to his pauper’s estate. What is owed to Sam Warren will be tallied at the pearly gates if Saint John can do the new math. I know he earned a pair of wings. The hot cancerous flesh across his back formed the outline of where they would be attached under his shoulder blades.

He would not talk to me about it. He would not let me see or touch. he would not go back to see the doctor about it. The broken wrists and ribs and setbacks didn’t seem to faze him. He slept through the pain and the bad parts. He told me everything would look different in a week; just a week before he shot himself. I thought he meant the publishing contract offers for my memoir about our life together; withdrawn on notice of suicide. But in that memory of him thinking it would get better in a week, I loved him even more because he had hope for me.

Labor Day Struggle

In Grief, Holidays, Mourning, Signs from beyond, Time and seasons on September 6, 2011 at 2:06 am

Labor Day. Rained hard all day long. Long face; can’t wipe it off. Feels like the sky weeps. My heart sinks. Another day without Sam; another shitty day. He’s not here to say what everybody’s thinking about this weather. If I had anybody to talk to, it would be his profane voice coming out of my mouth.

Not that the weather matters anymore to my survival. I don’t have to pick beans or corn or spend the days in the fields under the sun and in the heat. I don’t have to worry about the pond overflowing or the lane washing out. The wind can howl all it wants; no windmill tower is going to crash on top of my roof. I can throw my wet washed clothes in the dryer during a storm. I love laundry day and any day can be laundry day.

The weather still sets my mood even if it no longer dictates my daily schedule off-the-grid. The dark grey skies and steady downpour day and night is downright gloomy. No getting around that fact. And the doom descends around me as the day turns again to night. Some holiday.

The grump of grief came out to play. Like this gnome, I felt small and squashed. I shuffled through the simplest housework tasks.

Chit. Another day marked off the calendar. Damn depressing. But today I chalked it up to the weather; sang the blues.

Am I feeling sorry for myself? Yeah. Nobody else is going to. I won’t let them. But I need some sorry. Think I’ll eat some worms. A whole lot of my tears are for what I have had to go through to get to here and now. My wailing releases all that I have had to suffer for so long. The relentless raindrops pounding on the rooftop, I listen and weep with the sky.  

The dripping in syncopation with the rooftop beats makes my home a drum. Its steady tempo gives a heartbeat to my sorrow. Thunder and lightning are the rumblings of emotions and flashpoints of memories replayed in the darkness of day. Oh, let this date roll over.

Melodramatic? Mellow, yes, not yellow. I’m not afraid to admit how I feel in the face of another day without Sam. After two years, it still hurts: every damn waking moment. There is no drama; only a dullness about the drudgery of everydayness. And the point is?

Yes, the existentialist question arises in weather like this. Perhaps this storm is a segue between one scene and the next; a new chapter or a new trail. Or perhaps there really is no point.

Points are sharp and they can be weapons. Rain has no point. It splotches. Snow and ice have points in their crystal formations, but water is not pointed. Water certainly has its purposes, but what is the goal of water? What is water striving for? Water is just water. It is.

Grief is just grief. Morning greets mourning. There is no escaping it.

Working so hard for so long is my way out of my material suffering. Labor Day let me step away from my work and the grief grump grabbed hold of me. Grump took me by the neck. Its fingers tightened around my throat and left me grasping for my breath. Sobbing, I stopped hearing the rain.

When I got cried out, the sound of wetness all around cleansed me and I sensed a peaceful resignation to what is. What is and what will always be and what has always been. Water, earth, wind, sun, stone, fire. These are the elements that endure. Elements of power. What is missing? The power of love; the greatest element to the life force.

I know love’s brutal force and its tender graces; my love for Sam and his love for me. What we had together wasn’t perfect, but it sure was special. The spark, the passion, the deep connection we had is still there even though he is gone. It’s a continuing bond beyond time and space; our love is one of those powerful elements in the universe that endures.

So as day turns to dusk, I imagine us both weeping because we are apart from one another. The whole world and all the skies cry tonight. The fog gives form to Sam’s sorrow; elusive and ephemeral. Walking through the fields with the dogs, I look into the mist hoping to catch a glimpse of his ghost. No luck. Now I sit inside by the light with the dogs at my feet and wait for a sign; for my spirit to find solace. I listen to the quiet rain as night falls. The peace of sleep envelopes me until mourning.

Broken angel

In Mourning, Signs from beyond, Time and seasons on August 6, 2011 at 12:42 pm

My right elbow flew up and knocked the glass angel to the ground where it shattered into too many pieces.

I stood there struck dumb.

The white porcelain angel had legs to hang over any ledge. Sam had kept in on a shelf as long as I knew him. He had told me its significance.

“Joyce gave me that after Robbie died,” Sam said. “I’ve kept it with me wherever I go.” He stroked the wings while he told me. It sat on the edge of his dashboard when he drove truck across country. For years it had sat on a ledge above our heads in bed.

Joyce’s son Robbie was a few years ahead of Sam and when he died, Robbie’s friend and mother tied their heartstrings together in a simple glass icon of an angel sitting on the edge.

“If you’re not on the edge, you’re taking up too much room,” Sam would say to me.

That cherubic totem broke unexpectedly many years ago while I was cleaning a dense layer of dust and dirt out of our lives in the cabin. I hid my sin and superglued the angel’s head back on. The next day Sam broke a mirror and I imagined seven years of bad luck.  And so it commenced.

Today while a whirling dervish of housekeeping, that angel flew off the shelf at me. When that little glass angel that had already been glued back together fell apart, I noticed its wings intact even though the head broke off. I couldn’t superglue it back together again though. Instead I swept it up and threw it away.

He’s broken away from me. I can feel it as I use the broom, my vision clouded by my tears. I still miss him. But the angel that protected  him on the road of life no longer serves his purpose.

Did I mention how much I miss him? He’s gone. Really gone.

Northern Lights

In Pictures and memories, Signs from beyond, Uncategorized on June 15, 2011 at 1:35 am

            “Don’t fall asleep,” Shireen whispered as we crawled into her bed. “Watch the sky in my mirror,” she said. At the foot of the bed was a built-in set of drawers and bureau top adorned with her glasses horses lined up before the desk mirror. “When you can see light in the mirror, it’s time for the show,” Shireen murmured.

            There was a closet with sliding doors on her side and the wall on my side of the bed. The bedroom was half the width of the trailer and at the end of the hall. Not much room for more than the bed. Above our head was a window as wide as the bed.  I saw its reflection begin to glow.

            I sat up in bed and turned around and knelt before this theater of rural spectacle. My nose pressed against the window screen. I pushed my nose further until the hatch marks disappeared from my vision and left a big nose print in the screen. I knelt on the pillows and focused on the midnight darkness. My elbows rested on the window sill.

            Staring at the horizon of pine trees and scrub along the hedgerows, colors began to dance. Streaks of green, blues, purples jumped the horizon. Flashes of reds and oranges, lime and lemon appeared in the sky’s landscape.

            Uncle Al and Aunt Audrey were still talking low in the living room with mom and dad.  Audrey’s laughter echoed mom’s and I could hear Al ask dad, “Heh, want another Hamm’s?”

            Shireen knelt elbow to elbow with me staring out the window above the headboard. She looked out into the field to find her mare, Beebe, a red quarter horse, grazing on green pasture.

            My wide eyes witnessed something that provided proof of earth’s undulating energy, its pulse, the charged ions floating in space. Inside that double-wide trailer stuck on a swatch of flat farmland along the last highway before the border, the forces of nature – both gentle and fierce – played out above my head.

            The ephemeral Aurora Borealis filled by body on that July night just outside Warroad, Minnesota, on Lake of the Woods.  The flood of mystical memories flash before on certain night’s skies.  My flesh still responds viscerally to the retelling, like the goosebumps that came on that hot July night.

            At dawn, my head popped up to the window. I rubbed the sleep sand from my eyes. There sat Uncle Al in the garden on his haunches like an Indian. I stared at him. Up well before the sun, he seemed so relaxed in a physical position I found difficult to do in gym class. He relaxed balancing on his bare feet among the plants. Six foot tall and lanky, Al didn’t bend over; he squatted so far down deep it made me stare harder. Still and centered, he worked there pulling weeds from the beans.

            I watched while he worked silently down the row. He had a pan he pulled along with him. From this pan his fingertips slipped something into the ground where he pulled the weeds out. I kept looking. Harder. I took a deep morning breath. Smelled like, hmmm, raw fish.

            Fish. The sun was up. Al had been out on the boat already. Caught Walleye pike. He’d just fileted them in the garage and buried the waste to fertilize. Then he was off to the post office for a 9 to 5 government job. He’d be back most days for the noon hour. Didn’t usually take a lunch, but might get the lawn half mowed.

            That day he called me out to the garden with a pan in his hand and two kittens at his heels.

            “Do you know how to pick peas, Jill?” My uncle took me aside alone; he wasn’t trying to embarrass me as my father’s kid from the Twin Cities. Al didn’t look me in the eye. He just showed me with his hands. I watched him work the vines. He pushed before he pulled.

            Like a wedding veil, I tenderly grasped the vines back to reveal the fat pods. I pushed the pod toward where it attached to the vine and then gently tugged. It popped off into my hand. I started picking. I did it again. I looked at Uncle Al’s hands. I watched how he touched them; sometimes he held on and then let go of a pod.

            Shireen washed all the lunch dishes and then came out to the garden and helped me pick. We worked all eight rows in the garden and had a big bucket of peas in their pods by mid-afternoon.

            Mom was so thrilled to see what we girls had accomplished, she told us to put up our feet. She ushered us to chairs at the dining room table. She knew where Audrey kept things in the cupboard and quickly found two big bowls which she placed between us. Shireen knew what was coming; I didn’t. What did I know at 11 years old?

            While Aunt Audrey, dad and mom got to look at photo albums and catch up over a cup of coffee and pie, Shireen and I shelled peas the rest of the afternoon. Dad slipped away to the Trading Post in town for souvenirs and postcards and then to the bar where he’d meet Al after work for a beer with his buddies. Only one Hamm’s on tap; fresh fish for dinner.

            After a delicious dinner of pan-fried lightly breaded fresh Walleye and sweet steamed peas, we girls did the dishes and got into our pajamas. The show was about to begin again. Aurora Borealis. I’m a girl witness to God’s handiwork.

Turtle crosses the Road

In Mourning, Signs from beyond on June 12, 2011 at 2:12 pm

Dawn after rain leaves a morning peace. Walking Scooby first, that red-winged blackbird accompanies us in that first fresh air in the nose. Singing above our heads, blackbird clucks and whistles. Hopping from perch to perch along the telephone wire, blackbird watches us over my shoulder and sings of grace.

A good night sleep and a keen morning conscious sensibility give me the assurance my relations with Sam as blackbird are not a dream. I go back to the cottage and put Lucy on the leash. We walk in the other direction and still that bird hovers above my head. Lucy and I lope down the road and towards Central Chapel Road.

At the bottom of the hill I see some kind of creature scurrying across the blacktop road. I couldn’t see well enough to discern the kind of critter. We walk toward it and Lucy didn’t even seem to notice or mind. A rabid squirrel? an otter? a fox? I didn’t slow down to see what it was.

About twenty feet away, the shape revealed a turtle’s shell. I had never seen a turtle running so fast with such long legs. It disappeared into the long grass and down into the ditch quick.  Made me laugh.

Sam. Everywhere I go, he’s there. He’s in my heart.

Sam checks up on me

In Mourning, Signs from beyond on June 5, 2011 at 4:42 pm

This morning I was walking Scooby in the field through the pink twinflowers, oxeye daisies, hawkeyes and wild strawberries. A red-winged blackbird came up over our heads and beat its wings and chirped furiously.

“I am here. I am watching,” Sam seemed to speak to me in the language of fluttering winds. We always spent Sunday mornings together. The blackbird hovered above our heads as we walked back to the road and down the hill. Sitting atop a small maple near the driveway, the bird watched us walk back to the cottage.

Sam appeared to me this past Friday morning, too. He likes to catch me unaware. Driving toward the Brookton Market and the Brooktondale Post Office, I hesitated a moment. I looked at the clock on the dashboard to see if I had time to run to the post office before my meeting at the market.  When I looked up from the dash to the road, there was a large Whitetail standing right in my path in the center of the road. He looked me right in the eye and I heard Sam’s voice in my head: “don’t be late.” I slowed down and the deer turned and walked off towards the Market.

I think Sam has taken up residence here just outside the cottage door in the form of a Robin who has built a nest above the porchlight fixture. Almost every time I go in or out I am greeted by her attempts to protect her nest and my new home.  I don’t dare disrupt her roost to see if there are pretty blue eggs in there. I wait with the hope of hearing babies chirp anyday.

Hawk by Mary Oliver

In Holidays, Mourning, Signs from beyond on April 24, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Hawk

This morning

the hawk

rose up

out of the meadow’s brose

and swung over the lake —

it settled

on the small black dome

of a dead pine,

alert as an admiral,

its profile

distinguished with sideburns

the color of smoke,

and I said: remember

this is not something

of the red fire, this is

heaven’s fistful

of death and destruction,

and the hawk hooked

one exquisite foot

onto a last twig

to look deeper

into the yellow reeds

along the edges of the water

and I said: remember

the tree, the cave,

the white lilly of resurrection,

and that’s when it simply lifted

its golden feet and floated

into the wind, belly-first,

and then it cruised along the lake —

all the time its eyes fastened

harder than love on some

uninimportant rustling in the

yellow reeds — and then it

seemed to crouch high in the air, and then it

turned into a white blade, which fell.

Mary Oliver

pp. 34-35 in New and Selected Poems: Volume One (Beacon Press: Boston, 1992)