buckthorn/staghorn sumac/milkweed

i sometimes think i could study botany in order to understand plants better.
but i also know myself, 
i'd be going off on tangents and would rebel against thorough scholarship.
this is only to say that i'm not particularly interested in doing this, 
not really, 
but then i go outside and look around and know that i don't know the names, 
let alone the personalities 
and properties 
of many of my neighborwood plants.  
i had a shepherd visiting for a long weekend, 
and his 2 year old intensity, energy and ability to focus
were such a joy to be around. 
frances knows how to pay attention. 
especially to the snow in the new yard.

if i was still for a while
i found that he would do his best to keep me company.
intermittent sunshine and much rain 
and now, 
now these leaves are mostly down.
the fruit crops, 
wild and domestic apples, 
invasive and magical buckthorn, 
raspberries, blackberries, crabapples, haws, 
gray dogwood, wild grapes, staghorn sumac, and many others are everywhere.
oh, and paper wasps' summer home
fell out of the tree.
i did try once to pulp this paper to make pulp, 
but it was more like sludge.

milkweed constellations
my favorite paper plant (except all the others)
some late goldenrod, highbush cranberries (i think), yarrow,
all went into the contact print bundles 
and the dye liquor.
we've had only bits of sun and one sunny day all autumn.
it's locking up into winter now.
my neighbors have these for sale on friday and saturday
i'm told they're delicious.
sumac against the autumn sky
working in my kitchen to make prints involves 
buckets of metals and the occasional appropriated weight.
and a lot of vegetation spread out on a cloth.
my biggest round pot with some copper pipe 
and apple twigs
and aluminum and steel.

the fierce, diagonal autumn light 
all around my fallingdownbarn
made of recycled barn
and giving way to age and weather
i have staghorn sumac moving onto my place
giving me lovely leaves and stems
but not yet one horn,
but i can find them 
on the roadside, 
did you vote yet? DO!

deepening toward winter

since i was a little girl
i have loved small things.
i was a kid who liked to make hidey holes under tables
or indoor tents or
to slide under my bed and examine the
geometry of black metal spiraling springs 
likely singing songs all the while. 
puff the magic dragon.
 this little thing i found in maine has a big job.
it's a bladder of some sort
once connected to a seaweed
providing a mechanism for flotation.
 i need some of that right now,
for autumn has brought me down under
deep into, saddened.
the election madness may have something to do with it.
who knows?
but i am struggling this autumn.
 i know that struggle is a place for growth
soil grows so well after it's been plowed and raked.
it's not so comfortable 
if you think of the worm's take on it all!
 so i've been putting in time substitute teaching
making paper
also making plans and books and poems.
 not much of it all, really,
but moving, some,
knowing the snow is coming.
 my neighbor's place loves sunset light.
  cows think their cow thoughts
bovine richness so different from my worries.
 the big sky here reassures me that change is constant:
that light spot in the clouds a crescent moon,
also changing.
 sunset light seems refracted 
brightening surprises
 reassure me,
drawn as they are by mother earth,
who also struggles against the machinery of rich men.
 i come back to
the tiny engineering brilliance 
 of a flotation device.
enough of these could balloon me up and up.
or, at least,
lift my heart.