big celebration

upper and lower lakes
on sunday morning
i picked rich up at 6.
i was early. 
he was earlier.
just before we turned into the spot
five sandhill cranes flew over.
new to me.
exquisite, he said they're likely here now
they've been moving east.
 we took an easy hike out
to the observation tower
past a termite mound
and early morning birds and mosquitoes everywhere,
rich set up the scope and proceeded to teach me all about the birds
who have familiar voices 
and flicks of colors
but he taught me to see more
 he carted in binoculars, scope and camera.
i had my little red canon.
 a beaver dam
around this were nesting loons 
and some big fish, eating
and occasionally slapping on the surface
showing off fins.
 the loons were calling 
their great calls
paired up 
and one on a nest
 a sundog danced
a blessing on our time together.
 rich is as close to a brother as i will ever have.
a nephew, seven years younger.
and has, 
i am amazed to say
my father's hands.
 on our walk back to the car,
the light having changed many times,
settling into day,
the termite mound had become someone's
 later, we celebrated my sister's 70th birthday!
my sister is rich's mom.
another sister made the trek
from florida to the north country.
all to celebrate this special day.
 there we were,
as close to a brother as i will ever have
someone who knows the earth 
a bit differently than me,
nevertheless, my friend,
giving me the gift of seeing tiny birds close and quiet and 
thank you.
happy birthday, claudia!
it rained a couple of days back 
in the sunshine the raindrops were diamonds 
and a dragonfly lit on my
broken screen
riding out the storm.
so many dragonflies this spring!
emily martin's fun mail art project
mine is at the bottom, fourth column, 
my purple shifu postcard.
the black squirrel has found a friend
there were shenanigans at the base of
grandmother maple.
(the black is actually a gray squirrel.)
there may be more

snow day

wednesday evening sky over the meadow
thursday started out rough
not nearly enough sleep
wendy has some hard nights
and then so do i
 but on thanksgiving
we went out to the meadow
 and played
wendy, melissa, and me
 we gathered up some milkweed
stripped up a bunch while wendy played
can this be called spalted?
it was a glorious time 
before a small meal with just four of us
family and friends
simple food, wine, and conversation
we stayed up talking to all hours
melissa and i
and after a wonderful morning of talk and tea and more talk 
she took to the road for cleveland
unfortunately she encountered lake effect snow 
along the way.
which made its way to the north country today
a reminder 
of a bundle of cloth
and one of paper
we prepared and jarred up 
to be opened in a while
back in chicago.
and here in the north country
a gray day, but it looks like winter
has arrived.