19 January, 2014

By My Frozen River, Standing

The north wind brushes snow away from the icy surface of the river, and clouds of displaced snowflakes whirl through the air like confetti, like a late autumn murk or springtime's diaphanously floating fog. Something in the process is uplifting for a mere human in January, and the frosty rimed reeds on the edge with their artfully curling tops are eloquent of something wild and alluring.  The fleeting sunshine is like a shawl around one's gnarly shoulders, like honey in her cup.

Colonies of reeds fringe the river's edge with toes planted in the mud, and raspy stalks waving in the wind.  The vivid russet spikes outlined against the sky are pleasing beyond words, and so too is the frosted white of fields and trees on the farther shore.  We name the riparian grasses as bulrushes, or reedmace, cattails or catninetail, punks, or corndog grass.  We tuck them into floral arrangements or weave them into baskets, pound  their rhizomes into flour, or sometimes (as I am doing here) just perch on the shoreline and watch them sway in the wind. Members of genus typha are pleasing in many ways, but most of all when standing tall in the shallow waters of their native place.

In January, there are no caroling birds by the river and silence for the most part, but for a few moments this past week, I imagined I could hear the river laughing in its exuberant early springtime descent and I smiled, thinking of Vladimir Nabokov's memoir "Speak Memory". On another day, that might have been a good title for this post written in the wispy depths of winter.

1 comment:

Guy said...

Hi Cate

You write very beautifully, a lovely post.

Guy