Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Like Honey In One's Cup

A brisk north wind brushes snow away from ice on the river, and clouds of displaced snowflakes swirl through the air like confetti.  Light flickers through nearby trees and everything sparkles: river, snowdrifts, whiskery branches and frozen grasses. The scene is uplifting for a crotchety human in February. She longs for light, and the sunshine is a shawl across her shoulders as it comes and goes through the clouds—it's like honey in her cup.

Reeds fringe the river here and there, their raspy stalks waving in the wind and their stalwart toes planted in the frozen mud. The spikes outlined against the sky are pleasing shapes when one can actually see them, the artfully curling tops eloquent of something wild and elemental and alluring.  So too are the frosted fields, fences and trees over on the far shore.

We call riparian grasses bulrushes, or reedmace, cattails, punks or corndog grass.  We tuck them into floral arrangements, weave them into baskets, pound their rhizomes into flour, or sometimes (as she was doing this day) just perch on the shoreline and watch them crackle and sway in the wind. Members of genus typha are always pleasing, but most of all when they are just hanging out in the frozen waters of their native place.

In February, there are no caroling birds by the river, and there is silence for the most part, but this week, she remembered the river laughing in its exuberant springtime flowing, last summer's herons standing motionless in the reeds at sundown.  She 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 gelid depths of winter with snow on the way.

The world around her is a manuscript written in wind and light. How on earth is she going to fit the sky, landscape and dancing snow into one 5 x 7 image?


Barbara Rogers said...

Much appreciation for liquid inspiring words and visionary photo.

Riognach said...

This essay is a little gem. You write beautifully always, but sometimes you simply take my breath away with your wordcraft. 'Thank you' seems an inadequate response to your gift, but it is all I have to offer.