Saturday, January 20, 2007

Snowshoe Haiku

I wanted this poem about his old snowshoes to be a tribute to my father, but as much as I tried, the element of irony - the ‘break’, 'cutting word' , or 'turn', which usually occurs between the second and third lines of a haiku that juxtaposes the other images in the poem - wouldn't come to me.

Here's a different slant (picture these lines in the above photo):

Leather snowshoe webs
Northern winter woods walkers

Adios New York

Which do you prefer?

Shaman's Influence

Every day I am blessed by several poems from Shaman. She favors - but does not limit herself to - haiku. Today, following her example, I am trying my hand at writing some.
Here is an explanation of haiku form. And here's another of my attempts:

and another...

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Big Chill...
Things have warmed up a lot since yesterday's reminder of winters past. There used to be winters when this was the norm for a week at a time; months when the indicator never went above freezing. You adapted to it.

I can usually judge the temperature without looking at the thermometer. On a cold night, the woodstove burns up everything you loaded into it the previous evening (an empty stove in the morning tells you is was cold last night). The bigger the birds look (they fluff themselves up to keep warm), the colder it is; and below
-10 degrees the horses have frost on their eyelashes.
Simple weather changes predict rising or falling temperatures: snow is "cleared off cold," meaning that clearing skies usually indicate colder weather; and conversely, a sunny day deteriorating into cloudiness usually means it will "warm up to snow."

We lived in a mobile home while we built the house we now inhabit. At -10 degrees, one of the drain lines would freeze, a fact you would discover when you dumped the dirty dishwater into the kitchen sink and it quietly encountered the ice plug and backed up into the bathtub. Then you had two choices: forget about showering until warmer weather; or work for an hour or so with a plunger, a plastic cup to bail with, and boiling water from the tea kettle.
The first winter we lived in that marvelous tin house, we went away for the Christmas holiday and returned to drains so frozen that we had to pee into a chamber pot until April.
This morning it is thirty degrees warmer than it was yesterday. Ten degrees on the plus side feels pretty good. For a few days, perhaps, I will not think about the horror we are creating by warming the globe, but while I stick my head in the snow, go to Robin’s ‘hood to learn some easy things you can do to keep my thermometer reading where it should be.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

In and Around the Horsie Hilton

Horses - like people - have very distinct personalities.

Dream loves her barn and her stall. If it ever catches fire, she is the horse who will run into it and go up in flames because of the security and safety it represents to her. Preventing her access to it causes equine melt-down. After shutting her out for a few hours, I risk life and limb opening the door: she hurtles in, often smashing into wall or door in her haste. One evening she repeatedly crashed head-long into the barn door in anticipation of my flinging it open (and diving for cover).

Heidi, on the other hand, is like the rural mailman: "neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow" keep her from the outdoors. Her attitude seems to derive from a fear of being trapped and the need to be able to flee from imagined dangers (like the saddle) at will.

Why do I keep these two nut-cases? Just look at them. Come to the barn with me and listen to their greetings, see the contentment they find in the simple pleasures and comforts I offer them, tell them your troubles and know that they understand your mood and will never tell anybody your secrets.

I fell in love with horses when I was very young.
I still have a pair of appropriately named "saddle shoes" that fit me when I was two years old. Stuck to the bottom of them is some horse manure dating back to 1947. Some loves never die.