Posts Tagged ‘season’

a prayer for reincarnation


Garden Fence, Edges Wild Series, Athens, Ohio © Jim Korpi

“It’s like a movie,” we say in times when we have no reference in visual reality. Our eyes communicate something to our brains that does not register.
I have no reference for what I saw last summer on my front porch.
Three barn swallows swooped in and out for about a week before we noticed four downy grey heads bobbing from the interior of their nest.
Their nest sticks against the face of a board on the right side of our decrepit porch like mud stuck to the fender of an old rusty truck.
The barn swallow is one of the most amazing creatures on the planet. Their flight is both eratic and calculated, graceful and unpredictable. Watching them makes me pray for reincarnation. “Please, Jesus, put in a good word for me up there, and let me be a barn swallow in my next life.”
The visits continued for another week and a half. The swallow parents, three of them, fed the growing offspring and then dipped off into the hills, nosediving our cats on their way to and fro.
I walked past the sugar maple guarding our house on my way in for lunch and noticed something different. A flock of 30-50 barn swallows were buzzing around the porch like bees around a hive.
I ran into the house to the bathroom window – my hunter’s blind – and looked out onto the porch without being seen.
Each swallow in the large swarming convoy took its turn dropping beneath the eave of the porch and up to the nest where it would hover for two or three seconds chirping and looking at the progress of the progeny inside before gliding back to the group.
The next day the four swallows in the nest were gone. They were ready.

winter in winter

New York City Iceberg, New York © Jim Korpi

Blessed are we who are able to witness seasons. Hide if you must, snow birds, but this bird prefers to weather the change. Truth be told that winter is often snowy, just as summer is likely hot. News programs fill time with inconvenience reports of airports and roads closing due to snowfall. Small talk fills with conversations about a weather pattern so often predictable by its accompanying season.
We, creatures of habit, have evolved over the centuries to adjust our activities to the annual ebb and flow of changing temperatures, vegetation and sunlight. Only now has rain and snow become bad weather.
Winter comes from a Germanic word, wentrez, meaning “time of water.” Snow, with its slow thawing, will bring growth come Spring just as those late summer drops bring reprieve to a drying landscape.

Tis’ The Season

The frozen heaving of the ground beneath my feet never meant much more to me than the inconvenience of a bumpy car ride. In the compacted paths that lead to the woods in my backyard this upheaval has made me think differently about this frosty season and the thawing one to follow.

There are periods of frigid and lonely stillness, thawing calm and resurrection, blossoming warm growth, and the inevitable decline and decay. These are the seasons of our lives and those defining the natural world. For the paths behind my house, the compacted soil has adjusted with the frost and loosened to give room for the seeds and swelling of spring.

I’m growing a beard this winter, partly to see if puberty truly hasn’t skipped my facial features, and partly to reconnect to some personal version of seasonal change. Over the years spent in cold climates, I’ve grown more  interested in things like hibernation, not because I desire a break from the world, but because the notion of adjusting life’s activities to that of the climate  makes sense.

After running out of cord-wood for the firestove two days ago, I called up my neighbor Kent Butler  to see if he knew anyone in the country with some seasoned hardwood. “You’ve been a bad squirrel,” he said after listening to my predicament. “You’re right,” I said surprised by his analogy. “I’d be a dead squirrel.”