Monday, November 12, 2007

Surprise Party

I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after…

Icicles filled the long window
With barbaric glass.
The shadow of the blackbird
Crossed it, to and fro.
The mood
Traced in the shadow
An indecipherable cause…

I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved
In what I know.

Wallace Stevens, selected from: “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird”

I don’t know which I like best about this poem – the beautiful, different ways, or the ability to see differences in the first place. Especially in such an unlovable sight - Audubon calls them the gangstas of the bird hood. The verses above are my three favorite ways. To see all 13 ways of looking at blackbirds, read the entire poem

November has been cooling and the coastal marine layer has migrated to my back yard - 20 miles east of the ocean, at the dizzying height of 22 feet above sea level. We’ve even felt a few minor drizzles here – it cools and softens the air, awakening drying sage as I hit the leaves with the hose.

Many, resident and visitor alike, decry our alleged lack of seasons. They are all wrong. Seasons change here too, sometimes with such a gentle soft touch that you might miss it if you’re not in the yard when it happens. Like missing the bus to work on the perfect autumn day and driving down to Rock Creek and kicking the brown leaves and savoring their aroma: the smell of Home.

The mums are throwing a surprise party. I’d forgotten what was where, and that’s part of the fun when they start to show their colors. No doubt about it, autumn is my favorite season for enjoying outdoors, even blackbirds.

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