February-March Micro Poetry

IMG_1012 I am here to entertain.
The least you could do
is feed me.


three dozen birds flock the front yard
red polls and pine siskins
a rowdy crowd of hungry guests
fighting for seats at the table

IMG_1207Rusted autumn leaves
linger well past their season.
Some just can’t let go.

Two bursts of rainbow
frame the intense morning light:
Celestial sun dogs.

IMG_1268Soft paws stretch outward,
Yawning free from a long rest
ere they turn to leave.

Fifty feathered troops:
An army of red berets
attacks my feeders.

…for those of you who celebrate…

Why do we feel the need to qualify our festive greetings in this age? In the name of tolerance do we need to separate? “Happy Easter… to those who celebrate.” “Happy Hanukkah…to those who celebrate.” “Happy Holidays… to those who celebrate.” Can’t we just wish good tidings to the world without drawing lines of separation between those who celebrate and those who don’t? In this world of tolerance, I think we have become more divisive.

Do I celebrate Ramadan? Heck, no. But that doesn’t mean I’ll be offended if someone cast a broad net of well wishes on social media and says, “Happy Ramadan!” or “Happy Kwanzaa” “Happy Freethinkers’ Day” or to me and others. I will think, “Oh! I don’t celebrate that… but thanks!” In this modern age of alleged tolerance and inclusivity, we seem to be more apt to draw lines of separation with our greetings.

So in the spirit of divisive inclusivity, tomorrow I will be wishing everyone, “Happy Monday! …for those of you who celebrate.”

Tapping on Tuesday

A maple with spile:
No tap at any saloon
gives forth such nectar.

It’s a tradition in my family to tap the maples and boil sap. Hauling buckets, cooking outside, doing it the old fashioned way. I remember going to my grandparents’ on the north shore of Mille Lacs as a kid, basking in the sweet steam from the pan and catching sweet drips straight from the tap into my mouth.

Maple syruping is a lot of work. My grandparents are still going strong, but at ages 92 and 88, it’s been a few years since they put out the taps. I’m eager to pick up the tradition again and carry it forward. This year I’m going small scale with just a half-dozen taps, will cook in a pot on a propane burner, and will be happy to produce a single cup of syrup. Next year, though, next year… next year I hope to use the family pan. At my grandparents’ is a sorghum pan the my great-grandfather purchased from a Montgomery Ward catalog for $11. Patched and polished, it still works, and it’s the part of the Hall syrup legacy.

Before then, there will be much work to do for next year, including building the firebrick infrastructure to support the pan, splitting wood into small pieces, and the rest of the labor that goes into this love. Until then, I will revel in cooking a tiny batch of syrup for satisfaction of the experience. The rest my annual supply I will have to source from my friends’ internationally awarded, commercially produced, locally made syrup at Fideldy’s Timbersweet.