Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Love Note to 2014

For the first four months of 2014 I tried to jot down some thing that I loved - each day.  It developed into a sort of rambling poem of pleasures.  It lapsed at the beginning of May, but I came across some lines among my drafts, so here's the last installment of the Love Note to 2014 . . .

I love to be pushed by the wind.
I love clouds, and I love that the sky is blue - ricochets of light fragmented.
I love a lightning-shattered cobalt sky

I love walking an old downtown, with a history built of brick and stone, paint upon paint.
What of ours will stand a century from today?

I love the songs of the meadowlark,
the way that sandhill cranes travel in pairs,
the silhouettes of herons
and the avarice of gulls

I love a night woods echoing with the sonnets of cicadas and the ghazals of frogs.


Starting from January 5, a love note . . .

I love:

the cold so bitingly mad that wind-tossed branches clack together as metal rods.

the mist-drizzle needles' subcutaneous dance in the blood-heat of my cheeks.

the gray, wet, chill air, which can be snatched away like a magician-scarf to shock me into knowing light and sun-warmth.

I love:

the arrogance of chickadees and tufted titmice - tiny, feathered, fearless, dinosaurian.

the skepticism of cats.

how Irish stout will not be rushed - whose churn from foamy brown to velvet black makes one wait and contemplate.

I love the victory of laughter over shyness.

I love that moment when a friend averts their eyes - to gather threads of a story they intend to tell -  and we lean in to catch it.

the resonance of raindrops doinking gently on my black and broad-brimmed Amish hat.

I love that toads live in our cellar - the house's warty wards who take crickets and bring good luck - or so I'm happy to believe.

the eight-eyed spiders who stalk prey in high corners and leave no cobweb behind.  Jumping spiders - too quick - I love their way of moving - jerky little teleports.

I love the sunbeam that re-makes a room to a sudden work of art.

my wife's drowsy, feline pleasure in the warmth of slanting sunshine.

I love a joke well-told.

I love the solving of a riddle, that moment when the rigid, false facade collapses and an unexpected figure strides smiling forth.

I love:
the migration of birds

the orioles squabbling in Costa Rican palms while juncos forfeit their taiga to claim these rich south woods of winter.

the dormancy of things that stay - 
creatures burrowed deep to sleep.
the fierce biding of stemless roots and leafless twigs.

the genius of a queen bee, hot within her cluster, sipping summer's honey.

I love:
Bushy Beard lichen - Usnea strigosa

the creak of leather,
its acceptance and resistance to all the twists of use,
this wisdom, which old leather has accrued.

I love:
cotton, worn to ghostly softness, before the fibers part.

I love that scientists admitted umami, a savory fifth taste upon the tongue alongside sweet, bitter, sour, salt.

I love the clumsiness of talk of tastes and flavors,
a language to be made that we've not made yet,
but which Monica speaks so wordlessly.

I love the collaboration of ink and pen and paper.

I love the heft of leather-bound journal
when it's time to trek and travel.

I love maps,
and a journal that is a cartography of living

an inked approximation of place - memory - and moment.

and empty pages
as smooth as possibility.

I love a breakfast of sourdough bread, warm and with butter,
and black, black coffee.

I love how sunlight ricochets from icicles,
how snow etches itself upon the twisty trunks of sassafras.

I love our winter wren whose summer song bursts out in denial or delusion;
the noisy jays of winter, who'll go quiet as the summer nears,
their brash alarms that scatter other birds like shrapnel.

I love words.
These baskets made from sound - containers weaved for some nugget snatched from gravel rolling in our stream of thought.
With agile tongues we click and hiss and hammer air 
and thoughts emerge within another's skull.

I love how humans play with this crazy adaptation - 
we joke, we sing, we pun, we misdirect and curse.

I love the murmur of a place where people gather - 
vibrations moving cargoes among the many minds.

I love to visit places I've been to long ago.
To see Olympus rise above the Puget Sound and think, "Oh, I'd forgotten how they loom in light like this."

To meet old friends - so many sudden years along their paths - 
and they meet me.

To overlay the memories - tattered, blurred and incomplete - with new ones crystal clear.

I love when memory of place get crossed - the drizzle of Seattle so precisely like the cool, soft rains of county Cork.

I love to visit places new.  Among the skirts of smoking Volcán Arenal a seam of whitish mineral turns a river opalescent blue.

And markets where the fruit is strange and sellers must explain what parts to eat - tomate de palo, cas, manzana de agua, rambutan . . .

at Rio Celeste
I love the Oropendola in their raucous colonies of woven, swaying nests - these birds whose calls ring out as penny whistle, bamboo chime, and snare drum.

I love the frigate birds whose easy grace on cliffside, seaside air belie their silhouettes so sharp and weapon-ish.

The gaudiness of honey creepers, tanagers, and colibri, fierce feathers flashing like they're made of molten metal.

I love the din of howler monkeys that hootfully proclaim a sprawling forest valley as their own.

I love to take an unknown twisting road through woods and farms and dusty villages,
To stop at some dark and shaded soda for beans and rice and icy fruit refresco.

To have my sons along so some of this weaves into who they are and will become.

I love the sudden sproutings of nieces and nephews - re-seen after months,
limbs stretched,
eyes deeper with questions and idiosyncrasies.

I love coming home.

I love this late March rain that pounds and pools in rippling, unstill puddles,
worms uncoil in earth made wet,
and seed casements rupture from root and stem.

I love this love of dirt,
some strange inkling that I might yet be a gardener.

I love the purring of cats,
their ludicrous headbutts,
the way their passions run to tip of tail and twitch of ear.

I love the kindness of my sons, which just might be the most important thing.

I love the charm that Monica exerts on people that she meets,
because I glimpse what made me love so irrevocably.

I love the thawed earth - 
to rake the naked garden a darker shade,
and crumble clods between my fingers;
to find the dirt no longer dormant,
full of creatures.

I love to see music being made,
Nico at the keyboard, his fingers certain
with some secret understanding that I don't share,
Porter's baritone that swells the harmonies he builds with his companions,
Monica hums a snatch of song as her coffee cools.

I love the poets whose songs have been such fearsome company:
Uncompromising Dylan,
Pink Floyd along the precipice of sanity,
Johnny Cash enrapturing on redemption,
Joan Armatrading, Tom Waits, Van Morrison,
and all the others who companied my own triumphs and turmoils.

I love skunk cabbage, a warm-blooded plant,
which unfurls to push away the winter,
and the pollen-dusty pompoms of the maple trees.

Porter as Anselmo the muleteer in The Man from La Mancha
I love a good hike sweat,
and the burn of trembling muscles,
and air drawn to inner-most depth of chest, deafeningly,
for a view of hawks or distant islands.

I love to see my boys becoming men
to hear the teachers say,
so comfortable in his skin,
he stands so confidently to speak,
to say his piece,
and the others - they listen.

I love their unabated curiosity -
and how their strong and agile minds
can prise out more and more
from this world
that so many take for granted.


  1. This is fabulous, and a great way to stay positive!

  2. I LOVE these observations, gratitudes, poetic whispers - (and share them all - except...for the jumping spiders - we departed minds there!)

  3. Well, I can't fault you for that. I've always had a higher tolerance for bugs than most people. If I hadn't become and anthropologist I might have become an entomologist.

  4. guera_linda@msn.comJanuary 7, 2015 at 5:51 PM

    Thank you for sharing your poetry. There are many wonderful images here.