Suddenly, the trees


A whistle to the east and then closer whistlings and five Broad-winged Hawks appear in the sky, wheeling. These birds seem to keep going on. I have seen them fall out of formation and cut into the woods nearby, deciding to stay or deciding to find a squirrel to get them through another day of flying.

 

Suddenly the trees are fully leaved. It is a shock to see them. The Virginia Creeper on the dead spire is wide awake as well. The Luna Moths have been banging themselves around the porch lights for weeks. Today the Black-throated Green Warblers were singing in multiple directions. Music sweeping north, leaving me where I am. Below the singing birds I feel heavy.

 

Spring canít truly make me melancholy. Not yet. That is fallís job. But in the dark the frog chorus does something that is not all joy. I canít pinpoint it. The stars poke through with much more difficulty after the full leafing of the oaks. We still hide inside the Milky Way, bright star, bright star, wayward though we are.

 

I live atop a hummock that is no kind of mountain despite its name, jutting just several hundred feet above the river valley. Who originally said mountain? Someone no doubt who had been no farther west. A mapmaker from the river, perhaps, naming while he drank and climbed. Some powerful spirits. My rounded hummock up here hides a last patch of trees. I stalk among them, barely sane some days in the spring light, staggering in the new dragonflies.

 

I move among the new flowers, amazed again by what is coming, what has come in one day or two. Clematis flowers and their burst of stamens. Last year they hid treefrogs, this morning they hide nothing but light and shadow, a shade of purple previously unseen. Here: rosebuds under pressure. There: the landscape inside an Iris. Around the side of the house, oak stamens pile up, and last years acorns try to sneak up some new trees. Along the brick base, a Speckled Kingsnake, the first in many years. It watches me closely before I lift her and take her out to the rock pile. One of the dogs apparently has snakey nightmares and will kill every serpent she sees. I move them all away from the back yard one by one. Or herd them if they are big enough.

 

The creek hides more and more frogs. Cricket Frogs popcorn into stones. Wild Hyacinth comes into its own pale blues. The Crickets have moved away from the swamp where the bigger frogs sing now: Bronze and Leopard, Bull and both Treefrogs. It is a chorus worthy of kings.

 

I took out the first hummer feeder today, washed it carefully, inserted the red glass flower throats and filled it with hot sugar water. Somewhere, I stop to think, someone spends their day blowing out the red glass throats of flowers. Molten reds, stoked somewhere in India or Bangladesh. Here, on the other side of the earth, the simple placing of the feeder is a ritual of sorts. Here in the land of one kind of hummer. One Ruby-throat male has been hovering, perching, pondering the layout of the yard. He has descended into a world of buckeye blooms. I have kept them all, clearing other invaders. The reds will fade and soon we will be dodging the zinging of all the feeder possessors. It makes me dream of the hummers I saw in the Andes in February. I want to call them up to this northern sugar. I want to will more hummers into leaping the Gulf, into coming to our summer landscape.

 

Looking a bit like coming rain, the sky lowering. I walk to the end of the sidewalk, lifting Tiger Beetles into the air. Fence lizards ďschiickĒ in the leaf litter. A gnatcatcher calls, a cardinal calls. The chickadee that has decided it likes the hanging house my wife put up, sits among the butterfly bush branches, awaiting flowers, waiting for me to make a false move. When are my moves true? Suddenly I want to take a farther walk. One wants to stalk off through the swamp and keep going. Out there. Down the hill and into deeper wild, across the cityscape and gone. And, really, no one is stopping us. I say it out loud as a few raindrops fall.

 

No one is ever stopping us but ourselves.

 

 

HR