Longing for Spring

Black Dog at Cabin Window. Oil on Canvas.

The first thing I looked for this morning was the 6 to 8 inches of snow that wasn’t there. I was almost disappointed that the storm hadn’t materialized, though I would have had to coax Oliver’s paws into those silly cerulean rubber booties, which is a pain. Is this nor’easter going to be the last threat of big snow? Is warm sun around the bend? How are the hundred or so tulip, jonquil, yarrow, and iris bulbs I planted last October doing in the frozen earth up in the Northern Catskills? I hope no critters ate them as treats.

Slush, rain pattering—
We walk out, cerulean
booties on dog feet

The painting above is courtesy of my favorite artist, Pierre Bonnard.

The Snow Is Gone

Sirius from NASA

I’m not sure whether to be glad or sad that the city snow drifts have disappeared. In the city, the snow begins with astounding purity but is soon so dirty and dog-paw-befouling, it’s hard to imagine that the two snows are the same element.

I do miss watching Oliver bound about at Amster Yard on East 49th Street in the untouched snow as I threw him snowballs that dissolved before he could touch them.I wish I had taken a photograph of him thigh-deep (he’s a mini poodle, after all, though a tall one–a big mini, I say) in the snow drifts. He has to use a lot of energy to rise up and down, in and out of the snow.

My haiku-a-day promise to myself has been productive, if not entirely satisfying. To get the immensity of this cosmos, outside and within, into three short lines is a challenge. The form shows me just how verbose my writing can be. My goal now is to use as few words as possible. Here is one recent attempt:

Dog star, your sapphire
signature piercing cold air:
Is beauty worth it?

Photo Credit: NASA, ESA, H. Bond (STScI) and M. Barstow (University of Leicester)




Making This Year Different

In 2018 I want to do the things I care deeply about, and those that provide the most pleasure (to me and others) on a daily basis. That means walking, writing, reading, practicing tai chi, playing with my dog, Oliver, and experiencing some kind of beauty–natural or made by human hands. I also hope to write a weekly blog about my personal, political, and aesthetic thoughts and experiences.

I know that I have made promises to myself in previous years, and not always kept them. This year I am determined to be different.

At the beginning of January, I began to write at least one haiku (an attempt at one, that is) per day. Like a great picture book for children, this subtle poetic form is much harder to do well than it looks. Basho, Issa, and Buson do it best.

Here is the only haiku I have written so far this month that I am the least bit pleased with. As fate would have it, my dog is in it:

Face afresh with snow 
the dog dunks his head again.
Some thrills don’t go away.