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Book of Days

BOOK OF DAYS: A POET AND NATURALIST TRIES TO FIND POETRY IN EVERY DAY

Filtering by Tag: moss

June 3: Rain in the spruce forest

Kristen Lindquist

This morning I and others led a bird walk for the Acadia Birding Festival on Acadia National Park's Ship Harbor Nature Trail as the rain fell and the tide came in. We could hear waves crashing from beyond the wall of spruce trees, and in the treetops, the tinkling notes of the kinglet's song. Small rafts of eiders rode the swells into the harbor, unbothered by rain, shielded by waterproof feathers. From amid the misty tangle of trees, a white-throated sparrow sang loud and clear. Wet sweet fern, crushed by fingers, seemed particularly pungent. Mosses burgeoned, green sponges massed over the forest floor. Water had formed a small pool at the root base of a fallen spruce, creating a wet cave--what might hide in there? Walking the rain-softened trail, our footsteps were dampened, allowing us to hear well the repeated song of the black-throated green warbler. In the dim light, half-concealed amid wet leaves, the warbler's yellow face shone like a tiny sun.

Raindrops on flat leaves
are easily mistaken
for movements of birds.


March 14: Moss

Kristen Lindquist

On this dreary day of cold rain, I've been wistfully looking out my back window. A pair of crows caws in duet with my neighbor's dog's barking. The river seems to be at a normal water level again after a few days of looking at lines of exposed rocks; the Town must have adjusted the dam upstream. The bare trees show no hint of ever bearing leaves. Rain softly, steadily drums its fingers on the roof. I'm reminded of the last line of a poem by e.e. cummings: "nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands." (Though he's out of vogue now, e.e. cummings' poetry includes some of the most romantic love poems.)

Anxious to find something to lift my spirits, I've been fixating on my shed roof. My eyes are drawn to the bright chartreuse color of the moss on the roof's north-facing side. It's a vibrant, almost electric green. Years ago on a hot summer night on a porch surrounded by lawn and lush fields, a group of friends and I shared a bottle of Chartreuse. Until that evening, I didn't know what Chartreuse was, and hadn't realized that the color name came from the actual color of this liqueur made by French monks out of a veritable garden of herbal extracts. (Their original monastery was in the Chartreuse mountains.) We decided that because it was made by monks, it must be a spiritual sort of drink that would fill us with the green energy of all the plants that made it. It tasted like fresh grass translated into alcohol, distilling into a drink the verdant beauty of the fields that surrounded us. We were imbibing the very place itself, and it felt like magic.

Now this freakish moss, the only green I can see out my window on this mid-March day, has brought me back to that moment. I can almost taste it.

Only green in sight:
chartreuse moss on my shed roof.
The world will revive.