Susan Carol Hauser

Archive for April, 2014|Monthly archive page

Bog Watching: April 28, 2014

In Bog-watching on April 30, 2014 at 9:10 pm

April 28, 2014

Yesterday the ice in the bay began to yield to the season: a narrow highway of water opened along the shore. I could discern on the far side of the bay swans bobbling in the flow. Close by, an otter, glimmering, sleek and black, appeared at the edge of the bog mat, grubbing in the peat muck. The gray ice that still commanded most of the bay had lost its integrity and rose and fell almost imperceptibly, as though breathing. Last night the wind came on strong. This morning, the bay is half-open, the sugary ice pushed now to one side and even up onto land in dense, white heaps. I have not seen the otter yet, but three swans circled above the water as though they would land, then rose again and left, clattering in alarm. As they disappeared, a bald eagle entered their space, cruised the bog, then also left. As though pulled in by the eagle’s departure, a solitary sandhill crane appeared over the bay, a brown arrow splitting the air with its chortling call and coming straight toward my shore. Instead of turning to follow the bog, it rose on the wind, skimming the tops of the trees on the hillside, showing me its underbelly, its laughter lingering after it was gone. Now, for a moment, the sky is empty again and silent except for the wind that is still working at that ice.

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Bog Watching: April 22, 2014

In Bog-watching on April 22, 2014 at 2:16 pm

Peeping the Bog, April 22, 2014

The ice on the bay is as blue as water; the sunset that causes this distortion has fallen into puddles of actual water that have risen above the ice and flare like the sun itself. The transformation—the transgression—is fleeting, but the stun to the senses dissipates only gradually, echoing in the mind, and is felt in the heart long after dark.

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Peeping the Bog: April 20, 2014

In Bog-watching on April 20, 2014 at 2:28 pm

Peeping the Bog, April 20, 2104, Easter Sunday

It is small for an Easter Parade, just two Canada geese strolling down the icy avenue of Puposky Lake. She does not wear a bonnet, he does not sport a top hat, but they know where they are going. They will make their own Easter basket, fill it with their own eggs, each one a birth and a rebirth, an individual and a species, the resurrection of spring manifest in their steady promenade.

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Peeping the Bog: April 13, 2014

In Bog-watching on April 13, 2014 at 4:48 pm

Peeping the Bog: April 13, 2014

The song birds are returning: blackbirds and robins back from their migrations; goldfinches, purple finches, juncos, occasional winter visitors, are back to stay. They come and go from my feeders, back and forth from the oaks and maples on the hillside that are still bereft of any color, the buds of this year’s leaves still cloistered against the intransigence of this particular spring. The bog, too, remains static, though it has swallowed the snow and is certainly harboring, below my line of sight, the insistent shoots of Phalaris arundinacea, reed canary grass.

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Peeping the Bog, April 8, 2014

In Bog-watching on April 8, 2014 at 7:31 pm

Peeping the Bog, April 8, 2014

Swans on ice. Trumpeter or tundra? Impossible to know at the moment, as they wisely have their bills nestled into their back-feathers. Their camouflage is nearly complete; they are betrayed mostly by the shadows they cast on the ice, and I might have missed them altogether had I not been watching crows on ice, walking around on the bay as though it were a park. They pecked at the snow as they grazed along, perhaps finding some kind of food, though it seems unlikely. At least I know they are crows, not ravens (smaller than ravens, less regal in their presentation). The swans do not parse so easily. Both trumpeter and tundra are known here, sometimes in passing, sometimes in residence. But their distinctions are subtle, slight differences in the bill and the black leading up to the eyes, some difference in their calls, though variations within each species cross over into variations of the other. For today, I let go of my compulsion to identify and let them be just swans, settled onto the frozen water, floating on ice, an act of optimism, a gesture of faith. 

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Peeping the Bog

In Bog-watching on April 7, 2014 at 3:30 pm

Peeping the Bog: April 7, 2014

Rain last night, slow and gentle, driven only by its own weight and the pull of Earth’s gravity. The sound of it came to me through my dreams, its clean scent through the slightly open window by my bed. All night it rinsed down taking with it into the earth the old snow still lying about the yard, the hill, the bog. When I awoke, it had stopped and the fog that followed it was lifting. Now, mid-morning, I notice movement in the bog, a fox meandering over the snow, nosing into the swaths of old grass, looking for mice. The watercourse is swollen with rain; on the bay, water has replaced yesterday’s yellowed soft spots. The sky is cerulean, a word that begs to be drawn out: ceruuuuleeean. I open the side door to the yard. The air is not warm, not cold. Winter unto spring: cerulean.Image

Peeping the Bog

In Bog-watching on April 4, 2014 at 4:14 pm

Peeping the Bog: April 3, 2014

 It is all the same to the chickadee, spring, fall, summer, winter, obsessing over food without apology, enjoying my feeders without gratitude. What would it be like to live without pushing against the season, that cannot be pushed? I say to others that I have loved winter all of my life, that since I started writing in my late twenties, it has been my favorite writing time, my creative self expanding in the concentration of white, of quiet, of solitude. I welcomed spring, of course, but with a note of sadness knowing that the ease of long nights was already diminished and that the long summer sun would bring undeniable demands. By the time bluebirds and robins return I have drawn out my garden plans, tomatoes here, green beans there, carrots in between. Although my yard is still deep in snow, one of the raised beds in the garden, all of them totally obscured for the last four months, has begun to emerge into light. Its rectangular shape is discernable and bits of last year’s stems rise like incipient flags from the shrinking snow. This year, I find in my heart no wistful yearning to stay the advance of the growing season. I suppose I am ungrateful for the opportunity in this elongated winter to practice patience. I have bought my vegetable seeds, spinach and kale, and flowers to feed the heart, Shade Medley and giant sunnies. The snow has receded from the south side of the house, and yesterday I prowled along the strip looking for signs of dandelions that sometimes bloom right through snow. There was nothing. Even the grass was brown right down to its roots. Chastened, I returned to the house, sat at the kitchen table and watched the chickadees come and go from the feeder, oblivious, their song of cheer ringing in the clear light.

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