Susan Carol Hauser

Archive for the ‘Peeping the Land’ Category

Peeping the Land, Redux

In Peeping the Land on March 7, 2015 at 10:04 pm

The Last Bay Poem
December 22, 2014

I wish it were twenty-five below this morning,
the air on fire with the cold. On a day like that
when I was younger, I would put on my skis,
glide away from the house, follow the squared
sides of the field, south, west, north, east to home.
My breath condensed and froze on my eyebrows,
my cheeks crackled as though electric. Less than
halfway out I would have loosened the scarf
around my neck, the work of my heart warming
even my toes, sweat freezing on my brow.

Outside this morning it is warm for December,
high twenties. A pileated woodpecker works
at the suet, and chickadees scavenge the hulls
of sunflower seeds on the platform feeder, looking
for one more kernel of fuel. They do not heed
the frozen bay beyond, a white disc, a wafer of ice
and snow, nor do they apprehend in any way
the packed boxes behind me, thirty-five years of life
on this land divided into cartons, sealed with tape:
the past containered, the present unfolding,
the future gliding away even as I approach.

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Peeping the Land: A Survey

In Peeping the Land on November 19, 2014 at 11:50 pm

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Peeping the Land: A Survey
November 19, 2014

Gratitude: For inside, for outside, for the walls and windows that separate and unite; gratitude for winter, freedom from the mad growth of the garden; gratitude for blowing snow that rises and falls like a great beast over the frozen bay; for chickadees and redpolls galore at the feeders; for the scent of rice simmering on the kitchen stove; for the dark that falls upon the bay, the bog, the hillside, the house; gratitude for lamps and the gentle evening and the respite of sleep, and for the morning next that is already on its way to this very place.

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Peeping the Land: A Survey

In Peeping the Land on November 9, 2014 at 2:13 pm

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Peeping the Land: A Survey
November 8, 2014

How still the bay, serene, none of summer’s clutter, the grasses in the bog gone to amber, the trees bare, their branches parsing the sky. Let winter come now. We are ready.

11-08-2014

Peeping the Land: A Survey

In Peeping the Land on September 17, 2014 at 8:56 pm

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Peeping the Land: A Survey
September 17, 2014

Mushrooms in Clover with Oak Leaves
I want to ask, what kind of mushroom are they? I want a common name, a Latin binomial, a family history, as though to name is to understand, to know in a better way than just looking at them allows. They are as large as salad plates, mottled in color, browns and golds, deep, deep shades of magenta. I know this about them: they have come up under the oak trees for several years now; they are not there one day, and they are there the next, or so it seems; they are ominous somehow. They should not be touched, I think. I walk wide around them, the way I stay clear of some ideas, some thoughts, some desires, some hopes, at least until I can know their common names, their Latin binomials, something, please, of their histories.

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Peeping the Land: A Survey

In Peeping the Land on September 8, 2014 at 11:04 pm

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Peeping the Land: A Survey
September 8, 2014 

The garden is almost done with its summer work. I have dug up the potatoes, reds and Yukon golds, and have pulled some of the carrots, though most I am leaving in the ground for Thanksgiving, when I will dig them, probably through snow, and will bring them to the kitchen, the freshness of the garden, the pungent smell of soil emanating from them, filling the kitchen with promise one more time. The green beans are done. I gathered a meager handful from the leggy plants before I pulled them and laid them to rest on the heap of other spent greenery at the end of the garden row, the beans safe in my pocket. The tomatoes I still have hope for. I have brought in one or two a day for the last week, but there are so many still working toward red. There was a light breeze moving through the air as I bent over the beds, and briefly some motion in the mess of weeds I had tossed on the path, a leopard frog moving in and out of sight through the leaves. It stayed away from my feet, but was not in a hurry to leave altogether, as though it, too, would not mind if time slowed down for just a while, just this one time.

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Peeping the Land: A Survey

In Bog-watching, Peeping the Land on September 2, 2014 at 2:23 pm

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Peeping the Lane: A Survey
September 2, 2014
August 30 post revisited.

From my window, I watch the bog. No human foot treads upon it, not in winter or spring, not in summer, not in this incipient autumn when the grasses and reeds separate from each other by way of color, chartreuse where the water course runs, dark forest where the creek enters the bay, fern where the grasses mix with each other in disarray. The bay is equally blessed with solitude and disorder. Lillies and wild rice and flora I cannot name crowd the open blue water of summer. There is profit in the overage: the swans still eat here and Canada geese, though I think the pelicans and loons are gone. Soon the arctic loons will arrive, along with other migrating fowl, cormorants, blackducks, snow geese, many that I do not even try to name. They will not stay long. They are only fleet messengers: we are here; we will be back.

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Peeping the Land: A Survey

In Peeping the Land on August 30, 2014 at 3:22 pm

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Peeping the Lane: A Survey
August 30, 2014

From my window, I watch the bog. No human foot treads upon it, not in spring, not in summer, not in this incipient autumn when the grasses and reeds separate from each other by way of color, chartreuse where the winter water course runs, dark forest where the creek enters the bay, pistachio where the grasses mix with each other in disarray. The madness of it drives me to hyperbole: Forsooth! I want to say—the chaos of fall is upon us! Run! Run! Run! Run to the city, to the town, into the house, at least. Cold, wind, snow are galloping toward us and not even in winter does the human foot tread upon the bog.

 08-25-2014

Peeping the Land: A Survey

In Peeping the Land on August 25, 2014 at 2:50 pm

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Peeping the Land: A Survey
August 25, 2014

I was taking pictures of Rugosa roses in the back yard—new magenta blossoms side by side with rusty red rose hips—when I heard the geese coming from the other side of the house. They were low and honking and would fly almost above me, I was sure, although the roof of my house was between us and I could not see them or the trajectory of their path. The camera was on a tripod. I swiveled it, pointing upward and just above the trees on the hillside. The geese came in. I followed them, I hoped, with the lens, blindly, without benefit of the monitor, and snapped, and then they were gone, and I wondered if I had captured anything more than this morning’s mottled sky, both open and closed, like a camera while it is taking a picture, or a summer season developing into fall.

08-25-2014

 

Peeping the Land: A Survey

In Peeping the Land on August 16, 2014 at 4:52 pm

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Peeping the Land: A Survey
August 16, 2014

An editor at Mpls. St. Paul magazine called me once to ask about gardening. It was late January, snowy and cold, and on the bus that morning going to work, he eavesdropped on a conversation between two women who were cooing over a seed catalog that one of them had just received in the mail. They were joyous as they carefully turned each page anticipating their own delight. Not once were they disappointed. The bright colors and ridiculous names never failed them: Ghost Rider Pumpkins, Orchid Daddy Petunias, Yard-long Beans, Dwarf Mount Royal European Plums. He was quite certain that these women would not buy any seeds, let alone plant them. What is it, he wanted to know, about seed catalogs?

That was in 1989, twenty-five years ago. My answer then, published in a short commentary, was that gardens are about hope and promise, and I still believe that. Vulnerable sprouts give way to leaves and flowers; flowers give way to seeds; seeds fulfill the promise of renewal, keeping their own counsel throughout the winter and shouting up from the winter-wet ground in the spring as though by magic. Most of the time in our large-span human lives the beginnings and ends of things are far separated. Fulfillment often passes through us unnoticed. The garden is a welcome metaphor: a sweet beginning, a riotous middle, a contemplative ending that is also a new beginning.

Yesterday I took photos of my current perennial garden. When I looked at them, I was surprised at how small the garden looks against the backdrop of tall grasses, trees, open sky, and distant clouds. My effort seems silly, for how could anything I planted be more beautiful than that horizon. It is as though I am stamping my little foot saying, “I am here, too—I am bright and beautiful, though small and without power.” Should I lay down my trowel? No. There is an earthly promise of seasonal renewal in the horizon, but hope is grounded in the human heart, and that is where we plant our seeds.

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Peeping the Land: A Survey

In Peeping the Land on July 19, 2014 at 1:34 pm

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Peeping the Land: A Survey
July 19, 2014

The road to and from the south twenty acres.
A road, any road, all roads, lead in two directions, toward and away from, toward a field, toward woods, toward the sky; away from a field, a line of trees, clouds that also move toward and away from celestial destinations.

07-19-2014