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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASpring Greening, Along Doe Creek

 

Following a mild winter,
spring has been unseasonably cold.
We have learned
that we should plant the garden
earlier
than our historical April 15 last-frost day,
because last frost has been in March
the last couple of years,
and because summers are so hot
photosynthesis quits about mid-day
beginning about July.
Just when we thought
we’d figured out that planting earlier
would give us a full growing season,
we have a different kind of April.
The air was freezing yesterday morning—
27 degrees—
and this morning, 32.
April 24 and April 25.

Plum, apple and pear trees
are heavy with blossoms.
Big, older trees
are budding.
Bushes are leafy.
With rain—
three-quarters of an inch this week—
grass is greening.
Chickens and Guinea Fowl
roam the farm all day,
finding bugs.
Despite the freezing mornings,
and except for the delayed planting in the gardens,
it’s almost pastoral
around here now;
idyllic,
even.
The memory of  exceptionally hot, dry months
the last few summers
has faded.

Yesterday,
I had a lovely time,
preparing the garden
for today’s vegetable planting
(after last freeze this morning—
right?)
Sunshine, no wind,
mildly warmed air.
Chickens and guineas wandered
through
now and then.
Pastoral.
Idyllic.
At one point I lifted my head
from the soil work
for a moment’s rest
and looked up
and out to the south meadow.
There,
standing strong
in mid-afternoon,
looking intently at me,
a coyote.
It was sobering,
unnerving—
I looked around
to see where the chickens and guineas
were.
This morning,
Oklahoma Mesonet sent a message
about our drought status.
Recent rains
have put a dent in the drought:
in our part of the state,
instead of an “exceptional-extreme” drought,
we are now only “severe.”
I thought again
of coyote
and wondered what—
hunger?—
—thirst?—
would bring it out
into the afternoon,
so close.

Some have asked right out
if Earth is giving us a message.
Many,
I would say,
including:
Remember.
Take nothing for granted.
Stay alert.
Be flexible.
Keep asking why.
Pay attention.
Listen.
And, learn.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHowling Coyote
June 2008, at Turtle Rock Farm