Lake Shastina, February 2013


My eyes are numb with sleep.
I struggle to understand the cold fog
of conversation coming from the distant kitchen;
something about coffee and eggs.

From the 20 foot high window, Mt. Shasta grabs me;
The mountain is golden, pink,
then lavender and cobalt,
then gray and black.
Everything is multiplied
in the black gloss of the lake below,
smudged by dull streaks of ice.

Snow crystals stripped off the top of the mountain
by silent, distant wind
catch the silver of sunrise,
form and faint at the mountain top
hoops of light and snow flying,
or feathers,
a halo.

You know it’s cold up there,
the stubborn wind blasting the
snow skyward,
chaffing the mountain bare.

Sit in the warmth,
drink the coffee,
leave the ice in the camera for later.

Wild Geese

The wild geese on the island
walk up a rocky
slide into the black trees-
like old ladies clutching shopping bags
climbing the steep stairs of a bus,
complaining aaIMG_0211bout bum knees.


Nine Bald Eagles

Seven of them were spattered brown youths
hunched on a patch of lake ice
like old men bundled in rag-wool coats,
and two were perfect, gold-coin adults,
white helmets, bright yellow feet, floor to ceiling wings.
They glide, stall, swoop, pump,
beat the cold, still air-
kites without enough wind
wings flapping like sheets of newspaper
claws skittering across the ice.aIMG_0209

Canvasback ducks, thousands of them,
swim and chatter on the lake,
flashes of black and white as
they dip and flutter on the surface.
Their voices blending into uproar instead of birdsong,
a cloud of flickering emotions and games –
the chaos of a crowded school yard.
The eagles cruise the line of ducks
their down-beat ruffling the water.
The ducks keep feeding,
flicking water at each other, drifting out of the way,
nudging against the edges of the ice.
They spread away from the eagles
as if parted by a puff of wind.

Then, sudden screaming,
the ducks run across the water with a single mind
and collect at the edge of the ice,
climbing each other’s backs
flapping madly.
This is life or death, but why?

An otter materializes in the harsh black water
for just a moment
then submerges.

One thought on “Lake Shastina, February 2013

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