Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Blue Heron

(In December/January we went to a small town a few miles north of SLO- San Luis Obispo. By train! (which was our first). The change of place in a vacation always slightly changes the shade of my perspective, often apparent only in retrospect. I tried to capture it in a picture-poem)


Countless birds, some so small
Before you could think bird, they were gone
In a valley meadow so large, it fit a world in its palm
And in it, a house with a mountain's calm

Amtrak and a car took us there,
A few miles from the Happiest Place in America aka SLO
A snow storm somewhere
Made our late train arrive in the middle of night

Squirrels running, birds about, midday light dancing, green standing.
Penny the owner’s dog
Took a dip in a pond so small
Her friends from neighbors, two black dogs watched
And from not afar, a cow mooed


Two squirrels lay on the road outside, surprised by death
Two hawks circled in a mating dance at border trees
An egret came to the pond looking for a serious meal
And for a lunch of tomato-kichdi, we went inside

Gentle Penny liked my son
She took it upon to keep away too much attention
From over-friendly black dogs
Do dogs know autism? Maybe some do

We see what we want to see
A fish is going to die for the egret; a singing bird will go into the hawks
Cars on errands will drive past the dead squirrels
We see but don’t see that beauty stands with the ugly

I saw a bear and two cubs the other day! The owner said
Moving from pile to pile of burning wood in her small tractor
Oh, about 20 blue herons came one day, they were
Hovering, just hovering in the air, only darting in for a choice fish.

From the historic unused bridge on the Salinas river
I saw the V-shaped ripples of ducks swimming 
Met by the circular ripples of another duck suddenly diving in
The mixed ripple front calmly reached the shore
Just as in the vast mountain lake, as if nothing happened

We build our worlds of meaning from what we see
And learn to ignore what we can’t or don’t wish to see
They say 95% of universe’s mass-energy is unknown
Our fabric has a big hole?!

I saw squirrels running off into holes in the meadow
Turned back and saw my son checking out one with his shoe
When I said with alarm Oh no you’ll twist your ankle
He stood back with a quick amused look that was of soft moonlight

The ducks in the blue lake were agreeable
The still mountain trees in shades of light were agreeable
Why do agreeable things bring happiness and enough happiness, peace?
Maybe I’m not seeing it right
But I know I’m at peace where ever beauty doesn't hide the ugly

Maybe because I’m like the blue heron
Hovering, just hovering between two worlds, real and autism
To bring in a select something when I see it
Back and forth from pools so large

In the womb like sloshing of sleeper coach I fell asleep
Your home station is at 8:45, conductor knocked. Do you want anything?
Can I have a pillow? Not fully awake, I said
Seeing but not seeing the question in her body language- Now?
She got one though seeing I couldn’t use it in the 10 minutes left