Flash in the Pan
A Quarterly Posting at Tiny Lights
by Fran Claggett
"The ground before my doorway must be telling me something."
Not only the ground but the sky, the sky. Filled with swallows claiming the birdhouses one by one (what must it look like inside those wooden houses scattered around the edges of the orchard (are there eggs yet or perhaps baby birds?) but beyond the bird houses, beyond the ancient apple trees jagged from the fallen branches deep in the grasses not yet mown providing cover for the deer, oh the deer that leapt across the driveway on my way to get the mail and almost disappeared into the grasses but stopped, turned, and stared
at me all the way down the road and when I walked back up to the house, there it was, still standing, still staring, and the dogs on the deck staring back, not barking, but beyond the grasses and the deer there is over the mountains a veritable--how to describe the color--a vibrant sunset that surrounds this house, this land, this bird space, this deer space, a sunset in the north, in the east, and south, too, and then I have to go into the house and climb up the spiral staircase to the only place where I can see all the way to the west, practically to the ocean, and yes, the sunset is there where it is supposed to be but not as bold, not as purple, not as red as in the east. I don't have any words for the colors that deepen and change as I look now for the deer but see the only the birds beginning to settle into the approach of darkness and the sky, yes, the sky is telling me something.
Everything startles in its transcendence…the ancient trees, contorted, hollow-trunked, stark against the new-meadow green, the white prints of the raccoon that traverse the newly painted fence top leading to the bird feeder, the seven crows strategically balanced on bare branches.
Oh the clarity, if even for just this moment
when we, like the crows, are still, waiting.
Fran Claggett is a Sebastopol teacher of both poetry and memoir writing in the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Sonoma State. She has written a number of books on teaching literature and writing as well as a series of alternative textbooks for high school students. She is a member of the Redwood Writers Club.
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