Improvised Reeds

Improvised Reeds

It was my mother who taught me to cradle a

Blade of grass between my thumbs

Cuticles aligned and haunches pressed together

Creating the reed chamber


The first time she fashioned this magic

We sat by our hickory tree

The rock-hard nuts would sound off on any car

Parked too close to the cinderblock wall


My mother and I shared a penchant for silence

When we were among the fall leaves and branches

She plucked a broad grass from between us, blowing

Setting it loudly aquiver, shrill as a clarinet


Startling miraculous sound!

Please, yes! Show me how it’s done

It was then my mother taught me

The pleasant nature of patient curiosity.



Cold Woodpecker

When spring is supposed to arrive, that is to say by the calendar, my woodpecker reappears.  I’ve come to think of him (her?) as a pet that I don’t need to take care of.  Every morning at 8:20 he’ll arrive and play Reveille by way of taps, assuming it’s not raining.

woodpecker tree essay pic

It’s really cold today, but I hear pecking!

A favorite ritual of mine is to gaze up at the tangle of branches and vines, trying to locate him.  It takes patience, but it often pays off.  You need to look for the tell-tale jackhammer head doing the work. I’m always amused when I site him, that such a loud noise can come from the work of such a small bird. Have you ever noticed how often that’s true in real human life as well? Many of the giants in science, industry, education – many appear unassumingly small in social stature.

Among the tangled branches and vines, they laser-focus on the one important task at hand.  Sometimes all of mankind benefits from their focus.  I’m not convinced that my pet woodpecker contributes greatly to the well being of all other birds, but he certainly helps me.  ~TH~