Saturday, May 25, 2013

"On either side, those dear old ladies,
the loosening barns, their little windows   
dulled by cataracts of hay and cobwebs   
hide broken tractors under their skirts.

So this is Nebraska. A Sunday   
afternoon; July. Driving along
with your hand out squeezing the air,   
a meadowlark waiting on every post.
Behind a shelterbelt of cedars,
top-deep in hollyhocks, pollen and bees,   
a pickup kicks its fenders off
and settles back to read the clouds.
You feel like that; you feel like letting   
your tires go flat, like letting the mice   
build a nest in your muffler, like being   
no more than a truck in the weeds,"

from This is Nebraska
    Ted Kooser

So after visiting with family in Saskatoon we are back 
on the road to the cabin and farm. It was still a brown 
landscape however in the week we are there the trees 
will leaf out for our green spring.

Helen took the following shots of White Pelicans as they
circled above the cabin. We have lots of positive memories of 
beautiful White Pelicans floating down the river when we
worked on an archaeological site in Nipawin Saskatchewan
so it was great to see these birds here.

"A wonderful bird is the pelican,
His bill will hold more than his belican,
He can take in his beak
Enough food for a week
But I'm damned if I see how the helican!"

I have seen this attributed to Lanier Merritt Dixon 
or Ogden Nash. I do know it was a favorite of my
father-in-law John who farmed this land for many years.

My pictures from the cabin were not great, but I wanted to
include this Bonaparte's Gull because they are fairly common
and I had always wondered were they nest I assumed it was
by the rivers. I finally looked it up and learned they nested in
spruce which we do have but they are not nearly as common
as poplars. So a goal to add to my list, see a nesting Bonaparte's.
Brown Headed Cowbirds were sadly common.
A Yellow Rumped Warbler, the only warbler I saw
but we did spend most of our time working on the
cabin or in the hardware store or driving back and
forth to hardware stores.
The Bufflehead by far the most common duck on our property on this trip.

Another Cowbird I think.
The Phoebes are nesting underneath the cabin, since it is raised
4 ft from the ground they have lots of room. 
You can see a few green leaves,
but it was still mostly a twiggy time of year when we arrived.

"She looks for wiggly fishes,
At least so it appears,
To stuff inside the suitcase
That's swinging from her ears.
And though she's very graceful
When flying round and round,
How does she get that faceful
Of luggage off the ground?"

    The Beak of the Pelican
   J. Patrick Lewis


WildBill said...

Great Poem! And some wonderful images here. Liked seeing every one of them!

Lené Gary said...


I felt like you offered me a personal tour. :) This is a sweet post.

My friend is finishing her PhD in Poetry and is working with Kooser in Nebraska. She beams whenever she speaks of her experience. I'm not very familiar with his poetry, but the poem you've offered here has some wonderful moments. I especially like the "hand out squeezing the air" and "no more than a truck in the weeds."

To see the birds and landscape where you spend time is a treat too. The light coming through those early leaves is palpable.

I've never seen pelicans fly like that. What a treat!

Great post, as always. :)


Guy said...

Hi Lené

I am glad you liked the post, I often do like to set up posts as a tour. As for the poem the more I read Kooser the more I enjoy him and the more I appreciate the complexity of what seem to be simple poems.

I have heard him described as the master of metaphor which I really believe.

Thanks for stopping by.

Guy said...

HI Bill

I am glad you liked both the poem and the images. Even though early spring is pretty stark you can, if you look, begin to catch the very moments when the birds start to sing and the green life returns to the parklands.


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