Saturday, April 2, 2016


April. Impossibly April. Pondering, as always, the mystery of time passing. The ephemeral nature of everything experienced.

Jim Harrison, one of my favorite writers and who passed away last week, wrote, "Time is a mystery that can tip us upside down."

Upside down, inside out. Every minute.

I've been walking down to the heron rookery, just minutes from my house, a ravine of big-leaf maples with 14 nests sprawling at treetops. Primeval and magnificent, with a wingspan of nearly 6 feet, they hunker on their twiggy aeries, fussing at bits of branch, occasionally rising up to stretch. I saw a male bring a gift of a fish to a brooding hen. Their c-r-a-w-k c-r-a-w-k is jarring and rough-edged, and seems to emanate from a long-ago eon, as if I'm listening back in time.


The ravine is almost a secret, lying low at a deadend street under a steep embankment. No chance for anyone to happen upon it without intent.

I could spend all summer there.
I could be 7 again, all summer.

Seven in the Woods

Am I as old as I am?
Maybe not. Time is a mystery
that can tip us upside down.
Yesterday I was seven in the woods,
a bandage covering my blind eye,
in a bedroll Mother made me
so I could sleep out in the woods
far from people. A garter snake glided by
without noticing me. A chickadee
landed on my bare toe, so light
she wasn’t believable. The night
had been long and the treetops
thick with a trillion stars. Who
was I, half-blind on the forest floor
who was I at age seven? Sixty-eight
years later I can still inhabit that boy’s
body without thinking of the time between.
It is the burden of life to be many ages
without seeing the end of time.

—Jim Harrison


  1. The Heron is a favourite of mine; it also happens to appear in my family crest, which in the official book is noted as 'Stork or Heron'. No Storks around where my family come from, so I presume it was 'Heron'.

  2. how wonderful to have such a place nearby. Jim Harrison's poem captures it perfectly for me. Reminds me of days when parents let kids have a long leash, and I could lie in a meadow for an afternoon, listening to bird song, napping and dreaming in the sun.

  3. I love that poem. Captures perfectly!