Monday, June 04, 2012

First outdoor blessings with my grandson, 4 months old

I have never been a farmer, or farmer’s wife, sweating
fruit lost to hard frost, and livelihood, or praying for rain.
I have never wanted to. (Will you?) We play here.
Our fingers are smooth. But we grieve
our lost plums so soon come. And we will feel
the cold stone in the barn
on a scorching day, and sigh.

I have been trying to tell you
about the fanned gusts from hummingbirds.
Look out!
for their ferocious beauty.

Are you as warm as I am?

Just between us, we know the
cool cave of solitude
of the mouth
and when to open it.

Do you think the bee
was confused when the sage
bloomed plum petals
that look like iris
through needles of rosemary?

I wonder when you will first feel
that the road
your tongue takes
out of your own heart’s gate
is one of loneliness?
This is a mixed up place.
For now, join all these birds singing together.

Hear the poplars?
They are saying a dappled hello from
Courbet, Sisley and van Gogh.
(See, it isn't always lonely.)

This air is a bridge
between us
and all.

Creation is what you make
of what you are given
and also
what you are not.
The path in the woods,
and what it passes through.

Please feel all this emptiness.
It is absolutely necessary.
May what you give back to it
always be as true
as the small clear stars
of your voice today.

June 2012

It is a hobby farm we live on. We have absolutely not a single apple on our three apple trees, or a single pear on our pear, or plum on our plum. But it is the fruit farmers in Michigan this season I really feel for. The heat in March brought out early blossoms on the trees, and then a hard killing frost in April annihilated the fruit. Pretty much the entire cherry crop has been destroyed, and Michigan is the source of 80% of the world's tart cherries, so you can imagine the impact this has on our state's already wobbly economy. I posted about cherries up North three years ago here.

Here is a minute and a half of video and audio accompaniment out of James's first real outing a couple of weeks ago. I was very moved by the undulations of his tongue, showing that he was meeting nature with it as much as with his ears, eyes and skin. You will hear a small interruption of James's grandpa laughing, then asking me "Where'd Brian go?" and me, grammy, answering, "talkin' to his mom" and you'll see James's grandpa watering his garden. The way James kept gurgling outside when I introduced him to the trees on a walk later made me feel he is simpatico about nature.



hedgewitch said...

This is magical Ruth. I love that you built it in compartments, and each box has its own piece of vision shared, moment captured, time preserved. I will come back when I have a fresh morning mind to watch the video, but just the still is so evocative! This reminds me(just a bit) of Wallace Stevens, if he ever could have written about something so feminine and eternal as baby and grandmother.(No higher praise can I give. ;_) )

musicwithinyou said...

Ruth I notice too how he was trying so hard to form his mouth to speak. Before you know it he will be talking and growing up so fast.

As for the fruit in Michigan, yes the warm weather in March did us more harm then good. Balance and timing in life and in nature is needed. If one bit of it is compromised then we risk losing that balance.

Judy (kenju) said...

He really is trying to talk. What a beautiful boy and how lovely your poetry is!

Allison said...

a wonderful poem and a precious baby.

Kathleen said...

So sweet!

ds said...

Oh, how perfect--baby and poem! I agree that he is trying to speak, those stars...Read once that Georgia O'Keeffe's earliest memory was of lying on a blanket gazing at the sky. The trees dappling James in your video reminded me. He will remember what you have taught him, this day.

GailO said...

Oh so sweet baby James:) He is truly thoroughly enjoying everything about him. He will be a great student to your teacher. This poem is such a gift!

How sad about the fruit of Michigan. I knew that unseasonably hot weather must be causing some havoc but hadn't thought of the fruit. Every cherry remaining will all the more precious.

Grandmother said...

James looks like he's licking the air or trying to eat the sunlight. They take in so much through their mouths, perfect little mouth, as he speaks his poem. Beautiful.

The Solitary Walker said...

This is a gorgeous, beautiful poem, Ruth.

What a sweet child. Never too early to develop an affinity with trees. I'm sure this will soon be as natural as his talent for finger sucking!

The Unknowngnome said...

A beautiful posting Ruth. Tender and true.

Jean Spitzer said...

Mazel tov.

Shari said...

What a precious video. He is obviously enjoying the fresh air and the dappled sunlight. Not only trying to talk, but about ready to roll over I would say. He is beautiful. Seasons come and go and life goes on.

Mark Kerstetter said...

"Please feel all this emptiness" - how beautiful, each segment a tiny intimate moment shared, and thank you for letting us see it (and him).

rosaria williams said...

What a perfect scene, a baby, a farm, the grandparents, and the poem, meditations on life, growth, communication. I hear you as though you read this poem as background for the video, braking when he babbles, catching the birds as you speak of them. The moment is priceless.

Peter Olson said...

What a wonderful and peaceful moment! Something to you will remember - even without the video! But, for us, great thanks for the video which made us share the moment! :-)

Pat said...

James seemed so content to lie in the shade and listen to the birds and the wind and his grandparents talking nearby. He's a real sweetheart!

Louise Gallagher said...

This made me cry. James is so exquisitely beautiful.

How perfect!

Stratoz said...

Blessings indeed. My favorite is the sage, bee, rosemary

We should all imagine the life of a farmer every time we celebrate a meal.

Ruth said...

My thanks to each and all of you for reading the poem and listening to James respond to Nature. He is a huge joy in my life, as you know. I love sharing him with you now and then.

Arti said...

Oh Ruth, thank you for sharing James with us. What a beautiful baby. And I just love the sound he makes. He'll learn to express himself soon enough. I'm sure he'll come to know and love nature very soon too with his grandparents living on the farm and ever ready to inspire.

amy@ Souldipper said...

He's a grand baby boy, Ruth! Enjoyed seeing the video of this little one so precious to you.

Speaking of precious - I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of Michigan's fruit crops. Not only because of the effect it will have on available food, but also because folks don't need any more economic distress!

Ginnie said...

Oh-Oh-Oh! I turned up the sound as loud as it would go, Ruth. I can't get enough of that little boy...and of G'ma introducing him to a "different" world than what he'd grow up seeing without you. Please keep sharing him as much as you are able. This precious relationship between you and him fills me up.

Miss Jane said...

This is one of the many forms that you do so well, these collaged fragments of bright beauty--very magical as pieces and wonderful as a whole.

Jeanie said...

Oh, Ruth -- he is so dear, so sweet, so innocent. And fortunate, I think, to have a gran who is leaving him this beautiful legacy of words. Words he won't understand for a long while, even while he may understand the meaning of each individual word. But he will. And he will be honored.

Susan Drummond said...

Big :-)