Brigid’s Day at Dawn

Halfway between the solstice and the equinox.

I find myself breaking the year into smaller pieces. Looking more closely at how time passes. How the earth moves in a rhythm, in a circle of coming together and falling apart.

I have an image in my head of dolphins breaching the surface of the ocean in enthusiastic arcs. But never in unison. A staggered pattern like raindrops, or lifetimes.

I read that in Ireland the lambing begins near Brigid’s day. But here, we won’t see the animals until grazing begins in May. The fields are covered with snow. There are warm bodies in barns that reek of close quarters. Smells that pull us toward the wet, fluid spring.

Yesterday we ran along the lake. “A blanket of snow” lay over the thin ice. I have no fresh metaphor for the sight.

Dried reeds still rise 2 or 3 meters high along the shore. Below the snow, they’re rotting – making the ice especially fragile, though the water is shallow here. There’s also a warmth that belongs to death.

It’s easy to overlook, until it takes us by surprise.

When I walk Leonard these days I can’t distinguish the path from the field from the pond’s edges. The ducks gather on a patch of shining water. E. and I bought dried peas this year to scatter for the birds since we aren’t sure how long the snow will stay. There are so many of them. So many ducks.

A single, round robin hopped along in tandem with us yesterday, in the field on the other side of the stone hedge. Leonard was oblivious, having caught the scent of something that was just as oblivious to me. A hare maybe. Rat, cat, blackbird?

Four ravens watch me
from their street lamp – as I pass
through the no man’s land
they turn on their perch, silent –
they watch me returning home