Equinox Below Zero Combat Fishing with Tourist
Auditioning King Heads For Alaska Water Color Class In the store one with one eye is onto me. I want missing scale, split lips, some broken teeth. I want to see all the fish heads in stock. I’ll take the ones with bruised backs. I’m looking for the ambitious and ruthless. I want the ones who scratched and crawled here. I’ll even take any on crutches. I’m looking for character. The one with its eye on me has potential.
Kantishna Hills, March
What we hear is nothing. No leaves patter the wind. The birch trees are barren— their papery curls of bark barely flutter the air. The stream below the ice, below the muffling snow, whispers nothing as if all the months of cold have blocked its every hillside spring. Equinox below zero. We melt old snow for water. We haul stacked wood to stove. Sunlight glints cold off drifts. Our words stiffen with chill. But beneath the pale bark a clear, sweet sap rises. The rusty tips of twigs swell from an irresistible green within. An ooze of water edges the bank. At noon a gray jay glides over. Twigs hang from her beak. Ooze becomes trickle, etching the ice, calling us to sing it to the river. Birches beckon us to catch up.
Stealthily the season, carried on a tide of light, has moved beyond us, beyond our own stiff winter into the softening melt of spring again.