My Muse is a Pollywog

Did you know that every month is dedicated to a smattering of things?  According to Wikipedia’s “List of commemorative months” April is: Child Abuse Prevention Month, Financial Literacy Month (because of tax day?), National Multiple Birth Awareness Month, Autism Awareness Month, School Library Month, Month of the Military Child, Earth Awareness Month (happy belated Earth Day!), and Math Awareness Month (ugh) among several others.  The only one I was aware of, however, is National Poetry Month!

April is a great time to write and read poetry.  It is a time of hopeful waiting.  Winter is over, right?  Wrong says that one blizzard that waited until all of the snow had almost melted.  Gardeners and farmers are eager to work the soil, but it is too saturated and needs time to wake up.  April is the time of the year when I really, really, really (really) want to sit on the ground, outside without anything between myself and the ground (well, maybe some jeans); alas, we must wait for everything to dry out.  So, we might as well write something, yeah?

I do not consider myself a true poet.  However, a few times per year my poetic juices are stirred. Recently, my muse came as a cute little lady dressed like a pollywog!

Ava in her Warm Frog Suit.  Our little tadpole!

Ava in her Warm Frog Suit. Our little tadpole!

Ava has an adorable outdoor fleece suit that looks like a frog. It has little eyes on the hood and nice green spots on it to really seal the cuteness deal.  I happen to LOVE frogs.  I grew up with a pet frog named…”Struggles”! His brother “Funny” died prematurely from some crazy looking tumor on his belly.  But Struggles lived on. I got him in second grade after we raised frogs from tadpoles, and he (or she?) lived to be thirteen years old.  When I left for college I gave him to my older brother to watch.  I was told on Thanksgiving of my freshmen year that he had died.  I cried.  We had quite an attachment.  I can still remember his cute chirps and ribbits at night.  I have spent countless hours chasing and catching frogs, showing tadpoles to kiddos at nature centers, and gandering at pollywogs in the vernal ponds of my childhood. You also may remember the leopard frog that showed up right after Evan proposed to me.

Perhaps the frog is my spirit animal?

So, I LOVE frogs.  However, Alaska seems to be sorely lacking in frogs.  We only have one species: the wood frog, and I’ve seen it twice in two and a half years.  Ava’s little springtime suit got me thinking about the other tadpoles in my life…and I came up with this little springtime ditty:

Far North Spring

For some reason

I am missing tadpoles today

 

Vernal pools of their little ephemeral bodies

eagerly eating and growing

 

Spring is different here

drawn out and bright

 

It comes in waves

 

First the red squirrel and Magpie

 

Then moss peaking through snow

 

The swan and duck arrive

with the first buds of trees

 

And the mosquito starts to buzz

with the running of the sap

 

But I still miss the tadpole.

Spring is definitely a long process in Alaska.  “Breakup” takes weeks and weeks.  The dog tracks in mud and dirt every time she comes in.  Rubber boots are the chosen fashion for half of the state for the better part of two months.  The smells (maybe they should be referred to as odors?) that emerge are generally unpleasant.  Trash that succumbed to the wind is uncovered in yards and edges of roadways.  However!  The skies are generally bluebird and the sun is definitely welcomed after the long nights of winter.  Truly the only things I really miss about spring in Alaska are my little slimy friends.

The Palmer Water Tower in the Spring.

The Palmer Water Tower in the Spring.

Here is another springtime poem, written last year.

Windows, Early April

Woke up this morning to a

chick-a-dee-dee

dee

After months of either

long, dark silence

or

howling winds.

It was lovely

and refreshing to hear

these sounds

creep through the old windows

of the house

that we are leaving soon.

The cracks in these same windows

before

let in dust, blown by the

howling winds.

 

Our last memories

of this home

will be of

the sun slanting its rays

beyond the overgrown honeysuckle,

through the old window panes,

across our chilly feet.

Feet that wait to start the day

from the warmth of our bed.

 

The rosemary in the window

is baking

she said.

It was.

The needles were

dry and brittle.

It smelled of Christmas

in March.

 

It’s away from

the window

now.

Indirect light is best

for some things.

 

We sit

mid-day

in front of the window.

We sweat from

the concentration of sun

reflecting off of

our bare, pale skin.

Staring at the snow

covered mountains,

we feel like we

are Floridians.

We strip our

wool socks from our feet.

And leave foot prints

on the window.

 

Soon,

Leaves will explode

and the window will

not see the sun

so directly

until autumn.

 

Then,

the howling winds

will beat again

at the window

that lets in all things.

 

Spring is a very inspiring time for the artistically minded.  With the interim between the melting of snow and the establishment of green, everything is laid bare.  We have nothing to hide behind.  Our stark yards are visible for all to see.  The bows in front of our windows do not yet provide any privacy.  The sounds of nearby traffic and dogs barking are clear and close without any snow or leaves to muffle the sounds.

Cleaning up the yard after the long winter

Cleaning up the yard after the long winter

My mom visited!  and we took a sunny, snowy springtime hike in Talkeetna.  Denali is visible in the background.

My mom visited! and we took a sunny, snowy springtime hike in Talkeetna. Denali is visible in the background.

Snow people still exist in Alaska during all times of the year, depending where you look.

Snow people still exist in Alaska during all times of the year, depending where you look.

 

I get a lot of inspiration from nature and the elements and have always enjoyed the poets of the Romantic Era: Wordsworth, Blake and Coleridge as well as more contemporary poets who reflect on the awe, beauty and simplicity of nature and our sometimes confusing place in it all like Mary Oliver and Robert Frost.  Many people do not like poetry, and I kind of understand this.  It can be convoluted and snobbish, yet it can also describe a moment perfectly.  Sometimes, poetry seems to be the only vehicle that can precisely sum up a feeling or event.  Poetry can pack a lot of meaning and energy into just a few words and line breaks when properly executed.

Did you know it was National Poetry month?  Any poems you want to share with your fellow farmgirls who are waiting to get their crops growing?

I hope this spring is great for all of you!  Here’s to the greening of things!

Sending you peace and love,

Alex, the Rural Farmgirl

 

Leave a comment 9 Comments

  1. Joan says:

    Some greening is happening … blossoms are showing … and this weekend it will be snowing. Yes we are to have several days of snow so no planting for me yet, need some hoop gardens or a greenhouse to plant this early in my area. Love your beautiful pic’s, especially Ava, what a joy!!!

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Yay for Green! I’ve seen a lot of low tunnels and hoops going up over the last week around here. Those season extenders are definitely a necessity in these northern climes. Maybe it’s time to wake up your inner poet? Good luck with the snow!

  2. Wendy Curling says:

    This is my favorite poem about seasons. I wrote it once in the dead of winter. It makes me smile.
    A favorite season?
    Well, let me see…
    This is what they mean to me.
    I love Winter when it’s snowy and cold
    I love Spring when the flowers unfold.
    I love the Summer sun that warms my skin,
    And I love Fall when the holidays begin.
    So to pick a favorite I am perplexed,
    My answer must be,
    The one that comes next!

  3. Pamela deMarrais says:

    Alexandra, I love your poems! I am also a fan of Robert Frost, and I am not a fan of mud season. [I lived in NH for 12 years.] I can totally relate to wearing mud boots for March and April to get up and down my logging road driveway. It is a sign of Spring, however, and so it is positive in that respect.
    Your baby is soooo precious! As always, I enjoy your blog.

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Thanks for your kind words and words of wisdom, Pam! As always, I love your replies–they make me reflect and be happy!

  4. Diann says:

    Dare I say this?! It was in the high eighties here in Central California….sigh. But has cooled to the 70’s again. I cleaned the planters, plowed the garden, plowed another spot for organic corn and surveyed the trees that need pruning…..that was around my full time job…oh my! So with that here is my amature contribution to poetry month:
    Spring, spring I love thy green,
    The bountiful blue sky, the bright sun in my eye,
    Your fickleness of warmth and chill,
    Oh spring, spring thou art a thrill!

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Yes! This is great. Thank you so much for sharing. Spring is fickle, isn’t it? That’s part of the allure, I guess. You have now proven yourself as a working woman, dedicated gardener/farmer and now a poet. You are a woman of many hats, wear them proudly!

  5. Judy Mac says:

    Your description of Alaskan springs, sound much like my spring here in Maine. Mud and waiting… But at least the snow is gone, the sun is warm and the skies are very blue. My home sits on a river bank, and I have not heard the peepers yet, but I have been able to crack the window at night and listen to the river rushing by. Trees will soon be green again, the river fairies promise.
    Thank you for all the sharing you do through your blog, I look forward to reading it very much. Ava is one lucky little girl, having you for a Mom.

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