Still Winter? Good question.


Still Winter? Good question.

A tiny sparrow the size of two fingers skips on the mulch underneath the apricot tree,

It is a surprise to everyone the two tiny redbuds didn’t die.

Two bright red cardinals are wrestling over boundary rights,

And the sex that questionably comes with it.

The robins are wading in the melted ice in the bird bath,

Which has a cement figuring squirrel that looks nothing like “Stubby”, as my mom now calls him,

Apparently “Mr. Squirrel Beaver” isn’t a fitting name for a squirrel without a tail.

I saw one of the bully squirrels dead on the ground like he’d fallen asleep last Sunday before church,

I figured he must have been one of Stubby’s bullies,

Maybe he was the one who threw him off the tree.

In other news,

I watched the Avian Neighborhood Watch chase off a barn owl yesterday,

Which is impressive,

Considering there were five of them, of different species and colors, and the owl could have potentially maimed each and every one of them if he pleased.

There is a rustle of dead things when the wind blows;

The brittle shimmer sound of fragile leaves that still have yet to fall.

Can someone tell the birds to go back to sleep?

They showed up just a little too soon for the party,

And it’s really kind of tacky.

Oh my gosh the plum tree that come out of our flowerbed has three enormous Robins sitting on it,

Go home;

Y’all may actually break it.

The Kansas sky does this thing when it can’t make up its’ mind,

And instead of sending us some airy, cumulonimbus clouds,

It sends these whispy things that can layer and only portray so much blue;

Unless you’re lucky.

I’m lucky, because I’m sitting under a bright blue spot;

The rest looks like spun sugar that forgot the dye.

I can’t wait until the ants come back again,

Even though we’ll have them in our kitchen.

I still cannot believe my dogs have not learned to catch mice;

We get them every stupid year.


We’re allergic to cats.

The strawberries were frozen into the ground this morning with a grainy coating of frost,

They’re looking mildly green-yellow now,

And although I’m not superstitious by any means,

The pair of cardinals together, strung atop the electric wire coming from my house is a good sign.

They had extra company,

So at least if we were having roast cardinal,

We’d get a full roast.

This one time, when our electrical outlet short-circuited at my Dad’s house 10 minutes from here,

And across Kasold,

We came back home and the fish were literally half-boiled alive in the fish tank.

The next half hour was a terrifying rat race between me, running tap water, my Dad telling me to just let them flop their last, and a pasta strainer in the kitchen sink.

Let’s cross our fingers that there are no re-dos this time.

I was walking Ella and Ted around the neighborhood,

As they were being more sociable than me,

And I wondered how long it would take for snakes to start defrosting and come out of hibernation,

Right as a walked through an enormous dead leaf pile on the corner.

So be it.

I figured we’d need at least a couple weeks,

And the dirt is still cold.

You know,

Not all places have the chalk rocks of Kansas,

That was something I have never gotten about out-of-state people,

I can find you a chalk rock in five minutes

And draw you an ugly cartoon on the sidewalk, in streaks of white.

Look for the ones with holes; the porous, alabaster traces of calcium and limestone are what you are looking for.

LOOK! Stubby, off the useless, red brick chimney! He’s come to greet us! Either than, or he’s singing us a threat in Squirrel.

I must admit, I do have quite the habit of picking out ridiculous and over the top, too long names.

Just ask me how long it took us to stop calling Ted “Theodore”;

It was probably not even a day.

Even the gravel has freaking fossils here,

I used to spend my recesses looking for the tiny spiral skeletons of prehistoric pre-dinosaurs;

They look like corkscrews when you’re picking them out between polished dirt and pebbles,

I’d bring them to my teachers during recess,

And that was always a good test of who knew much of anything about science,

Not that they weren’t all very nice people.

Pay attention, describe, write down, repeat;

I swear to God that is all you need to know to figure out anything in life,

Or decide not to (which is debatably much better).

We have this loopy chicken wire boundary along the edge of the patch of garden,

And the limestone headstones that round off each side, uneven as can be.

My dogs like to trip over it,

And eat compost.

They’ve worn a circular divot in the dead grass around the deck,

The world of wildlife out here must seem so big to them.

We’ve got a pine-y Forest on the right side of the house,

The gravesite of Petey, may he freeze in peace,

We’ve got the temperate prairie grasses my mom bought wholesale.

Over to the other side of the house, with the neighbor’s whose dogs just instigate it, according to Ella,

Is the Great Pooping Grounds and tree hollows of the [insert cardinal direction here] Wind.

There are various dead flowers vines, coming off the fence on all sides, traipsing their way up and over into our yard.

We’ve got raspberry vines that never produce enough,

And a compost barrel that gets wasps when it’s too hot to care.

Oh we’ve got bird feeders,

The entire thing is decked out, on top of the deck.

The hummingbird feeder is right outside the door.

You think you know what’s up, Spring?

Oh, we’ve got you covered.

And by we,

I mean, my mom.

Do your worst,

Or don’t.

I still think we’re a couple months off.


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I am a second-grade teacher and pastor-to-be who loves people. I spend my weekends with friends or wandering the museums of DC alone and with a journal, trying to put words on the places of the soul that still feel wordless. I spent most of my days at school trying to learn patience through my students and running on sheer nerdy passion. I follow Jesus Christ, and savor that as my most important identity--that I am a child of God, as are infinite others, regardless of their other identities. Christ is my one thing.

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