It’s that time of year again – wild onions on the south-facing hillsides, black bears in the anthills, white-crowned sparrows cleaning up under the bird feeder, the snow gone leaving the garden’s soil dark and expectant. A shiver of expectation, a momentary clarity before the tumult that explodes when the long days of spring bring everything rushing to fruition.
Oh yes, there are geese honking, ducks flapping wildly to stay aloft, but it’s when we hear that wild noise way up high, see the spiraling flocks rising and rising in the thermals, then we know it’s spring.
The Bulkley Valley is on the interior flyway for cranes heading from California to Alaska to nest. They pass in the thousands, resting in hay fields, in grain fields, beside lakes and swamps to feed before continuing north. They are stupendous, ancient creatures that link us to a primordial past with a fossil record that goes back at least 2.5 million years.
This poem is from the weather from the west, my 2007 collaboration with visual artist Perry Rath.
the sound snags on difficult angles comes out bent – torn metal screech sparking in the darkness overhead
In the morning standing sideways in a field stripped of barley –
thousands of them – like gods they have descended all unaware
their clamouring the bright memory of barley in the sun
Thanks to Joan Patriquin and Dan Shervill for the photographs.