Late last night I heard trumpeter swans. The flock was flying nearby, but I was unable to see them in the moonlight. So far I haven't heard any geese, but I expect them any evening now. They often come by before the sky is entirely dark and I get to see the flocks passing. But the swans almost always pass later at night. Both species must spend their days resting, perhaps on small lakes in the mountains, and then make the final leg of their journeys to the wetlands of the valley by dusk or night. When they leave in the spring they often pass earlier, and I sometimes get a glimpse of the swans then. They must be eager to get home in the spring.
Tonight I watched the sky grow dim as the fatly gibbous moon, already risen, climbed halfway up the tall pine tree beyond my back fence. Two of the feral cats, who had made themselves scarce all day, returned then to frolic on the cleared lawn and inspect the leaf pile in the pale twilight. Their soft footfalls seemed loud in the dusky stillness. Later I heard a dog barking somewhere to the north. A nearer dog answered, and then the dogs over the back fence, and then more distant dogs to the south until at last one dog on the edge of hearing barked. I wonder what message they were sending? I wonder how far it traveled?
by Lawrence Raab
You're walking down a road
which someone has drawn to illustrate
the idea of perspective, and you are there
to provide a sense of scale.
See how the road narrows in the distance,
becoming a point at which
everything connects, or flies apart.
That's where you're headed.
The rest of the world is a blank page
of open space. Did you really think
you were just out for an aimless stroll?
And those mountains in the horizon:
the longer you look, the more forbidding
they become, bleak and self-important,
like symbols. But of what?
The future, perhaps. Destiny. Or the opposite.
The perpetual present, the foolishness of purpose.
At evening they recede into the sky
as if they had always been the sky.
Is it a relief to know you'll never reach them?
Is there any comfort in believing
you're needed where you are?