March 26th, 2007

new year

Crocusses Are Up Dept

I.

Now that I'm back from Portland, and back from Chicago, I feel like winter is over but I still have an actual whole spring to look forward to here. The workshop in Chicago was brilliant -- it was great to see Charles again, who always has has a lot to teach me and not just by making a place where I can put my head down and work. We made Roman letters for two days, eight hours a day with hardly a break, how fun is that?! But I am exhausted after all this activity, and really need to just lie flat reading my library books for a while instead of doing all the stuff that I want to do. The weather change is the absolute worst for my weather body. Have I Told You About My Condition? Even so I went for a walk today, and the temperature was pushing eighty, which is quite unseasonably warm.

II.

Up Wingra Creek at the dam by Vilas Park there was a crowd of people looking into the pond from the fishing deck, and photographers, and people pointing. I walked over on the grass to look into the murky green water.

"Can't see much from here," I said to a tattooed young fellow with a kid or two, who couldn't get anywhere near the crowded vantage point.

"What are they looking at?" he asked.

"Big fish. Always in the spring they come up here, try to jump that dam." This I know only because the same thing happened last year, and there was a big hoohah in the media, and the photographers hung around there for a couple weeks, and I actually saw the fish lurking and once one of them struggling up the spillway and falling back. I forget if it is a couple muskies or what -- muskellunge, that's northern, pike to you.

It seems I have become the kind of old lady who can say with authority to young men, "Always in the spring..."

Often on this stretch of the walk I think this park could be like Kensington Gardens, if we got in some big urns, better paving, some statues, and maybe an art gallery. Or maybe, if you took all that out of Kensington Gardens, the Serpentine would be something like Lake Wingra. Not really that much, though.

III.

I have been learning to whistle just a little. For a couple years I have been able to reply to the nesting cardinals the whit-whit-whit part of their call. On my walk I pass a number of them, but can hardly see them, way up in the tops of their trees, announcing their territory. But this year I have learned the other part of the call.

"Tiu tiu," I replied to one of them quite surely, then continued more feebly "Whit whit whit."

"TIU TIU TIU, whit whit whit whit whit whit whit whit whit whit whit whit whit."

I guess he told me.

Who needs headphones?