The air is full of imminent departure. Warm, unseasonably warm toady, clear up to thirty degrees; and tomorrow is expected to do the same. The weather was warm on my arrival back in November, and now warm at the end, as if a cycle is completing. Warm at the start—then winter set in good and earnest—then warm at the end, which is a beginning. I almost hear winter saying with a sly grin, “I made it easy for you when you were unprepared, then I showed you my full hand. Now on your departure I prepared a warm transition, and say, aloha, glad you came.”
I feel as if I have nearly proven myself indigenous in this environment, though absent for a very long time. As the wolf has established herself into modernity, where once she was made extinct in these parts by an earlier age, so I seem as one returned. The old mandate of “Subdue the earth for the good of mankind” has passed, and maybe I would not have survived that ethic any better than the wolf did. I might have become extinct too, and come back from another place only when the opinions of mankind changed. Though not completely settled in my role here, perhaps in some future mindset, like the wolf has found in this one, I might find complete adaptation. The folks here have not been hostile, but they have not understood, and like the wolf found her age-old welcome cancelled and then restored, so when the reign of poetry commences here, as the reign of environmental protection has come for the wolf, then I might be strung about the neck with colorful seeds and nuts, as necks of Paleo Indians were long before International Falls existed. Perhaps then I shall resume my ancient importance and dignity and admire myself as an oak tree does when dressed in fall regalia and sees herself in the smooth mirror of Rainy Lake. Then the news may read like the latest from Walden Pond, and I may be editor of The Daily News. I am happy to have come, and happy to be returning, the cycle swinging upward so that warm Pasadena will not be too much of a shock.
I walked again to Canada where a raven finds water at the edge of ice.
beyond a Canadian cemetery flows a river
beyond the river an American paper mill
beyond the mill lies a town where winter held me
beyond the town an airport and another life
The same fruit that I saw on November 20 (right) hangs in there today, a bit more withered.