Lazarus at the Mulberry Tree

A large tree on the Old Town Parkway / Rock Creek (Twin Falls) is shedding fruit like never before.  I believe it is a Mulberry tree.   On one of my many rides past the tree today I stopped to taste the fruit.  Shortly after stopping, Lazarus rolled up on a bike of his own going the opposite direction:

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We chatted.  He reported moving from Bulgaria 20+ (perhaps he said 25) years ago to escape socialism.  He said the Russians socialized his family’s dairy/farm.  He said he was also worried that socialism might be forthcoming, to some degree, here.

He taught me the name of the Mulberry tree in Bulgarian, which I now cannot recall, and told me the tree was a fond memory for him.  He also pointed out a nearby bush that would, later in the summer, be yielding fruit.

I asked him if he was happy and he essentially said, in his broken English, that happiness had been elusive both in Bulgaria and here.  

“Life’s hard”.

Poems read at Claire’s Funeral

Sometimes I Am Startled Out of Myself

like this morning, when the wild geese came squawking,
flapping their rusty hinges, and something about their trek
across the sky made me think about my life, the places
of brokenness, the places of sorrow, the places where grief
has strung me out to dry. And then the geese come calling,
the leader falling back when tired, another taking her place.
Hope is borne on wings. Look at the trees. They turn to gold
for a brief while, then lose it all each November.
Through the cold months, they stand, take the worst
weather has to offer. And still, they put out shy green leaves
come April, come May. The geese glide over the cornfields,
land on the pond with its sedges and reeds.
You do not have to be wise. Even a goose knows how to find
shelter, where the corn still lies in the stubble and dried stalks.
All we do is pass through here, the best way we can.
They stitch up the sky, and it is whole again.

(Barbara Crooker)

Daises


It is possible, I suppose, that sometime
   we will learn everything
there is to learn: what the world is, for example,
   and what it means.  I think this as I am crossing
from one field to another, in summer, and the
   mockingbird is mocking me, as one who either
knows enough already or knows enough to be
   perfectly content not knowing. Song being born
of quest he knows this: he must turn silent
   were he suddenly assaulted with answers. Instead

oh hear his wild, caustic, tender warbling ceaselessly
   unanswered. At my feet the white-petaled daisies display
the small suns of their center-piece, their--if you don't
   mind my saying so--their hearts. Of course
I could be wrong, perhaps their hearts are pale and
   narrow and hidden in the roots. What do I know. 
But this: it is heaven itself to take what is given,
   to see what is plain; what the sun
lights up willingly; for example--I think this
   as I reach down, not to pick but merely to touch--
the suitability of the field for the daisies, and the
   daisies for the field. 

           
                       (Mary Oliver)
 

In Blackwater Woods

Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars

of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,

the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders

of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is

nameless now.
Every year
everything
I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side

is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go

(Mary Oliver)