These are Nadine’s photos.
We’ve known each other since we were six. The way she participates with nature sparks me. One thing leads to another everytime I listen to her speak or read her letters or when she shares her artwork with me.
Halfway across the country from her forest lives a man who built his own bridge. He lives in an isolated setting, which works for him — except for when it doesn’t. A few years ago he told me about being six years old and how he had wondered what came between one and two. When he asked his first grade teacher, she told him there was nothing between the two numbers. From that point on he set out to prove her wrong.
Like Nadine, he examines life for more layers. One moment there are barren cliffs and the next moment there are cliff swallows- they’ve been building a nest the entire time we’ve been preoccupied with . . .what, exactly?
Between My Back Porch and Sheffield’s Pond
On our daily walk, we find a snow goose egg
that wasn’t there before.
Wings beat the sunset on still water,
beaks tear at grass. Antelope settle
beneath the Russian Olives.
I teach my daughter about the sandpiper,
how it leads us from its nest. She shows me
how to fill pockets with pebbles from the shore,
right before she falls in. One moment
she is sinking; in the next, she can swim.
A pelican blends his brown body into the cut
bank dirt nearby, both he and my son
never blinked, never doubted
she would survive. If you let all your air out,
my son tells me, and then dive to the bottom
of the pond you can stay there, spread eagle,
without floating to the top. He has my
hazel eyes. I wish mine had his sparkle
as he tells me all it takes is knowing
you can surface when you want.
My friend in Michigan built a bridge
across a backyard creek that he can jump.
He admits in midnight mail,the older
we get, the harder it is to leap.
Poem was previously published in Tonopah Review. I am hoping Nadine will stop by and tell us her story of how she happened across these eggs.