Renegade

Renegade

A renegade white daisy has infiltrated the front garden
perfectly manicured in shades of pink,
miniature roses and impatiens carefully arranged in clusters of beauty.
Far from its inception in the wildflower bed out back under the pine tree,
seed carried perhaps on an early spring wind,
it has settled itself in moist earth,
white petals splaying out from the stem tall and proud.
It might have gone unnoticed if it had remained among the others.
Now, uncaring that it’s a misfit among the pink,
oblivious to its inappropriateness,
it flourishes without my care.
Its white petals are less showy, some would say,
than the passionate pinks surrounding it.
Still it has a loveliness all its own in its courage.
I could pull it like some disparate weed that mars beauty,
but its confidence warns me away
as if to say it’s where it belongs,
not with the others like it
but forging new ground,
finding its own way to glory.

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Nature’s Etiquette

“Great difficulties may be surmounted by patience and perseverance.”
—Abigail Adams

Nature’s Etiquette

In the quiet of the morning,
the garden dormant this time of year,
life centers around the feeders and the suet cage
where squirrels hang upside down,
back feet splayed out on the bark of the pine tree,
front feet holding steady the suet feeder
for long stretches of time.

Somewhere in the forest the woodpeckers wait.
Their moment at the feeder will come soon, they know,
their patience a valuable lesson to those who watch.
The two downy woodpeckers come first,
their velvety black and white patterned bodies
striking against the stark grayness of winter,
one attaching himself to the bark of the tree
while the other feeds, two front toes facing forward,
two backward in perfect balance.
Time is all his now.

When he leaves, the other comes and feeds
and later the larger, red-headed woodpecker arrives.
With his strong pointed beak, he feeds at the suet,
stiffened tail feathers straight behind him,
a vision in beauty.

After the squirrels, after the woodpeckers,
the garden is silent and calm,
satiety over,
accomplished by patience,
by a soft determination for survival,
a lesson in nature’s etiquette.

© Barbara Flass 2012

Ladybug, Ladybug

Ladybug, Ladybug

The jar sat on the kitchen counter
Surrounded by sippy cups,
Coffee receipts, stray barrettes,
Small dolls and parts of toys,
The paraphernalia of daily life
With two small children.

During breakfast the jar
Was a nauseating distraction from
Bowls of cereal and
Glasses of milk
And cups of coffee,
Fifteen hundred ladybugs
Crawling around inside
Moving up and around each other
As they sought out the food
At the bottom of the jar.

The conversation several days earlier
Between the two six-year-olds
Probably went something like this:

“Do you like ladybugs?”
“I love ladybugs!”
“Good!”

And so the birthday gift emerged,
A jar of ladybugs to be released
Into the garden at dusk
To eat the aphids,
To move along the damp earth
To freedom.

Freedom also for those within
Whose breakfast would now
Involve a less squeamish sight–
A view from the wall of windows
Of the sunrise over the mountains
That surrounded the gardens
Where the ladybugs now moved
And did their work.
Nature as it should be.

© Barbara Flass 2011