Thursday, March 12, 2015

sight focus

Fullerton Arboretum, Fullerton, CA

I didn’t give myself a full four-hour window of time outdoors. I probably could have, but responsibilities kept pulling at me. Rather than wait until I felt I had enough time, I decided to spend the time I was ready to give without distraction.

I settled on a bench by the pond. I became aware of wanting to take still images with my eyes—to freeze and store moments like photographs in my mind instead of actually looking. Maybe I am conditioned through camera-habit to think that this is what it means to look closely. But when I’m snapping pictures, I’m not necessarily seeing. It’s more a collecting of approximations filtered through choice. This isn’t bad. It’s just not what I’m setting out to do with this project.

Once I let go of the need to collect stills, I began to notice movement standing out, as figure against the ground of stillness. Song birds. Butterflies. Coots paddling across the pond. The movement of air and turtles causing ripples in the water. The ripples caused bunches of pond grasses to multiply in inverted reflections—wriggling, splitting, crossing, weaving.

Behind the rim of trees surrounding the pond, I could see the top of a tree with broad, waxy leaves. In random-seeming clusters, groupings of three to five leaves tick-tocked back and forth as if they were on hinges, almost mechanically pivoting on their stems. The rest of the tree was motionless.

Closer, what at first appeared to be a light gray tree, a ghost tree—dormant, just sticks—became pale arteries reaching up and dispersing into capillaries, thrumming red-ochre toward the tips.

Monday, March 2, 2015

seeking water

There is a thin trail of ants coming from a small hole behind the sink. Back and forth, they follow their invisible path across the porcelain landscape. They pass along the metal rise of the faucet, and up to its curved, moist lip. In southern California we are all looking for sources of water.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Cherry Tree

By St├ęphanie Filion

nature taking its course
over the city
covering everything

in the school yard
children playing
all this life
apart from me

the oak still carries
its leaves
could not resign
to let them go

paper burnt
and yet there is one
on the road
on white snow

I move with difficulty
the snow forces my steps
to slowness
my balance
to center

I walk towards you
beautiful cherry tree
you who bore fruit last summer  
ribboned path
white on white
In the snow

I recognize on my way
lilac     rosebush
the little pear tree
in the fall its fruits
strewn all over the ground

everything seems dead
everything’s asleep

beautiful cherry tree
with your trunks intertwined
along the spiral staircase
in the back of this house
I’ve been loved

on my tiptoes
from one step to another
I gathered thy sour cherries
it was another season

the father of the man I loved
taught me
the art of preserving fruits
for the depth of winter
he has since left us

beautiful cherry tree
nude and upstanding
we await     you and I
the return of the geese
and fragrant spring flowers

St├ęphanie Filion is a poet based in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

early morning

Walking in the soft floss of morning I saw a tree with branches bowing. On those thin branches, hundreds of young leaves—still tightly wrapped and frilly—were pushing out 

into the open space between their darker, flatter, more uniform relatives.

The fog’s damp rested on spider threads draped across the open spaces. They were invisible, except when I was standing in one specific place 
on the ground, looking up.