Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Goodbye Caloosahatchee River, Hello Lake Ontario

Our days in Florida wind down as we prepare to depart on Sunday for our home in the north. I'm reluctant to pack up and head out, but know it's part of our cycle as it is the flocks of birds we see heading north, including a flock of sandhill cranes yesterday we heard but could not see upriver just a short stretch. Spring, of course, has long come to Florida. It did not take the Vernal Equinox this week to make its presence known.

Springtime along the Caloosahatchee

Two male cardinals call out
from adjacent territories in the palmettos
earnest, persistently cheering.
The subtropical forests sirs
with the crimson song of Floridian dawn.
Their scarlet duet summons
the sun into my eyes.
I see red; I blush.


In an hour or so, Roger and I will head out on the river in our kayaks for a final paddle into the oxbow among the mangroves. As always, it will be interesting to see what birds appear along the edges and milling about in the shallow, quiet waters.

That sleepy neck of the river -- too shallow for speed boats, but ideal for kayaks -- reminds me, as if I needed any reminder, that my brother, James Karl Merrifield, is at peace.

I flew home to the Rochester area earlier this month, word having come from Jimmy's ex-girlfriend who was his health-care proxy, that my brother was literally on his death bed and I'd better come quickly. I did. And was with him alongside faithful Patti when my brother died...and went on to the great Whatever. The peace like a river he could not find in his shortish life (he was 63) surely he has now. And that thought helps me maintain my own peace.


Wishing all of you the joys of spring. The sprouting daffodils, the raucous voices of Canada geese plying the skies in wavering vees over the fields, the hint of warmth in the air.... All are reason for hope.