By Thomas Pease, Anchorage
It’s March, but still too early.
No nectar to nourish the depleted hummingbird,
probing skeletal blueberry plants.
No open water to bathe the trumpeter swan,
webbed feet now improvised snowshoes,
goose-stepping (the indignity!) across the frozen lake.
The myth of the early bird shatters, its only reward
starvation, freezing, predation.
We must be patient, must wait
for Nature to reawaken, to signal the time is right.
Take heed the mouse-eared birch bud
unfurled beyond the reach of a final frost.
Unlike her feckless cousin, the willow catkin,
fooled by sudden winter thaws.
Behold the black bear as he inches from his den,
buttoned still in his practical winter coat,
a bedazzling, bituminous sheen against the melting snow.
He takes a tentative, pigeon-toed step,
tests the air, inquiring, then boldly lumbers forward
while wearing his gorgeous mask.