Writing the Distance: Sue Pope

The Covid 19 pandemic is isolating Alaskan writers. We can no longer attend workshops or public readings. The coffee bars where we met with other writers are closed. To bridge these physical gaps, 49 Writers is providing this on-line forum for Alaskans writing the distance. Sue Pope provides today’s poem and photograph.

Spring Refuses to Hunker Down

Spring is not on pause. She does not hunker down or sit in front of a computer feeling sorry for herself because she can’t go for coffee with a friend or wrap her arms around a grandchild. So much work to do. Freeze and thaw, snow and rain, wind and water. Pussy willows, birch buds, spruce sap, break-up. The squirrels do not care if humans are in trouble. They skitter-dance across the melting snow, up and down the trees searching, searching—where did they stash those cones last fall? The woodpeckers don’t waste time. They’re in luck. So many dead trees for drumming, drilling, probing, and nesting. And the dipper, that fist-sized slate-gray bird bobbing up and down in the riffles at the creek bottom, cares only for the larvae wedged between the rocks. He must feed his mate, perched on a nest under the bridge, warming a clutch of tiny eggs. They’ve survived the winter. They are not complaining.

Two bald eagles return to the swamp from their winter holiday. The ravens scold them mercilessly. Who are these bulky snowbirds who think they can take back the swamp when the ravens have spent the winter here eking out a living, commuting every day to Burger King and Taco Bell? Nearby, a lost mallard swims in circles around an open lead in the ice, sipping sludge from the bottom, trying to stay hidden from the eagles in the trees. A lone human walks among them all, breathing the sharp clean air, thankful to witness another spring.

Sue Pope lives and writes nonfiction in Anchorage.

1 thought on “Writing the Distance: Sue Pope”

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed Sue Pope’s “Spring Refuses to Hunker Down” essay. I took several of Bill Sherwonit’s nature writing classes with her back around 2000-2005. I would like to contact her.
    Thank you

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