you can’t hear…

…the last song of the robin, notes echoing in the morning as I write this, or the Western tanager’s obbligato.


I’ve begun a new piece of writing, mostly fiction, and have been up in the nights, thinking my way into its locus, its characters. There’s music in it (you can’t hear it yet), because one of the characters is a cellist. There’s a party and a woman who chooses the flowers herself. Does this sound familiar? Yellow tansy, hardhack, airy umbels of Queen Anne’s lace.

Last week three wildfires burned nearby. One of them we saw from our bedroom window, smoke rising from the wooded slopes on the west side of Sakinaw Lake. I called it in to the fire service and described my best sense of where it was as the man on the other end of the phone line looked at a map in front of him. The north-west bay, the ridge between the lake and Agamemnon Channel. Another fire was started by lightning near Klein Lake and we could smell the smoke from that one coming over the slope of the mountain we used to walk several times a week. (Before J’s hip issues…) The third fire was the most serious, I think, and was close to Madeira Park. Families were on evacuation alert for a day or two as the air tankers and helicopters carrying buckets of water tried to put it out, with a ground crew struggling up the steep slope where it burned. You can’t hear the planes as they swooped down over Sakinaw Lake to skim up water, led by their bird-dog plane.

You can’t hear the peace now that the planes have gone, the morning quiet again, with late robin-song in the grey air.

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