We pull in to the parking lot where
our mailboxes are arrayed like
so many graves at Arlington, or more
like the drawers in a low cost mausoleum.
This is the new Postal Service, sharing
the burden of the need to cut costs
even at the expense of services.
Standing nearby are two Sandhill
Cranes watching the postal worker
carefully unload the trays of mail
and buckets of packages, soon to be
slotted and eventually carried away.
The birds stare at us, knowing it seems
that they are protected, and we need
to walk and drive around them, for they
have no intention of yielding ground to us,
certain they were here first and they say
they tolerate us only barely, and if we
doubt that, they will explain
in pointed detail with their beaks.
We walk around them and wonder how
they would hope to open the metal box
where any mail they might receive
will soon enough be deposited.
The manatees hide just below
the surface sticking up their heads
every few minutes, for a breath
or to thrill the tourists who watch
intently, because it is a thing to do
in this part of Florida in winter.
The restaurants in the harbor
don’t mind, it draws a crowd and takes
pressure off the kitchen, for people
waiting for sea mammals do not
grow impatient like those waiting
for just burgers or an order
of fried clams with a side of fries.
The manatees will never understand
humans, why they queue up in the sun
to eat animals, when the sea
provides a free feast for herbivores
if you are only willing to immerse
yourself in the search for a meal.
A singe egret sits calmly
on the lowest branch of a long
barren tree, where hours from now
a thousand birds will arrive
for still another evening and night.
He stares at me as I am mindfully
vacuuming, watching carefully.
I pause and ask if by chance he
is a Buddha and he lifts his long neck
and peers around in all directions.
I repeat my question, and he
lifts one wing, which I know
to be his way of saying, “I,
like you, am imbued with Buddha
nature, and I with mother
nature as well, and if you doubt me
ask one of the countless
Bodhisattva who will arrive
in hours to study the Dharma
well into what will be a wet night.
We sit on our lanai, which
the birds will tell you is
the backyard of their preserve
and watch the sun bid
its blazing farewell to this day.
The birds begin their scheduled
return, ibis in groups,
the self-declared top guns
flying in hot and flat, only
dropping their arrestor hook
as the approach the deck.
The egrets fly in solo
carefully circling, then
extending their landing gear
until they gently alight
and await their next mission
which will come with dawn.
Through it all the anhinga
perch on the bare branches,
offering their direction, happy
to play air traffic controller,
but the limpkins find
my whole metaphor foolish
and too loudly let me know.
Early this morning
the sky was pregnant
with the rain that would inundate
our afternoon, the sun
a struggling visitor then,
deciding the battle was lost
and sliding away behind the clouds.
It is afternoon now
and our thoughts
of the morning have
been washed away, the plants
no longer thirsty,
We live in a world
of never enough
and too much,
and we are allowed
to complain about this day,
which is the best reason not to.
The Royal Poinciana is in full bloom,
its brilliant flame has led the sun
to take jealous refuge in the clouds
but we know not to be complacent.
Mother nature it is said, and we
are loathe to argue, can be at times
the most fickle of bitches and we
suspect that it will not be long
before she brings forth still another
tropical storm, a tantrum in which
the jacaranda’s beauty must cede
to her repressed envy, scattered
at our feet, a warning, perhaps,
but nonetheless a moment of beauty
that even nature cannot deny us.
Along the shore, this morning,
the clouds piled up, refusing entry
to the promised sun, which hung back forlorn.
The waves charged onto the sand
like so many two year olds
in full tantrum, banging against
all in sight and retreating,
only to charge again, pushing away
any and all in their path.
The wind pummels the sand,
and as we walk along the street
the wind borne sand tears against our skin
urging us to take shelter,
reminding us that nature does
not bend to the weatherman, and will
from time to time play havoc
with their forecasts because
nature speaks, she never listens.