The Dream of the Marsh Wren: Reciprocal Creation
By Pattiann Rogers
The marsh wren, furtive and tail-tipped,
by the rapid brown blurs of his movements
makes sense of the complexities of sticks
and rushes. He makes slashes and complicated
lines of his own in mid-air above the marsh
by his flight and the rattles of his incessant
calling. He exists exactly as if he were a product
of the pond and the sky and the blades of light
among the reeds and grasses, as if he were
deliberately willed into being by the empty
spaces he eventually inhabits.
And at night, inside each three-second
shudder of his sporadic sleep, understand
how he creates the vision of the sun
blanched and barred by the diagonal juttings
of the weeds, and then the sun as heavy
cattail crossed and tangled and rooted
deep in the rocking of its own gold water
and then the sun as suns in flat explorsions
at the bases of the tule. Inside the blink
of his eyelids, understand how he composes
the tule dripping sun slowly in gold rain
off its black edges, and how he composes
gold circles widening on the blue surface
of the sun's pond, and the sharp black
slicing of his wing rising against the sun,
and that same black edge skimming the thin
corridor of gold between sky and pond.
Imagine the marsh wren making himself
inside his own dream. Imagine the wren,
created by the marsh, inside the marsh
of his own creation, unaware of his being
inside this dream of mine where I imagine
he dreams within the boundaries of his own
fixed black eye around which this particular
network of glistening weeds and knotted
grasses and slow-dripping gold mist
and seeded winds shifting in waves of sun
turns and tangles and turns itself completely
inside out again here composing me
in the stationary silence of its only existence.
I've posted this before but I love the poem and I'm in the mood for Rogers, so you get it again.
We spent nearly all of our eighteenth wedding anniversary at Yellowstone National Park, hiking many miles around the Upper Geyser Basin, Black Sand Basin, Midway Geyser Basin, Firehole Lake, and Fountain Paint Pots, where (among far too many highlights to list) we saw the huge filigreed cone of Grotto Geyser, the brilliant colors of the Grand Prismatic Spring and Morning Glory Pool, the erratic spitting of Cliff Geyser, the enormous deep blue Excelsior Geyser Basin, the brilliant green Emerald Pool, the well-named Red Spouter and White Cone Geyser, plus bison, elk, chipmunks, woodchucks, ravens, extremophile spiders, and the glory of a park I first saw in 1992 ravaged by fire, now covered in small green pines and brush hiding and living off the remains of fallen trees.
In this part of the park, geysers and colorful pools of near-boiling water are often in close proximity, bleaching other landscape features.
This is the large cone of Castle Geyser, which pours out steam all day long. Unfortunately it was not scheduled to erupt until evening, which annoyed younger son.
Wave Spring produces steam that swirls in a tornado pattern! In this photo you can also see the wonderful mix of burned old forest and young trees replacing them throughout the park.
Punch Bowl Spring, about 12 feet across, bubbles like this fairly constantly. The raised concretion around it is called a sinter.
The spectacular colors of Morning Glory Pool are partially obscured by its steam. The color of each pool indicates both the water temperature and the types of minerals and bacteria inside.
The Red Spouter is a fairly new geyser in the Fountain Paint Pots, churning red-brown mud on a rapid cycle.
The Grand Prismatic Spring, whose extreme heat causes the brilliant blue color at the center. The red-orange edges are created by the bacteria mat that thrives in the hot runoff.
As is becoming something of a tradition, we had our romantic anniversary dinner at a fast food restaurant...at least this year it was a Subway in Montana en route to our destination for the evening in Idaho, rather than a McDonalds in Denver because we'd had a flight cancelled. We drove through the Gallatin National Forest and paralleled the Teton Range before entering Idaho's Island Park, one of the largest calderas in the world, which is filled with wetlands, streams and plenty of wildlife, including herons and a weasel. Sadly, the moose were hiding!