The Plunge — A Dream

The Plunge.jpg

“The Plunge” — C.Birde, 4/17

Climbing, climbing, climbing. One step at a time. Ever upward. The rise and fall of my steps easy over rough ground and patchy turf. Cool air moves passed my lips. I inhale the night, fill my lungs, exhale. Each breath is as smooth and rhythmic as my gait. Still, I climb. Tireless. A modern-day Sisyphus, with no stone to push, yet no end in sight.

Climbing, climbing. Step after step.  Up and up. With nary an aching limb or rapid beat of heart. Grass gives way to patchy snow — a haphazard quilt of green and white. Until the snow’s mantle consumes the slope, uninterrupted. And  when, at last, I reach the top, my step neither slows nor falters — not to consider the path chosen, or exult in quiet isolation at the climb accomplished; not to take in the view of the vast night sky from the peak.

I simply — easily, one foot after another — step off the edge…

…as effortlessly and as resolutely as I had climbed…

…without quickening pulse or gasp of breath…

…and tumble down…

…through endless…




— C.Birde, 4/17


Quietude — A Poem


in the woods today  —

but for vermillion rush of Maples’ budding,

and wind scraping Autumn from pale Beech leaves,

and reverberating chorus of Spring Peepers’ awakening,

and whisk of garter snake slipping past pond’s lips,

and chipmunk calling the season to order,

and rain of woodpecker’s laughter.

All quiet,

in the woods today —

but for my intruding step,



— C.Birde

Quiet Tourne Pond, March 2016.jpg

“Tourne Pond” — C.Birde, 3/16



Witness — A Poem

Hawk and Sparrow —

along the fallow edge they flew,

with wings and talons slicing

that perimeter unseen.

A dance of opposition —

capture and escape;

Unison of hearts intent

and beating.

Flash of yellow,

thrust of taloned legs —

Sparrow cries alarm.

Wings meshing,

beating earth and air.

Confusion of color —

ivory, woodland rusts and browns.

But Hawk cannot extract his prize,

cannot pull it under, out, and up

and lift away in flight.

Release is unexpected —

talons unclutch and liberate;

Sparrow streaks to ruffled safety

within the bristle of nearby hedge.

Beyond separating glass —

among fenced and netted stones

of slumbering, tongueless garden —

Nature’s urgent tug and pull


and I am Witness.

— C.Birde


Created with Nokia Smart Cam

“Hawk’s Calling Card” — C.Birde, 1/16







Apple of Change — A Dream

I’ve lost the apple, can’t find it any where. I describe it to them — such a remarkable apple! How could I have lost it?  So unusual. Perfect in its imperfection. Though its one side was misshapen, the other held the profile of a man, of Abraham Lincoln.

“Is this it?”

He hands an apple to me. Can it be? the one I dropped and lost mere moments ago? Yes! The weight of it fills my palm. I hold the curve of crisp fruit in my left hand between thumb and forefinger, and turn it back and forth to behold again its remarkable shape.

But…it’s changing…losing its blush of red and green hues; softening beneath my fingers’ grip. Slowly, it reshapes itself into something fleshy, pallid, disturbing. No longer an apple, I now hold what looks like a shrunken, knobby  head. A mashed face that sprouts mismatched ears. The narrow spaces behind those ears are filthy with crud. Beneath my fingers, the head moves and shifts and wriggles. Features still uncertain, it stares back at me with dark, bead-bright eyes. No longer a thing of wonder, it is now utterly repulsive.

Created with Nokia Smart Cam

“Apple Abe” — C.Birde, 12/15

Concurrences — A Poem

The air is sweet with toasted leaves

and glass-cool breeze against

my cheek.

While time unspools in eddying pools

and restless heaps about

my feet,

I walk through snapshots,

unsorted frames

of pasts and presents, overlaid —

Autumn picnics,

lone, caged bears,

peaked and slender monuments;

Alter-egos handed

candy, cider,

popcorn balls;

Raking seas of leaves

in mountainous heaps,

and leaping;

Hikes through mazes,

tall and golden;

Small hands growing,

letting go;

A hundred knocks and more

upon our door

in a single night —

My aging, ageless self sees

each image simultaneous;

Concurrent moments captured

amid the blaze of Autumn-colored



Created with Nokia Smart Cam

“Autumn Leaves” — C.Birde, 11/1/15

The Tarn Trail (Kane Path) — A Truth

Boulders for stepping stones pressed

against the Tarn’s edge;

Smooth waters dimpled and pocked

with browned lily pads and

rusted grasses rippled

by insistent breeze;

Break upon woodland

of lump-barked ashes,

rough maples and fine-needled pines

lit by fleet, dappled light;

Rock- and root-strewn path

of hard-packed earth

carpeted with fallen leaves

undulating, wave-like;

The air, wildflower scented —

asters, goldenrods, and hawkweed;

Leopard frog amidst the leaf mould;

All sounds of humanity,

except our own,

fallen away.


The Tarn 9.15

Follow-Up to Wrong Number, Wrong Location — A Nightmare Dissected

Last night, I discussed the dream in my previous post with a dear friend of mine. She is familiar with Jungian Dream Analysis and knows me well enough to apply her ability and insights to my zany dreams. Having her objective viewpoint to help decode my dreams has been a real gift over past years. I tend to get so caught up in a dream’s narrative and detail, I’m often unable to see its symbolic language, which was particularly true in this instance.

My friend pointed out that during our recent conversations, I had said specifically that I felt “cut off” from my son. In mid-August, he began his sophomore year of college, and for numerous reasons, I thought it would be easier to adapt to his absence this year than last. Having a year under our belts and being familiar with the terrain now has overall decreased any anxiety we previously had experienced. He is a good fit for his college of choice, and all that that entails, including the friendships he’s made there. I had assumed, since there were fewer unknowns this year, that the transition would be easier.  But ease is no replacement for presence. I miss him.

Seen from this perspective, my dream’s symbology makes much more sense. It was populated exclusively by women — a small group of nurses, and many other female patients who were grieving and pained, having had whole or partial mastectomies. Women nurse their children at the breast. These women had been literally cut off — precisely the phrase I have been using when I describe how I miss my son.

I still miss my son, but now the dream’s disturbing imagery has been diluted and translated into something I can understand. I am grateful to my friend for her keen perception. And I am very grateful to my husband, who suggested the tonic to help alleviate my sense of distance and disconnect — FaceTime.

Wrong Number, Wrong Location — A Nightmare

White-tiled floors, white-walled corridors. I push through the Hospital’s double doors and arrive at a busy nurses’ station. All the women behind the counter are dressed in blue scrubs, and one harried individual looks up at me. I tell her I’m here for my mammogram appointment. For a moment, all activity stops as the women stare. One checks a clipboard for my name, and doubtfully asks when I made my appointment. My answer doesn’t suit the question; I tell her I’m overdue and found the number in the phone book. She is surprised to find my name on the list, calls one of the other nurses to take me to my room.

My guide leads me briskly through another double door that swings shut behind us as we enter a large, dim area. There are rows of beds here, lined up against the curving walls, and each bed is curtained off in the same dull, flat blue of the nurses’ scrubs. I must hurry, or the nurse will outpace me, but I notice that in each bed we speed by lies a sobbing woman. Many of them clutch pillows to themselves in obvious pain. Most, if not all, wear dressing gowns soaked through with blood. The aisle we hurry down is haphazardly cluttered with tables, each of which contains a shallow, aged-white vessel that resembles a large, elongated marrow bone. The vessels vary slightly in shape and size, but each holds a dusky-pink liquid that bubbles and pops like thickened mud.

In an instant, I realize all these women have had mastectomies, full or partial. When I looked up the phone number to make my appointment, I must inadvertently have dialed the breast cancer unit. I’m stunned. So much pain and suffering. Why is no one helping with the patients’ pain? Why haven’t proper sterilization protocols been used? I do not belong here.

The nurse stops in front of an occupied bed — a woman lies in the fetal position, hugging a pillow to herself. She registers our presence through her pain and tears, and gingerly crawls from the bed. Her look at me is poisonous. The nurse tells me I must wait here, in this rumpled bed with its tangle of blood-stained linens. She hands me a lead-lined wrap to protect me when I am eventually x-rayed. On the back of the wrap, written hastily in clumsy block letters, is the word “maggot”.