Posts Tagged ‘wildlife’

“Morning”, a new poem.

June 14, 2014

(a small watercolor of fruit trees in the back yard)

This spring is so beautiful.  We have torn up the back yard and planted grass seed, trimmed bushes, taken down fences, planted more roses and the grass is lush and green.  In all these years here I haven’t had a rolling swath of green that extends to the far boundaries of the property. Beyond is a woods and we are visited by raccoons, foxes, wild turkey, hawks, rabbits:  this is an urban area, three miles from downtown Atlanta, but the wildlife hasn’t gotten the memo.  The trees are heavy with peaches, apples and pears, though the beans didn’t come up in the garden.  The tomatoes are running amuck and the black berries and blue berries are busting their boundaries.  Even the grapes, usually dormant, have heavy chandeliers of pale green fruit under the leaves.

I go out with my tea in the morning and the birdsong is amazing.  The day may get complicated, but the morning is calm, peaceful and turns my thoughts to a gratitude for these simple blessings.

Lady Nyo





A wedge of sullen moon

Pales above

As life awakes beneath.


Birdsong threads through

Trees, a staccato cacophony

Anointing the air

Like colored ribbons

Weaving back and forth

The timbre ever changing.


Green spring trees, tender, tender

An early nursery of life

Can anything be wrong with the world?


The hammock swings gently of its own accord

Perhaps a haunt, a ghost invisible.


Faint gunshots far in the distance last night

Where some would

Impose their vile humanity

Startling for a moment

Until sleep reclaims.

So it goes, this is the city.


The hoot of a sleepy owl in the morning

Echoes the cry of a distant train

While seed pods from maple trees

Flutter to the ground.


We have survived the dark,

It’s blackened mysteries,

Alien things that rattle us.

We are cradled in Nature’s promise

Of life beginning again each morning

While the moon above yawns, fades and disappears.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2014

“A Reason For The Season”, posted for OneShotPoetryWednesdays

December 28, 2010

I posted this in the beginning of December and thought it a good sentiment to end the month and the year.

Merry Christmas, or the politically correct form: Happy Holidays, though the Winter Solstice is in there somewhere.

Lady Nyo


I saw the Cooper’s hawk this morning. She landed on the chimney pot, probably looking for my miniature hen, Grayson. Four years ago she was a starving fledgling who mantled over while I fed her cold chicken. She’s back this holiday, my spirits lifting. A good Christmas present.

In the middle of the commercialization of Christmas, Nature closes the gap. I have noticed squirrels with pecans in mouths leaping the trees, hawks hunting low over now-bare woods, unknown song birds sitting on fences, heard the migration of Sandhill cranes as they honk in formation. You hear their cacophony well before they appear. Their chiding cries float down to upturned faces.

There is brightness to the holly, washed by our late autumn rains and the orange of the nandina berries has turned crimson. Smell of woodsmoke in the air and the crispness of mornings means the earth is going to sleep. We humans should reclaim our past and our fecal plugs and join the slumber party of our brother bears.

Jingle Bells will fade and our tension with it. Looking towards deep winter when the Earth is again silent will restore our balance and calm nerves with a blanket of peace.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2008, 2010

Floods of Georgia

September 24, 2009
A week's worth of violent and constant rains in Georgia swamped and flooded half of the state

A week's worth of violent and constant rains in Georgia swamped and flooded half of the state

I received emails and phone calls from friends and readers of this blog concerned about us, and about the rains and destruction in Georgia.

We are fine. We are blessed. We were very, very fortunate.  Except for some new-found holes in the roofs and some spots in the ceilings which can be fixed….and 6 inches of rain in the basement, (taken care of intermittently by a sump pump and a dehumidifer)  and strange mold in a wooden fruit bowl sans fruit….we were lucky.

Old Atlanta is hilly.  We live in Old Atlanta.  The suburbs and some of the lower lying areas were hit hard with a constant week of rain.  In 24 hours we received  10.25 inches…and that was on top of already over saturated ground.

Other areas were not so lucky.  Streams became rivers, ponds and lakes overflowed and creeks did the same.  There was so much rushing water that houses were pushed off their foundations.  Nine people so far have died….including a toddler and a teen and a young mother who was washed away in her minivan while calling 911.  Property damage runs into the billions.

The weather was very strange before the flood.  A week of gray skies and just a heavy lowering of clouds and sentiments.  It was GLOOMY.  Then the rains started, and they were violent and forceful. They were not the usual fall rains which are more gentle, but constant and actually scary rains.  Back yards flooded out and front yards, too.  We live on a hill, half way down, so we got water from the top but it rushed to the main street.  The storm sewers couldn’t take the amount of water and overflowed.

But that was more minor.  Outlying farms, settlements, developments, neighborhoods were flooded with 4-5 foot water lines in the first floors of their houses.  Forget about basements…People lost everything as mud stayed when the water receeded.  Canoes and boats were the only transportation in and out of some subdivisions.  137 roads were destroyed or closed.  Schools and other businesses are still closed.  Many trees toppled onto houses and across roads, weakened by the former drought years.  Many areas have ‘boil water’ advisories.

People had no way to get out of their subdivisions and had to stay home for days.  Power was cut off in many of these communities, adding to the misery, because of  the potential fire hazards.  One house burned to the ground, in the midst of 4 feet of water, with a fire engine standing about 50 feet from it. The firemen couldn’t get to it, the rushing water was so violent.

At a time when so many have lost their jobs, their houses to mortgage issues, and a general malaise surrounds a formerly hopeful population, to be hit in such a way with this flooding is just too much to bear.  But people are out cutting trees from neighbors roofs, others are volunteering their time and muscle to cleaning up and salvaging anything they can for others.   There has been no reports of looting, and this is a further blessing.  The damage is so widespread across northern and eastern Georgia it’s almost impossible to take in.

The poor and the elderly suffer the most in these events, but I am also thinking of the wildlife, the stock of farms and domestic animals.  9 pups were caught in the flood….some were rescued and saved…others weren’t.  Many chained dogs in backyards were killed by the flooding because streams and creeks overflowed fast and in some cases, people were trying to salvage their own lives and animals were forgotten.

The rain was so hard and constant that it beat the tomatoes off the vines in the garden, flattened ginger and even killed a watermelon vine and the fruits attached.  The only creatures that were happy through all this were our goldfish in our small pond.

But Georgians are a tough people.  Kind, generous and inventive.  We will recover as a state.  There is no one not touched by some tragedy of the past week, either personally or by family/friend route, but this too shall pass.

Tuesday we had the first day of sunshine in two weeks, and it was marvelous.  I kept looking upwards, looking for storm clouds, but the blue sky was tender and extensive.  The warmth pouring down on a sodden ground was a benediction for all that had passed…and though we expect more rain soon, it was a welcome gift.

Thank you for all your expressed concern.  We are fine, and except for some strange mildew in the house, and mushrooms upon mushrooms outside in the gardens…we were very fortunate.

The best had wings or fins last week.  I have no poem appropriate to this flood, except one to a Redtailed Hawk who took up residence around our property  these last few years.  Seeing him fly over the woods and kudzu patches reminds me that life is full of tragedy, but also full of wonder.

Lady Nyo


Chicken Hawk!
Leave my chickens alone!
I have worked hard for them,
A handmaiden of fowl,
Collecting beautiful eggs
The gift of the species
Naturally dyed
Pink, brown, blue-green and white.
Presented at Easter,
A symbol of the Lamb of God,
And the Spring of Life.

Leave my chickens alone, hawk.
I won’t even share.

I remember, two short years ago,
When I first saw you wheeling over the kudzu
Riding the thermals,
Not even graced with the brick colored tail

of a Proper Redtailed hawk,

And I gasped at your splendor, a winged god
From the cosmos, glittering white ash against a cobalt sky,
And you landed one day in my birdbath,
Trying to look like a stone sculpture,
And just the flicker of your 8x eyes
Looked over the songbirds for lunch.

Jane Kohut-Birdtells
Copyrighted, 2009

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