William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Smoke’

Crazy Old Widow

Over the rise, past the cemetery, through the orange grove in bloom, on the Sunday morning side of the barn, the old rusted car your uncle drove, weeds through the floor board, cracks in the wheel knob, heaven’s own smell, the slowest kind of smoke. “Heaven’s Own Smell” Recently Banned Literature, May 21, 2014 . Crazy Old Widow The crazy old widow keeps a vineyard of gnarled old men arms […]

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Smoke and Quicksand

Yesterday afternoon, after reading several chapters of Nella Larsen’s novel, Quicksand, I had put the book aside to rest my eyes when a question came to mind: how long, I wondered, has it been since I would rather be doing something else? As I thought about this, the days, weeks, and months of my strange quiet life quickly gave way to years — so it is, at least, that long. […]

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Water, Clear and Cold

The celebration of rain is past. The wind has changed. A great part of the moisture has been reclaimed by the sky gods. The air is smoky again. But it is not as smoky as before, at least here at ground level. Instead, there is a high haze thick enough to keep the sunny fall days several degrees cooler than they would be. One can feel the smoke. The robins […]

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Cold Beer on a Hot Day

This much I know: if we had a two- or three-story house, I would, with or without a stick-horse, be galloping up and down the stairs numerous times a day. As it is, having to stay inside due to the smoke, I take regular walks over the length and breadth of our dwelling for the exercise. It has become quite the meditation. In the mysterious atmosphere of family heirlooms and […]

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Contaminated Spirits

It’s well worth putting on a mask and spending a short time in the thick, hazardous smoke for the birds’ sake alone. As before, within minutes of refilling and refreshing the birdbath, I saw a robin vigorously splashing in the water. Even as I stood there with the hose, I heard him chirping not far above me in the birches. Found early in the first chapter of the January 1877 […]

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A Feather on the Scale

We’re told this morning that more than 900,000 acres of Oregon’s forests have been burned or are in the process of burning. We’re also told that ten percent of the state’s population has been evacuated to safer areas. The valley we live in is dense with smoke. The air quality readings are well into and beyond what is deemed hazardous. Yesterday evening our youngest son brought us two air purifiers […]

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Idle

Another hour spent outside watering in the smoke, which is much thicker this morning than yesterday. The air, though, is noticeably cooler. The windy time has passed; I saw several spiders calmly working on their webs. I also heard the squawking of a scrub jay, and a brief exchange between nuthatches. A squirrel caught my eye; like an ordinary pedestrian, it was making its way along the sidewalk across the […]

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The Mind of the Multitude

It’s darker now, at one in the afternoon, than it is on the darkest of winter days. At six this morning I walked slowly to the second stop sign and back, the air smoky, everything coated with ash. The walk took, I would guess, about seven minutes. Then I watered the plants and gave some of them a bath. They depend on me. They are where they are because I […]

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Everything and All

If the individual plants in our patch of grass were people or trees, how much space would they need to survive and thrive? They are a multitude. However, I walk through or in a forest or a crowd, and I walk on a lawn; I am small in one instance, large in another; a humble supplicant; the possessor of great strength and power. And always, I have a choice of […]

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Smoke and Robins

If it takes me as long to read Thoreau’s journal as it did for him to write it, I will never finish. I have, however, read the first four volumes. Ten remain. At the beginning of the fifth, he refers to himself as a mystic, transcendentalist, and natural philosopher, and says that in most cases he finds it best, or at least easiest, to let people think otherwise — that […]

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