Spring is on the way to Penobscot County, Maine although this
morning with snow just days away from May this might seem like a bit
of a stretch. So I probably should have located and reviewed Joyce
Sidman's Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold say a couple of months
earlier. Oh, well. I'm not going to wait half a year to share this
most delightful discovery.
For the many people, both child and adult, who wonder what
happens to animals in the harsh winter months Winter Bees gives some
intriguing answers. The book covers a span of time beginning when
fall is fading into winter and tundra swans feel the urge to migrate
and ends with the first warming, lengthening days of spring and
emergence of snow fleas. (Nope, not making that up.) In between
you'll read about the winter life styles of a number of fascinating
critters such as snakes, bees, and wolves. For each creature there is
a poem and sidebar of factual information. The poems are true gems.
The one for the winter bees begins:
"We are an ancient tribe,
a hardy scrum.
Born with eyelash legs
and tinsel wings,
we are nothing on our own.
Together, we are one..."
A snowflake waking up:
"...Drops into air,
and full, a lattice
of stars spinning
The sidebars have information that will interest children and teach
adults a thing or two. (I learned quite a bit and for the second time
this year picked up a vocabulary word, brumate.)
The colorful engravings that illustrate this most excellent
volume are nothing short of breath taking. An observant child will
notice that there is a handsome red fox somewhere in most of the
Winter Bees is a most excellent selection for April which is
around for much of next week and is, as I'm sure you know, poetry
month. (Whew! Good save for timing!)
On a personel note, today was one of the sure signs of spring
particular to this neck of the woods--the annual HOPE Festival. A
wide range of organizations devoted to making the world a better place
had tables. There were speeches, music, crafts, and fine food. Who
can ask for more? I was at the Orono Community Garden table most of
the time. But I had plenty of time to visit other tables. I saw old
friends and meet new people. It was wonderful. I always love HOPE
Festival. I've been going since I had babies in diapers.
A great big shout out to all fellow participants, especially Ilze,
Doug, and their gang who work for months to do all the planning,
execution, and publicity without which such a fine event could not
gladden people's hearts each and every year.
Julia Emily Hathaway
Sent from my iPod