Snow pulls the cedar fence apart, pushes it slant. Grey crossbars, twenty years old, rest on each other, make less than signs. Where spikes once held, there are pale ovals with dark holes.
In the spring melt-water, a red ribbon undulates and rides, then stops to dangle in the grate of a storm drain. The water rushes over the edges, gurgles and flows to the river.
Damp earth and dried oak leaves smell of mold and dog poop. The air tastes warm with a hint of ice.
On the spring wind, pale dry maple leaves rise rattling to trace the walls of the house, twirl and descend again. Bleached, broken bits of wisteria vine crisscross in brittle heaps, on a thawed patch of garden beside the pergola.
The magnolia bark, brown-speckled-grey, has tawny splits, rips where limbs broke with the weight of snow. Wounded branches hang and swing, still attached by wood's fibers. They tug and rub, creak in the wind. Squall-torn magnolia buds, encased in hairy brown, skitter across the crust of snow.
These observations, descriptive and objective are part of a homework assignment from an online course I am following. It is a challenge to keep the observations free of metaphor and added imagery.
I am enjoying the reminders to be a keen observer, using all of my senses, in order to gather the word materials to create poetry.
Good reminders. Good self-discipline.