winter umbrellas --
hard rain turns the gravel hills
into slippery slides
Mid-December, thunder and lightning, hard rain all night, still falling lightly all day. I exchange snow boots for rain boots and set forth covered by a rainbow umbrella. No sign of sunken ice in Pilgrim Creek, which is running fast and full with muddy brown water. The glaze of ice on our roads is gone, washed away, along with sand and gravel, turning the hills into slippery mud slides gouged with braided channels that look like river deltas. As I creep up a hill in low gear, a mouse the color of the gray mud streaks across in front of me, skinny tail sticking straight out. Though completely wet, the tiny creature with its little claws has far better traction on the slick road than I do. In town, wet umbrellas left open in the lobby of the student center blossom like brilliant flowers.