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Claire Bobrycki


Blue moon, Big Dipper
Sunflowers under porch lights
Peace on the South Side

I work in Auburn, and when I come home to Syracuse, I drive in through the city. I like to take different routes. Sometimes, I’ll drive through the south side, and there’s a house on Colvin, I believe, where they plant sunflowers every year.

One time I drove by, the beautiful sunflowers were there, the evening sky was clear, and the porch light was on and welcoming. Just a moment, a nice moment—not about problems or crime in the city neighborhoods… So I tried to amplify that feeling and point out something that is there every summer, but maybe we miss.

Breathe in—step, crunch, look.
Red, gold, orange, brown—breathe out
Fall in Syracuse

I like the transition seasons—spring and fall. Spring is the best, but fall is right up there, and it was fall when I wrote this. Fall is a very sensory time. You hear it, you feel it, and you see it, of course. It’s a huge gift—the big burst of color and enjoyment that nature gives up before we head for our famous winters here.

So I was trying to capture the idea of being really present—being in the moment on a fall day. Not wanting to be anywhere but here—Syracuse. Really enjoying it, celebrating it—a beautiful time.

Ten below zero
Chickadees go on chirping
Outside my window

Four or five years ago, in January, we had several days below zero, and it was just cold, cold, cold. I was feeling, “Why do I live here? Winter is so long, and just getting a little too challenging.”

Then I had one of those haiku moments. I looked outside the window, and there were chickadees on the frozen grapevines, chirping up a storm. And I was thinking, “Well, if they can chirp in that air, it can’t be so bad.” It was a sweet moment, and just lifted my spirits.

Cold hands, smoky breath
Brown trout jumping Nine Mile Creek
in the April dawn

Nine Mile Creek runs right through Camillus, where I grew up. It meanders around through Marcellus and Camillus—great place to fish.

My father was very big on trout fishing. It was something he picked up in retirement. He was the kind of person who would throw himself into whatever interest he had, and become very enthusiastic about it. His passion was catching and got me into it.

Opening day is April 1st. So it’s likely to still be cold, especially in the early morning, and there’s that excitement of getting out there and seeing the fish jump. Wow, it’s officially spring and life is happening!

Steamy summer night—
ribs smokin', guitars wailin'
Blues Fest makes it right

I’m a fan of the blues, and I like going downtown for Blues Fest. I love the feeling of the city being very alive, and of people being together, enjoying music.

Syracuse is a great town for the blues, because the blues are about overcoming adversity. Syracusans tend to be that way—have a strong endurance. With the harsh weather and so forth, you need a lot of endurance.

I also play a little blues guitar, just for fun. It’s sort of like haiku. You’ve got the blues scale. The lead part and the riffs are all within that framework—the scale—but there’s so much variety in how they’re played. The same thing in haiku: there’s that structure, and in that structure, infinite variety is possible.

Long drive, weary eyes—
Cityscape lights the night sky
Syracuse, I'm home!

Driving north on I-81, you get to that hilly country around Lafayette. You reach the crest of a hill, and then you see, at night, the lights of Syracuse. It’s lovely, especially after a long journey—really lit up. I feel like Dorothy finally getting to Emerald City.

You know, it’s a local pastime to grouse about Syracuse—the weather, etc. But a lot of people I’ve heard say they like this homecoming view of the city. Every time I drive that stretch at night, I have the same feeling: Yeah, I live here, this is my city and I’m glad to be home.


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