This phenomenon, of smudge pots or wind machines trying to keep fragile trees (or grape vines) from freezing, has always made me think how small and ineffectual humans are in the face of the natural world. We do our best to believe we have control, but… I especially love how the poem ends…with a snap!
To the north, along Orange Blossom Trail
thick breath of sludge fires.
Smoke rises all night, a spilled genie
who loves the freezing trees
but cannot save them.
Snow fine as blown spiders.
The news: nothing.
Large rats breed on the beach
driving smaller ones here.
Today both traps sit sprung.
from Rush to the Lake (Cambridge, Alice James Books, 1988).