Thursday, July 28, 2016

Thursday Poem - Evening

The sky puts on the darkening blue coat
held for it by a row of ancient trees;
you watch: and the lands grow distant in your sight,
one journeying to heaven and one that falls;

and leave you not at home in either one,
not quite so still and dark as the darkened houses,
not calling to eternity with the passion
of what becomes a star each night, and rises;

and leave you (inexpressibly to unravel)
your life, with its immensity and fear,
so that, now bounded, now immeasurable,
it is alternately stone in you and star.

Rainer Maria Rilke
(translation by Stephen Mitchell)

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Wordless Wednesday - Jewel in Summer Stillness

Spatterdock or Yellow Pond Lily (Nuphar advena)

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Now We Are Ten

Happy tenth birthday to the dear little guy who has been our constant companion since he came to us as a two year old in late August, 2008.

Like most German shorthaired pointers (GSPs), Spencer is intelligent and very athletic.  He's a strong swimmer, and he runs like the wind, has oodles of endurance and is a perfect sidekick in the woods. On woodland rambles, he defends me fiercely against moths, dragonflies and grasshoppers, convinced that they are up to no good, and that I am in grave danger.

He likes to run off with socks and slippers, and he excavates gargantuan holes in the garden when the spirit moves him. He understands almost everything that is said around here, and it is difficult to put anything over on him.  His elegant nose sniffs out cookies, homemade gelato, bison burgers and Brie at a distance of several kilometres.  As a senior citizen, he has developed an expressive grumble, and he wanders around the house commenting on all he sees.

Our boy has a heart as wide as the world.  He loves us with every particle of his being, and we love him back with every particle of ours. Happy, happy birthday, Spencer and many more of them.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Sunday - Saying Yes to the World

Stars, too, were time travelers. How many of those ancient points of light were the last echoes of suns now dead? How many had been born but their light not yet come this far? If all the suns but ours collapsed tonight, how many lifetimes would it take us to realize we were alone? I had always known the sky was full of mysteries—but not until now had I realized how full of them the earth was.
Ransom Riggs, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Children of the Sun

Daylily (Hemerocallis spp.)

Friday, July 22, 2016

Friday Ramble - Fragile

This week's word comes to us from Old French, thence from the Latin fragilis or frangere meaning to break. Tucked somewhere in there is the Indo-European bhreg and the Gothic brikan, both meaning to shatter. In modern parlance, the word means easily broken, damaged, delicate, brittle, frail, vulnerable, flimsy, lacking body, strength or substance.

Fragile things are assumed to be anything except robust or bright, and not vibrant by any means, but it isn't necessarily so. Fragile, bright, robust, vibrant and strong are not mutually exclusive, and they abide harmoniously together. Could anything be more fragile and at the same time, more vibrant and brimming with life than humans and the earth we share, the journey we are on together?

This is a good week for musing about the word fragile in a Friday ramble. Within a few days of learning that my soulmate was cancer free, I learned that I too have cancer, and I will undergo surgery this coming Wednesday, the procedure to be followed by a month or two of radiation and some form of long term chemotherapy. I considered not saying anything here at all (loathed the idea of seeing the words in print or on a computer screen) but in the end, I decided to to spill the beans and try to do it without wailing, whining or being a utter wimp. It goes without saying that I have written this post over and over again and am still not happy with it.  It is difficult to write or talk of such matters without going into panic mode.

There is discomfort ahead, but there is comfort in knowing that no matter how unpleasant the next few weeks are, I can trounce this thing, and by golly, I am going to do just that.  I am fortunate in having a wonderful oncologist, and the support of family, colleagues, and friends both near and far. Although I feel fragile, frayed and somewhat tattered at the moment, that will pass, and I have crafted a mantra to get me through rough moments: I am stronger than this, and this is making me stronger. This weekend, Himself and Spencer and I will replenish our inner directives in the Lanark woods and on the shores of our favorite lake. There is comfort in wild places, and perhaps there will be herons.

Most of next week's blog posts will be written in advance, but I will be back as soon as I can, and out among the trees too.  I won't be able to carry a camera and big camera bag for a while, but I always knew that my DVDs of archived photos would come in handy some day. Well, here it is.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Thursday Poem - Sabbaths 1998, VII

(For John Haines)

There is a place you can go
where you are quiet,
a place of water and the light

on the water. Trees are there,
leaves, and the light
on leaves moved by air.

Birds, singing, move
among leaves, in leaf shadow.
After many years you have come

to no thought of these,
but they are themselves
your thoughts. There seems to be

little to say, less and less.
Here they are. Here you are.
Here as though gone.

None of us stays, but in the hush
where each leaf in the speech
of leaves is sufficient syllable

the passing light finds out
surpassing freedom of its way.

Wendell Berry
(from A Timbered Choir)

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Mead Moon of July

Shaggy gardens and hedgerows of maturing rosehips, fields of hay and ripening orchards, bees humming in the clover, the daisies and the goldenrod.

July's full moon is the second of the four "gathering" moons that grace the interval between June and September. The Summer Solstice has passed and daylight hours north of the equator are already waning.  It is still summer by any definition we can come up with, and it's a festive time - skies blue and flooded with sunshine by day, deep violet and star spangled by night.  This month's full moon is often a supermoon, but this year supermoons are happening in October, November and December.

Images captured on full moon nights sometimes resemble paintings when they are uploaded into the computer, and no matter how often that happens, it always comes as a surprise.  There is something about the velvety dome of a fine summer night that lends itself to lofty thoughts of journeying and exploration, to broad and sweeping brush strokes, to sky sailing galleons, airborne dragon boats and balloons.  Just being out  under a summer moon conveys a sense of connection that is hard to describe in words - it is just as the late Carl Sagan wrote so eloquently:

"The surface of the Earth is the shore of the cosmic ocean. On this shore, we've learned most of what we know. Recently, we've waded a little way out, maybe ankle-deep, and the water seems inviting. Some part of our being knows this is where we came from. We long to return, and we can, because the cosmos is also within us. We're made of star stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself."

Not so long ago, I scribbled a note to myself, a sticky mauve reminder to remember Carl Sagan's words and the star stuff within.  The thought is comforting and uplifting on days when serious health concerns seize the upper hand and leave me feeling somewhat fragile, crotchety and despondent.  The other uplifting thing to do (of course) is to mount a macro lens on the camera, grab backpack, notebook and pencil and go for a long ramble with Himself and Spencer.

We also know this magical moon as the: Blackberry Moon, Blessing Moon, Blueberry Moon, Buck Moon, Claim Song Moon, Corn Moon, Crane Moon, Daisy Moon, Fallow Moon, Feather Moulting Moon, Flying Moon, Grass Cutter Moon, Ground Burning Moon, Hay Moon, Heat Moon, Horse Moon, Humpback Salmon Return to Earth Moon, Hungry Ghost Moon, Index Finger Moon, Larkspur Moon, Lightning Moon, Little Harvest Moon, Little Moon of Deer Horns Dropping off, Little Ripening Moon, Lotus Flower Moon, Meadow Moon, Manzanita Ripens Moon, Midsummer Moon, Middle Moon, Middle of Summer Moon, Moon of Claiming, Moon of the Young Corn, Moon of Fledgling Hawk, Moon of Much Ripening, Moon of the Home Dance, Moon of the Middle Summer, Moon of Ripeness, Moon When Cherries Are Ripe, Moon When the Buffalo Bellow, Moon When People Move Camp Together, Moon When Limbs of Are Trees Broken by Fruit, Moon When Squash Are Ripe and Indian Beans Begin to Be Edible, Moon When Ducks Begin to Malt, Mountain Clover Moon, Peaches Moon, Raspberry Moon, Red Berries Moon, Red Blooming Lilies Moon, Return from Harvest Moon, Ripe Corn Moon, Ripening Moon, Rose Moon, Salmon Go up the Rivers in a Group Moon, Seventh Moon, Smokey Moon, Strong Sun Moon, Summer Moon, Sun House Moon, Thunder Moon, Warming Sun Moon, Water Lily Moon, Wattle Moon, Wort Moon

As full moon names go, I am rather fond of Blessing Moon, Blackberry Moon and Meadow Moon.