Sunday, August 13, 2006

Howard Nemerov (1920-1991)

I've subscribed to 'Poem of the Week' and they just sent this truly beautiful poem. It reminded me of the photo that I took last November. We'd had our first 'hard water' day and the sparrows looked so disconsolate. When I encounter a poem that so perfectly captures the sense of something I wonder how I ever find the nerve to pick up my pen (er, laptop) again.

'Because You Asked About the Line
Between Prose and Poetry

Sparrows were feeding in a freezing drizzle
That while you watched turned into pieces of snow
Riding a gradient invisible
From silver aslant to random, white, and slow.

There came a moment that you couldn't tell.
And then they clearly flew instead of fell

. . . . . .
(Rather lovely, eh?)

Bun Fuzz

Fungus parasitizing fungus. It's all part of the rotten world around us without which we'd be buried in plant and animal material. If you thought that mushrooms were fusty and dull click Here for some wonderful photos. Take a look at a few of mycology's subjects and I'm certain you'll be as hooked as I. Someday I'm going to post my time lapse of omphalotus illudens (olearius) It glowed!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Indian Pipes - Henry's Tobacco Pipes

A century and a half later this relative of the blueberry is just as interesting as it is illusive in the efforts to identify and name it.
This from Greg's 'The Blog of Henry David Thoreau':

Thoreau's Journal: 30-Jul-1853

The tobacco-pipe has also pushed up there amid the dry leaves in the shade. It is abundant now, and here. Both stem and flowers and scales are a pure and delicate crystalline white. What to name it? Sheathed with delicate white scales.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Ocean Effects

Nothing profound. I just wanted to post some of my favorite summer pictures before the autumnal equinox eclipses the memories of tidal flats, stranded shells and my kid-sister's pretty nail polish. That margin between vast water and solid land is fascintaing.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

'Now' Reflected & Refracted

When you face this moment of life with full consciousness, the miracle happens. The mind stops and suddenly you are aware, silent and at peace. You enter the fire of Now.
Put aside your ideas about the ultimate truth and experience reality directly.
These photos record photons of the reflected visible light of the electromagnetic spectrum. (Plato's cave shadows?) They in turn have bounced from clouds and trees and air molecules to ultimately collect on my retina. The rest is pure mystery. Yes, even more so, the pleasure it all provides. To watch water magic go to Bonita's 'Flitzy Phoebie Blog and watch her canoe videos. Entrancing.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Nibbled and Frayed

Annie Dillard, in her 1975 Pulitzer Prize winning book Pilgrim At Tinker Creek, wrote:"I am a frayed and nibbled survivor in a fallen world, and I am getting along. I am aging and eaten and have done my share of eating too. I am not washed and beautiful, in control of a shining world in which everything fits, but instead am wondering awed about on a splintered wreck I've come to care for, whose gnawed trees breathe a delicate air, whose bloodied and scarred creatures are my dearest companions, and whose beauty bats and shines not in its imperfections but overwhelmingly in spite of them..." The butterflies I've been watching are looking a little weary - still, they delight.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Bugs and Those Who Love Them

This regarding the poetic effect of a bug voice on Henry David Thoreau. His Aug. 4, 1851 entry from Greg's 'The Blog of Henry David Thoreau':

"As my eye rested on the blossom of the meadow-sweet in a hedge, I heard the note of an autumnal cricket, and was penetrated with the sense of autumn. Was it sound? or was it form? or was it scent? or was it flavor? It is now the royal month of August. When I hear this sound, I am dry as the rye which is everywhere cut and housed, though I am drunk with the season'’s wine."

You've felt yourself respond emotionally to this chorus. I wonder why responses like these have been selected for - what possible adaptive value in this?

August is all about insect noise: Tree cicada,cricket, katydid. All that chirping, buzzing protein draws its corollary in the consumer aisle - I didn't manage a picture of cicada killers. They're fast, scary and ugly.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

A Little Coincidence

In Thursday's Queen Anne's Lace post I noticed the suggestion of a shed in the background. Sorting through this year's Cape Cod pictures I found this picture of the Umbrella Walker. It's the same shed, but taken ten years apart. The Queen Anne's Lace was taken with my 35mm camera,this one with my Canon digital. Both were taken at the Fort Hill promontory on Cape Cod, probably the prettiest view on the Cape as at sunset you're high above Nauset Marsh and the town of Orleans. The marsh glows as you look toward the ocean beyond. I was facing inland for these photos. There's the loveliest homestead there and the Captain Penniman House that was built by its namesake, the captain of a whaler.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Queen Anne's Lace

Katherine Hepburn loved to bring arm-fulls of Queen Anne's Lace into her home. It occurs to me that that I've never collected it for indoors and I don't know why. I've always loved it, fiddled with it on my walks - even photographed it as you see above. Hmmmm. But why not bring it indoors? I think I know. It's been such a long time since I'd tried to gather it that I'd forgotten. It doesn't want to leave the beauty at the meadow's edge, the light brush of the shy doe as she pauses to check the field for safe passage. Try to pluck the wild carrot and find a stalk so tough and fibrous that your hands lose heart in the task. Try! (Take some tough old shears if you're determined to have it snowing on your mantel in August:0)

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


I love the physical expression of the kid on the Cape Cod shoreline. It just shouts 'Whoa!' I wonder if he thought the parasailor was going to make unintentional landfall at his feet. The heat index here is in the 100's today. That rooster tail of 65' ocean spray looks so refreshingly cool.