Saturday, December 30, 2006

More Of The Same Please

As I look toward the New Year - I hope I'll be 'Looking Up' - both literally and figuratively. I don't know who this entranced birder is, but I know what she's doing. She's (ahem) looking up and hoping for beauty, mystery and someone beside her to whom she can turn and with whom she can share the joy of discovery. For us blogging fanatics that someone is not infrequently a blogging buddy with whom we've made a friendly connection based on shared philosophy or the joy of exploration and learning or just the delight of a good chuckle. Yes, even a shared tear, now and then.

I missed my first blogging anniversary - December 29th. Wow that went fast in some ways and in others seems like a very long time.

At my age, looking toward the New Year - I really don't have large, elaborate goals - only a grateful heart for so much that is good in my life - and the quiet, hopeful request for more of the same - please. My warmest wishes to my blogging friends for much love, light and laughter in the New Year.

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Imperious Tree

Bev at Burning Silo keeps posting informative and whimsical pieces. Her latest about trees with interesting sizes, shapes and histories reminded me of a tree I photographed the autumn before last in our local metroparks. He really had an attitude that I couldn't resist. I had a little spare time on my hands so I dropped a bird on his cheek to give him something to pout about. (Long-time blogging friends may remember this :0)

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Friday, December 29, 2006

"If You Would Keep Your Spirits Up"

This from the December 25th entry in Greg's The Blog of Henry David Thoreau:

"Take long walks in stormy weather or through deep snows in the fields and woods, if you would keep your spirits up. Deal with brute nature. Be cold and hungry and weary."

That's the Cooper's Hawk a nano second after I took the picture I featured in yesterday's boo-hoo post. If you've not perused Thoreau's journal - do so. Beauty and wisdom and the big one: acceptance - of things as they are. I guess that includes dove-eating hawks. Sigh.

Addendum: Best info I've ever found on distinguishing Cooper's from Sharpies

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Mourning My Mourning Doves

Well I suspect that this Cooper's Hawk is the cause of the paucity of Mourning Doves at my feeders. Several had visited my patio and feeders all summer and fall. Suddenly - there are none. Don't, please, try to console me with the 'Circle Of Life' stuff. Intellectually I'm on board with that, but those gentle doves (yes, anthropomorphism operating here - big time) shuffling about and pecking at the spilled seed - made me smile. This fellow - doesn't. I admire his fire and beauty, but those red eyes say it all.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Snow - please.

Sure could use a little dusting of white today. After the intense socializing for days and days the post-Christmas blahs are settling in around me. It's damp and gloomy. My son and husband are discussing computer stuff. (Borrrrinngg ) I'd love to turn on the TV and lose myself in an old black and white fantasy, but my sweet heart doesn't love them as I do - and I am getting a foot rub - so I'll just sit here tapping away trying to conjure goose down snowflakes filling the air, covering the bare ground and giving my heart a happy, glittery song.

The painting is Claude Monet's The Magpie - maybe my favorite Monet canvas.

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Friday, December 22, 2006

Merry Christmas!

I leave my blog in the care of this kindly gentleman for the next few days as we travel to family. Certainly the spirit of Christmas as represented by Santa Claus in all his incarnations, embodies the best that is in us. Good cheer and generosity are the calling card he's left in the hearts of us oldsters who will always retain a bit of our youthful wonder and exictement during this beautiful season of giving and sharing. Safe travels if you're traveling and above all may you find peace and joy as you gather with those whom you Love. Merry Christmas. (That's my Christmas banner backlit by the Sun)

Spider Silk in December

In the heart of December - gossamer spider silk glittered across the lawn of the local gardens. It's been a blessedly mild December, but still it's December and one must ask why spiderlings would hatch and send their traveling streamers into a seductive late-year breeze. Mystery. Any ideas?

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Happy Winter Solstice!

Happy Solstice friends~ We did it! Now we turn the corner. Yes, we welcome winter. There may be cold and snow ahead (consider Denver, today) but - the days will grow longer with the promise of new beginnings as the New Year arrives. I snapped this picture of my snowman banner two weeks ago as it was beautifully backlit by the low Sun. That's the garden lattice making patterns on his visage.

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Mary's Snow Angel

This is that giddy time of year when little spirit incarnations smile from roof tops, Christmas trees, candles, greeting cards and in this photo - from my potted geranium and aspargus fern. My friend Mary made this pale, but sanguine snow angel.
If you celebrate Christmas look around you. Lots of glittery, fluffy, stitched and painted smiles, eh? Hmmm. Maybe over the millenia in these dark days around the solstice, our ancestors found comfort in creating legends and myths of helpful spirits to push back the darkness and the sense of isolation that accompanies it. Just a thought, but look around you :0)

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Knot Holes

Burning Silo
posted a funny piece about knot holes in a park latrine. The next day I was walking across a bridge in our local park. It's suspended a good 40+ feet above a ravine. The planks are narrow and not very thick and you can feel them giving under your feet. I looked down and saw that one of them had 3 knot holes through which you could easily see the ground below. Hmmmm. Maybe a little patch work in order here.

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Monday, December 18, 2006

Solstice Shadows

There is a kind of stark beauty in the woods this time of year. A sunny day like today with fairly mild temperatures, softens the sense of loss that can accompany these solstice days. The warmth of sunlight on my face was reassuring. Only 3 more days 'til the happy knowledge that the Sun starts north once again.

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Sunday, December 17, 2006

Venus Transit


This is our sun. It was no where in evidence in northwest Ohio today. So I'm posting this April 2004 photo in which I captured the silhouette of Venus crossing the face of our star. I used my binoculars to focus the event on a paper plate on my car's windshield.

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Saturday, December 16, 2006

Northern Lights

A John Vandehei took this picture of the Aurora Borealis in Galesburg Michigan on the 14th. I was in Michigan sitting on the edge of a farm field just like this. He got the photo I regreted missing as I forgot to throw the camera in my car after my son emailed me that I might look up since a strong geomagnetic storm was being reported. I saw skies very similar to this. Imagine a couple Geminid metorites streaking through it and you've got the effect - a bit of the wonder of our solar system.

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Light and Dark

This morning the sun struck this Great Horned Owl picture over my couch. I hung it there years ago during my owl phase. It occurs to me that when your body is vital and the far horizon is still obscure and life is mostly filled with promise - owls are exciting - dangerous. Perhaps like the poetry of Louise Gluck. (Couldn't resist this, Casey:0) Today, I wish I'd purchased one of Basil Ede's gentler canvases - a heron, perhaps - some gentle wading bird that feeds on mollusks and fish - nothing with fur and warm blood.

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Friday, December 15, 2006

Daffodil Bones

Ruh-roh. I'm praying for snow. If my husband comes home and sees what those rascally squirrels have done to his daffodil bulbs . . . . Oh, this could get ugly. He spent a good half day last week during a relatively mild afternoon getting these things planted - late, yes - but they were in the ground and he came in puffing and tracking dirt through the house and grinning as he folded me under his arm to come stand beside him and just imagine the beauty we could anticipate come April. Ruh-roh.

Addendum: Dec. 17 - My husband discovered the languishing bulbs. He came through the door muttering about a shotgun. He's mourning the loss of his dream of April blooms :0(

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Light of Another Color

I was out till 9:30 tonight ( that would have been last night) watching the Northern Lights. My son called to say that a large geomagnetic storm was under way - so I headed into Michigan farm country and watched the green curtains roiling and the northern horizon glowing as it never does. Two geminid meteorites streamed through the apparition. I didn't have my camera. The picture above was a result of the ash that drifted east from the Mt. Saint Helen eruption back in 1980. How the years fly.

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Not So Fluffy

Today was my first return to the local gardens in almost two months. I didn't push the old body, but it was good to be out in mild temperatures moving ahead - (ahem) - "Looking Up". If I'd remembered to grab my camera I would have snapped a picture of the Red -tailed Hawk in the trees behind the formal part of the gardens. What the camera wouldn't have caught was his cry - rather eerie, a little foreboding this time of year along the quiet autumnal path. The fellow above was troubling the birds at my feeder this summer. It's a Coopers Hawk.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

A Little Fluff

Time out from light gathering to garner a little smile from my blog friends. I have the fattest squirrels in northwest Ohio. They've been on a peanut diet for months - it agrees with them. I forgot to toss peanuts onto the deck this morning so this fellow went foraging on the bird feeder.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Grandma's Crystal Ball

The year after Grandma Gladys died, Aunt Betty sent me this little crystal ball that I'd given to Grandma years before. It's been in my possession now 20 years. I've placed it on the shelf in the bay window beside the picture of her son, my father - gone now 15 years. I love the glitter it has borrowed from the sun to toss across the shelf, across my heart.

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Monday, December 11, 2006

December Rainbows


The Spectarc Prism which hangs in the south facing window with the Owl stained glass is making rainbows this week. Sir Isaac Newton described the way in which prisms refract light and in that bending divide it into its constituent colors (wavelengths). So much mystery. I tried to see the planetary alignment yesterday. Failed in that quest, but it was good to be up and out on such a mild clear December morning. I bought this 10'' curvilinear plastic prism decades ago - can't find them anymore. It hangs from fishing line and when spun in a patch of sunlight it fills a room with dizzying arcs of our star's fireworks.

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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Fence Snow Shadows

Look what the sun missed as it crossed low in the sky the last few days. Rather than a summer shadow, it gave the fence a bright frosty image of itself to reflect upon during these clear cold moonlit nights.

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Saturday, December 09, 2006

Mouse Shadows




We went out early for breakfast and in hopes of seeing the within 1' alignment of Mercury, Mars and Jupiter. As is typically the case in northern Ohio - the clouds obscured the horizon. The Bob Evans breakfast was ok, but the music sucked. Angst-ridden, yowling, vapid, dilute garbage. I almost left a note in the suggestion box, but considered that as an old fogey - the tide was against me and why bother.
As we walked in our front door the sun cleared the cloud bank and left this little tableau on my living room wall. Old age is . . . well, hmmm - interesting. Why? I can't remember where I got these mice - I only know they've sat on various shelves and table tops for years, watching over my comings and goings - receiving the drops of Christmas candle wax with equanimity. Like the owl stained glass in the preceding post - I really don't 'see' them anymore - except again this morning as the sun laid their silhouettes gently against the wall.

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Friday, December 08, 2006

More Light Effects

Really - I'm not wandering around the house looking for these. But I'll glance up and see such lovely gifts from the solstice dipping sun that I grab my camera - which I dropped this summer and now I have to wheedle it a little - and gratefully record the common surfaces seen anew.
I went through an owl phase years ago. This stained glass has hung in this window for decades and I forget it's there. The shadows on the hutch are holly leaves, appropriate to this advent season, this time of waiting for the light, for renewal.

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Sunlight On Mount Blanket


This time of year it's all about light: the lack of it - the want of it - the joy of it - when glancing up you view a sunbeam falling across objects that the rest of the year might never receive the direct touch of star fire. The buffering leaves are down. The sun is crossing the sky at a such a low angle that it sweeps through the windows and lands on objects and areas in the house that in other seasons remain in shadow. Today it fell across Mount Blanket (and robe). My photo doesn't capture the effect as well as I'd hoped. What an interesting time of year - when a patch of sunlight on a jumble of warmth retainers becomes an object of admiration.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Shortening Winter Day Draws to a Close

I found this picture on Bonita's Flitzy Phoebe Blog. It's sentimental - and I love it. The artist was David Farquarson 1747 - 1821. He was Scottish and therefore livied in latitudes well north of Ohio - he too was very familiar with long, cold winter nights. What draws me to this picture is the trust the gentle animals place in the approaching man as he carries their fodder to where they patiently wait in the wan light of a winter's afternoon - their faith in beneficence.

What might otherwise be a bleak canvas is illuminated not only by the diminished solstice sun, but by the connection between the stooped human figure and the beings in his care. For a more recent recording of that same late-in-the-year sun - check Casey's wonderful photo.

Emerging from a bit of a rough stretch I've been contemplating the concepts of connections and trust. They are as precious as the dilute but welcome December sun that streams low through the bare trees in my back yard.

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