Tuesday, January 30, 2007

OK . . Maybe Winter Does Have Its Charms

Dear fellow bloggers. It is with great relief that I acknowledge that this recent snow has smitten me - once again. I've been proclaiming my alienation to winter and deep regret that I would return home to snow and cold. Funny what a little crystalline magic can wrought on a winter-weary heart. The garden angel isn't as thrilled as I as she pulls her ermine cape about her shoulders. The hat is rather smart too - don't you agree?

Monday, January 29, 2007

Moving Ahead

I didn’t send Christmas cards this year. Time just got away. Unworthily I savored the greeting of those who managed the season with more alacrity than I. Snowy scenes, puffy birds, pop-up Christmas trees, wreath and bows and drifting flakes, beautiful families and their children smiling out a me – they rested in my grateful hands before I propped them against candles, balanced them in garland or coaxed them to stand on their own on the breakfast nook table.

Then – the problem. It’s time to move on. But how? How do you toss a message of peace, love or even the milder Season’s Greeting into the same receptacle as the detritus from two week’s worth of mail or the mess you cleaned off the pantry floor? Tough, tough, tough. Guess you’ve just got to move on. I used to save the cards that had a special appeal. Do you know what that habit produces after 40 years?

Time to move ahead – in so many way. The days are lengthening and with the promise of Spring perhaps those greeting card embers that pushed back at the solstice gloom – perhaps it’s a little easier to release them as the year moves ahead. The trick is not to look after them as you drop them into the waste basket – just keep looking up – moving on.

Friday, January 26, 2007


OK. Poor me. But maybe when you hit 60 you'll be a little more sympathetic. The picture from the Outback webcam in Loudonville sort of drained me of any enthusiasm for heading home. Gray and cold - and apparently now 'bitterly' cold. Hope sunshine comes with the frigid air. Oh please, oh please, oh please.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

One Disconsolate Bird

This is the same Reddish Egret as the one I posted last week. A cold front went through this morning. It was cold and rainy. He wasn't enjoying the chilly wind. The temperature will go to 45' tonight.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Sneak Attack

Nah. Just kidding. Roseate Spoonbills aren't aggressive with Double-crested Cormorants. I thought this juxtaposition was funny. Initially I thought this was a 'beauty & the beast" tableau, but as I look at the Spoonbill's - well, uh . . spoonbill, it really can't be called 'beautiful'. Why is the Cormorant any less aesthetically pleasing? What is beauty? Why do we care? Why do we try to record it - capture it? I don't suppose there are any answers. Just more questions. No matter, we are compelled - we persist.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Watch The Birdy

Sometimes you just start to feel bad for these birds. I find myself moving away quickly after taking a couple pictures. The photographers with the BIG lenses and tripods move in closely for the perfect photos that are so satisfying and I don't blame them - but . . . I really start fret about these birds that are trying to eat - to survive. While we're stalking them for the beauty of their image we may be deterring their ability to go about their routines unencumbered. Ah well - it hasn't stopped me and doubt that it will. I tell myself that really - they don't seem all that troubled. Here's hoping. This bird is an immature Night Heron ( I think Yellow-Crowned )

Friday, January 19, 2007

A Look Before Tossing

I was doing a little house-keeping within my photo files and was about to delete this picture of a titmouse perched on a Crabapple limb. I'd just been learning to use the photo canvas business in ACDSee imaging program. Nothing worked aesthetically till I started the pull down menu cascading from Filter to Artistic to Embossing. It's still not a great shot. But the little frayed-tailed bird remains perched in my photo files.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

What We're Seeing - NOT!

Very interesting. I'm slipping. We've been on this Florida island for 4 days now and after several walks on the beach it finally struck me. Something stinks - this is not just the salt air and the organic air-borne exudations of a healthy beach. But it just didn't register. Really - I'm slipping. Maybe it's just that I'm looking further out over the waves for terns or dolphins. Maybe it's that at my age my quest for sea shells has abated and I haven't been looking down. I have to credit my husband with the insight - he pointed out the color that tinged the seaweed that lay in a 3 foot strip the length of the beach. It's pinkish. It stinks. Good grief - Red Tide. I can't believe that no warnings were posted at the desk when we checked in. I've seen people wading with their kids in this stuff. Apparently it causes skin irritation and respiratory problems in some. Guess the chamber of commerce doesn't want to discourage tourists. Good grief. (The healthy beach picture was taken this summer on Cape Cod.)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

One Terrific Bird

Laura from 'Somewhere in NJ' was wondering if birds actually appreciate their own reflections. It's not difficult to imagine that this Reddish Egret must have some self-awareness. His pirouettes, grand jettes and fan dance seem very indicative of a healthy confidence born of a bit of preening in a watery mirror.

Anvil Cloud from 'Rain Drops' thought him 'odd-looking'. OK - I'll give you odd-looking PLUS. This bird is a high-stepping, coy, bold dazzler of fish (and people). A still photo doesn't do this bird justice. He flounces and foxtrots and fans and dodges as he tries to startle the fish into his range.

Bonita from 'Flitzy Phoebie' remarked about the noises herons and egrets make. For such pretty creatures they produce remarkably cranky sounds. No music here, but much visual delight.

Laurie from 'Don't Make Me Get My Flying Monkeys' - She's justed posted pictures of some darling cats that would love to get a look at this bird - and then I imagine they'd pass on it given his watery domain and ninja moves.

Such a Pretty Me

OK. So it took a gazillion to the nth power shots to get this picture. Got it. This poor bird. It sounded like a press conference whenever it blinked. I'd say there were - oh . . . twenty photographers going for 'the shot'. Between shutter releases the 'ping' of the auto-focuses ricocheted off the bird's beak. Still - who could resist? And just maybe the bird enjoys the admiration. Yeah, that's it. (For the non-birders among ye - it's a Reddish Egret)

Monday, January 15, 2007

Florida Mountains

Guess who left her computer/drug luggage (all prescription) sitting in the Hertz parking garage. Guess who thought her husband was loading it into the back while she juggled other paraphernalia in the front of the van. Guess who can't believe her good fortune in having put her cell phone number on the tag. Guess who can't believe they didn't blow it up or back a tank over it. Guess who on their way back to the airport spent an hour on the Sanibel causeway while they cleared a fender bender. Guess who kept herself entertained by photographing a Coke craving fish crow on the Sanibel Sierras. The causeway is under construction. The pile of sand was entertaining.

Sunday, January 14, 2007


Our internet connection collapsed, the squirrel limb was felled (by the neighbors) and the first winter weather lurked on the western horizon. Each of us had just battled personal assaults on our aging bodies. What to do? Other than illegal drugs, a bit of sunshine sounded good. It was nip and tuck - would our creaky groaning selves permit the transit into light? Better to languish in Florida than sleety Ohio. I crawled out of bed this morning and saw this apparition of moon, ocean and palm trees. A bit later, the sun glinting on the water. Don't pinch me. Let me dream.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


Arggghhh. Our cable is down and I'm using my cell phone to post. How do you spell 'addiction'? How do you spell 'withdrawal' ? No email, no googling, no surfing, no blogging - no wikipedia - arggghhh. This may be healthy. I may get a start on some cleaning and post-holiday organizing - (maybe even a little travel - to sunnier climes :0) The picture (if I can upload) it was taken in a local cemetery last spring. Blue sky and blossoms. Blue sky and blossoms. Breathe. Breathe. I can live without the internet. Breathe. Breathe

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

On a Lighter Note

OK. Everybody. Anybody. What is that around my husband's feet and why is it there?


Cheek by Jowl

The neighbors are going to cut this limb off our tree. It hangs over their grass. You can see where they've already pruned a section of it while I was away (middle picture -I'm pretty sure they checked with my husband). Legally they're entitled to cut down anything that crosses the property line. I suspect this is about grass and the desire for vigorous luxuriant grass. Our trees are on the north side of their lawn and are not the cause of the wimpy green.
This small suburban tract home development is made graceful by the trees within which the homes were built cheek by jowl. The wires are above ground and the trees obscure their harsh linearity. If everyone on these small lots lopped off the limbs that reach for the sky over their lawns, we'd have telephone pole property lines. Interestingly, our neighbors plan to move in the very near future. I can't confront them with this inanity - I just wouldn't be able to maintain my composure. So I won't be watching this little squirrel napping on this branch in the rain after the buzz saw has done its work. Cheek by jowl. Cheek by jowl.

Monday, January 08, 2007


The past few days passed from dark gray to light gray and back to dark gray. Rain pattered on the porch's skylights. This morning the sun broke through the clouds. I like the sunburst effect the rising sun made in this photo as its fire was obscured behind a laser-etched disc. The disc throws bright rainbow prisms across the room in the spring and fall when the angle of the sun is optimal. Today I'll settle for this amber glow.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

The Gift of Light

Sitting around the tube . . . er - flat screen which loomed brighter and brighter as the sun went down, I asked my son where I might find a place on the internet to help determine the rate at which the days are lengthening. It is with much pleasure that I offer you this link -a Sunrise Sunset Graph - wherein you can enter your place on this lovely planet and survey the curve that clearly proves that the days are getting longer. Yea! (That is - if you're north of the equator)
That's my sunset picture from Sanibel Island last winter. How long has it been since you felt 'real' sunlight warmth on your bare skin? Too long, I imagine.

Friday, January 05, 2007

What I'll Miss

Who among you, who have blinked back tears as you stood in the driveway or at the airport curb waving goodbye to a child, needs any explanation of these pictures -beyond the caption: "What I'll Miss"? Nuf said. Well that - and the fact that he's been home for two weeks - enough time to make it seem just natural to hear him coming down the stairs in the morning.
When I originally tried to post the shoe picture it disappeared beneath the porch picture. It was about to show a cobweb discovered by the flash. When it came up in my preview hidden I'm thinking No Way! The housekeeping fairies hid it out of embarrassment:0) I posted it again with the cobweb revealed above the left toe of the white shoe. Click on it for full enjoyment.


Thursday, January 04, 2007

Remember Snow?

That's my kid-brother holding the ladder. It's the day after Christmas - 2004. That's snow. That's winter. That's lovely - and (lordy, I'm showing my age with this admission) - I don't miss it. I keep thinking I've got to reflect a little more on the poetry inspired by snow - the romance of it - the quiet still sparkling wonder of it.

Nope. It's just not working. I took my van through the car wash today. It was 53'. I was hatless, gloveless, bootless, coatless and yes - snowless. I love it . Waaaaahhh. I'm old. I've gone over to the dark side. Oh, well - guess I'll walk outside in my slippers and enjoy the full moon. (Oh, yes. I'm up on the ladder trying to photograph an ice-festooned bird's nest)

Newt's Navel Antidote

Hmmm. Practically everyone I know is pushing back at the blues. Well, not everyone, but I think my random sampling across the table during get-togethers with friends and in phone calls with an assortment of friends, relatives and others reveals a definte down-turn in moods. It's just got to be the lack of light. How in heaven's name do people in really northern latitudes manage this time of year? What would we do without laptops/computers? What would we do without the DVD player attatched to the TV? Yes! Yes! I admit it! I spend far too much time in front of the monolith, that is - the altar, er - I mean big flat panel TV.

Anyway - I was searching my photo files for an antidote photo for newt's navel dysphoria, I found this one taken last Spring in the local gardens. Remember daffodils? Remember their bright trumpets nodding on a bright spring breeze? Remember. And smile.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Winter Green

In the fecund (got this word from Annie Dillard) ,verdant months, this patch of moss would not have drawn my eye. But in the bare, stark landscape of winter it glowed with a reminder of life as it waits in the wings or in this case atop the concrete abutment of a bridge. Admirable tenacity - happy promise.


Monday, January 01, 2007

Thoreau on Being 'Unschooled"

These balloonists didn't crash land, but we held our breath as they struggled to stay aloft just off my kid-sis's deck in Colorado Springs. Amateurs I guessed , but they managed to gain altitude and floated gracefully away.

Patrice and I had a brief blog exchange about our attempts at poetry and shared that we are both rather unschooled in the art of poetry writing. Minutes later I checked in on The Blog of Henry David Thoreau and found this which made me smile:

Thoreau's Journal: 02-Jan-1859

Essentially your truest poetic sentence is as free and lawless as a lamb’s bleat. The grammarian is often one who can neither cry nor laugh, yet thinks that he can express human emotions. So the posture-masters tell you how you shall walk,—turning your toes out, perhaps, excessively,—but so the beautiful walkers are not made.