Thursday, May 31, 2007

Country Musings

We own a little house on a hillside across from a pasture where cows graze and give birth.

I grew up in Loudonville, Ohio, which lies in a valley beneath rolling hills deposited by glaciers thousands of years ago. This picture is taken from the front yard. We bought the house in 1985 so that we could be close to family on the weekends. You can see the town cemetery beyond the trees in the foreground. One of the town's many church spires is visible in the center of the picture. The house my parents raised their seven children in is nearby.

Margins of any type are always rich with the potential of transitions. Our little hill-perching home looks over the town on one side. The view from the back is a fallow field where two old apple trees keep vigil. The following poem is a result of years of watching the seasons come and go from this little plot of land. It needs work and may not be salvageable, but there are a couple lines that I like and wish the entire poem had sustained them. Oh well.

The Porch

My porch sits athwart at the crest of a hill
overlooking on one side a town down below.
The other side faces a spider-webbed field
where trees at the edge wear the sun’s early gild
after long nights that drag their heels as they go.

The doe and her fawn wait in the shade
down by a rill that cuts through the rocks
till they learn what decision this human has made
about facing the village or facing the glade
while they listen for apple-fall’s harvested thwocks.

In the graveyard the birds throw their song in the air,
below, from my vantage - above, from the dead’s,
who lie under parched urns needing the care
of a late August rain should some clouds drift there.

The crickets beside the old wooden shed
chant from a book of late summer knowledge
that I’ve yet to translate as I shake my head
at the wisdom offered from a wild rose hedge.
It’s wasted on me at the untamed edge,
and I turn to face church spires, instead.

Catherine S. Wilson


Monday, May 28, 2007

Memory's Petals

Petals tossed into the air.

Memorial Day is a day of flowers - those that bloom beside the graves and those that we carry to them.

The Sun rose through the mist that lifts from the river at night.

Life continues to bloom among the headstones.

A Rose Shower for Laurie

Petal Catcher

Robin and petals at her friend's grave.

Rose petals for Grandma and Grandpa.

Rose petals for Dad.

The Poppy's petals below Bob and Robin's gazebo.

My brother and husband. Life is good.

One more petal.

My sister-in-law, Robin, and I made the rounds today. Robin is sister-in-law in name only. She is a true sister of my heart.
'Law' - a funny word for this history - this love.

The breezes in the local cemeteries lifted our rose petals and laid them gently around the granite stones. We said the names of a parent, grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister-in-law and old friends. The initial giddiness grew thin. It's always with regret and relief that we pull away from these resting places to join the world of the living again.

Life is good.


Saturday, May 26, 2007

Rainy Day Musings

She's really closer than she looks. Promise.

I sat in my car at the botanical gardens reading my paper and watching the rain. Having parked by the rose garden in a gentle drizzle, I sat back in my seat to enjoy my coffee and newspaper. I had the place to myself - until two women appeared beside my car with bags of camera gear and tripods.

Mind you, I realize this is a public area, but one gal set her tripod just a few feet from my window and aimed in my direction. I felt pretty self-conscious and kept hoping the increasing drizzle would send them packing. Nope. They just covered their cameras with shower caps. I discretely raised my window the rest of the way and sat there getting steamy from the lack of ventilation and my sense of having my morning reverie thwarted. I mean - how do you dip your toast with someone watching? ( I'm able to leave my windows down in a light drizzle because I stack paper towels on the door armrest that contains the electronics - works pretty well.)

I decided it wasn't worth the aggravation and drove to another park. It's a busy metropark. I have a different mindset there and relished watching people unloading their bikes and walking their dogs. The botanical garden doesn't allow either activity.

I really dislike the discomfort I experienced when those two photographers invaded 'my' space. I mean - who made me queen of the universe? What's that all about? Get a grip, Cathy. Do you ever have similar experiences when 'your space' seems violated? Or am I just turning into a hopeless curmudgeon? Say it ain't so.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Thinking About Dinner

The birding was a little slow the last few days. Birders actually took the time to enjoy this little fellow as he rustled up something to eat.
In fact is was so slow that I took the time to photograph this patient (and aesthetically -challenged spider) in the privy at Magee Marsh. (Any ID ideas, Bev?)

I'm sure she'd rather hang around 'outside' in the marsh like the spider who made this web and will be eating very well for quite a while. These are the midges the warblers eat and the reason it's such a great refueling spot for all the migrating birds.

Please Click for a closer look at a hungry Woodcock.

This squirrel defied the laws of gravity for a bit of tree salad.

Anybody want to guess what bird is examining the mud for lunch?
So I have all these fun pictures and have been trying to come up with a scheme for getting them into one post. Food! Now there's a strong unifying theme!

So what food or decadent snack puts a gleam in your eye?

Have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Ode to Men

I was headed for the local botanical garden to soak up some foggy Spring beauty. On the way, the noisy world of men rankled my reverie.
Hey! Watch it!
Sheesh. The noise!
Click on this one for the beauty of azaleas and a man at work.

Careful, Fellas.

Moving through Spring landscapes I found myself noticing the messes men make. Waiting for my folded-egg-on-a-plain-bagel, I jockeyed to get out of the way of a delivery truck. Then I heard the racket through the chain-link fence and snapped a picture of the men and machinery tearing up the landscape.

When I arrived with my sack of breakfast at the Botanical Gardens - more men - making more racket. How is a woman supposed to enjoy the beauty, the serenity of Spring?! Then I started to really look and really consider what I was seeing. The road bed, the pavement and curbs, the McDonald restaurant, the electric and phone lines overhead, the parking lot I sat in, the layout of the gardens and the light posts being installed - men. Men working hard. Men creating the surfaces and structures that make it possible for me to enjoy my life. So. I offer a salute to men. Noisy, dusty, sweaty and grimy men. Really. What would our world be without them? God bless 'em.

P.S. Don't get me wrong. I love my white-collar (OK, you guys! - I didn't know I'd written 'white-color'!) hubby, son, friends etc., but I needed to share my growing appreciation for the fellas who come home dirty and sore and will get up the next day to do more of the hard physical work that keeps our towns and cities running smoothly and indeed - looking lovely.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

For Josh & Barb

Josh and Barb, I hope you see this post. I've been unable to leave comments on your blog and just read of your grandfather/father-in-law's death. I'm truly sorry. I was planning on posting this and dropped by your blog and read the sad news. I decided to post it anyway in hopes that it might bring a smile as well as my heart-felt condolences. I hope you are managing - that you will find comfort in knowing that his suffering is over and that he is in a better place.

So here is my little offering about Magee Marsh.

Kenn Kaufman at Magee Marsh
I know Kenn Kaufman is one of Josh's heroes. He lives in our area, now. I'd actually been introduced to him a few days ago and got to bird alongside him. You couldn't ask for a friendlier fellow. I missed signing up for the event below.

2007 May Events & Field Trips

May 4th & 5th - Spring Warbler Identification Workshop with Kenn Kaufman - Friday 7:00 - 9:00 PM SORRY - SOLD OUT!!!

My wish is that your faith and family and friends and happy memories will comfort you and that though you grieve, nature's beauty will gentle some of the pain from your hearts.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

God Creating Man

It was too chilly to bird today. Besides, I was feeling a little under the weather and therefore the overcast sky seemed appropriate to my mood as I sat in the car listening for birdsong and watching the Sun trying to break through the dark clouds.

I peered up through my moon-roof and saw this cloud apparition. Pretty cool. Hope you can see it. I sure did. Though as I look at it again it seems God isn't so much creating Adam as he is pulling him out of the water. Perhaps Adam got in over his head and the patient creator is saying, " OK, give me your hand and come on up here where it's nice and dry. We'll go have a warm cup of cocoa and talk things over."

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day!

Raising kids can be tough. They have their own agenda and sense of style (notice little Spike's hair-gelled statement). To all the women who've opened their hearts to kids and fur-kids - and worked and struggled and stayed up nights - and laughed and cried with pride when the child found wings and soared. Well done.
(Click on the photo and you'll see she's smiling and crying at the same time.)
Our great son sent me a beautiful hydrangea which will grace our new patio's shade bed. He is precious.


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Tai Chi

The birding is at it's peak and I miss checking in on all my blogging buddies, but I'll be able to catch up over the weekend. Meanwhile I've got to get that possum skull replaced with something lighter. Last week there were groups practicing this ancient Chinese exercise in the local parks. Some were more graceful than others ;0) See you on the bird trail. CHECK?

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Watching & Being Watched

Opossum Stare

Green Frog - The Look

Tree Frog Dreamy-Eyes

Eying the Offerings

Eye to Eye - Heart to Heart

Crayfish mound eyes.

The Green Frog and Opossum skull we're just a few feet apart. On a beautiful Spring day I found the contrast a bit sobering. Still, I recognize that's the name of the game - the 'circle of life'. My tastes run very much to the renewal, rebirthing portion of that circle and I'll bet I'm in good company.

There sure are a lot of eyes out there this time of year - a whole lot of lookin' goin' on. CHECK?