Thursday, September 17, 2009

Autumn Poem

One of my favorite poets...

Autumn Movement
Carl Sandburg

I CRIED over beautiful things knowing no beautiful thing lasts.

The field of cornflower yellow is a scarf at the neck of the copper sunburned woman,
the mother of the year, the taker of seeds.

The northwest wind comes and the yellow is torn full of holes,
new beautiful things come in the first spit of snow on the northwest wind,
and the old things go, not one lasts.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


It's Wednesday evening, the end of a warm, muggy day. Sitting in a chair feeling the cool breezes come in the window, enjoying the night air. Smells of fresh cut grass and the sounds of children's laughter, dusky skies, the last of the birdsong.

And then... a blinking star. A spot of gold. Another! More! Dozens!

The first fireflies of the season.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Better Late...

I'm a bit behind on photography and posting. Just when I thought I was going to have time for both, circumstances intervened (including a sprained ankle that's still healing but better).

However, here's a sample of some recent photos. We had a slow, cool, wonderful spring, lots of rain to help the flowers grow, lots of cool breezes to help the flowers bloom longer than usual. I loved every minute of it even when I couldn't get out and enjoy. Hope you enjoy the photos!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Early flowers and wildflowers


I went hiking at Clegg Botanical Garden today, a lovely wild spot along the Wildcat Creek. I went primarily in search of hepatica, which I knew to be there, and was pleased and surprised to see other flowers as well. Most are just coming up and a few are showing early buds. I got a few photos and even found one lone hepatica, but the pictures of it are too bleached out to be worth posting -- I'll try again soon when the light isn't so harsh. A few are worth sharing. Dreams of spring!

Virginia bluebells

winter aconite


Friday, March 20, 2009

early spring

i thank You God for this most amazing
for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;
and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes.

- e. e. cummings

Is there a better poem for the first day of spring? Perhaps -- but this perfectly captured the spirit and beauty of the day. March has been unusually mild, with several days of soft breezes and sunshine, and today was no exception. The temperature was only in the forties but the sun was warm and the cool breeze felt gentle against my skin; the sky was a "blue true dream of a sky," the red maple flowers making bright spots against the blue, and hundreds of red-winged blackbirds sang me a spring-song.

I've been hiking a lot, and although it's early for most wildflowers, the spring beauties are showing a few small buds and hepatica is slowly unfurling flowers from the soil. I've been treated to lots of migrating waterfowl: hundreds of coots and northern shovelers, a few mallards, a lone blue-winged teal, many bufflehead, and a dozen or so ring-necked ducks. I've seen a red-tail hawk several times, flashing his red tail as he soars past me to land in a tree, and watched several minutes as a red-shouldered hawk watched me.

The highlight of recent birdwatching, though, was my first great blue heron of the season. No matter when or where I see them, I always take the time to stop and spend a quiet moment.

There will still be chilly days; we could even easily see a snowflake or two, but there's no doubt that spring is on its way!

Happy spring!

Male mallards postured to each other -- while the females pretty much ignored them.

Note: E. E. Cummings liked to play with punctuation. I've tried to stay true to his original poem but there are more than a few different versions on the internet, with different spacing and punctuation, and until I can get to the library I'm not sure I have it completely right. So please bear with me if you're an e.e. cummings fan and it doesn't look right!

According to at least one source, he actually preferred his name capitalized, but sometimes used the lower case to indicate his humility. I thought it was appropriate with this poem so I left it as often written.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Sandhills and red-wings

There are many signs of spring, and everyone has their favorite. Some look for the return of robins, but I consider them teases, because a few always remain in the winter and come out on a nice day in January as if to fool you. Some look for the first crocus or the blazing yellow forsythia, the noses of daffodils as they peak up, or the swelling of maple buds and the run of maple sap.

I listen for the sandhills and the red-wings. And today, as I was focused on some reading, the plaintive cry of the sandhills cut through my focus and pulled me with a snap into the skies above. I laid back and listened as flock after flock went over. To me there is no lovelier sound in spring.

Unless, of course, it's the chorus "conk-a-REE" of the red winged blackbirds. I first heard them this year a few weeks ago as I walked along the edge of a marsh. The trees and rushes were full of them, singing their distinctive song and flashing their distinctive red patches. A small bright flash of color in a gray and brown day, and a sound guaranteed to warm my heart.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Mr. President

How nice to be able to say those words, and feel that the person they are directed at deserves the respect behind them.

This is everywhere on the internet, but I pass it along anyway: the complete text of Barack Obama's inauguration speech, given today. Anything in bold is mine.

Of course, now begins the hard part. But with a leader of intelligence, compassion, and an eye on the big picture, rather than personal agendas, we might just have a chance.
My biggest hope is that he can live up to what he's inspiring -- that we can all live up to it.

President Obama's speech:

My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because we the people have remained faithful to the ideals of our forebears, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.