Thursday, January 31, 2008

Framing Sunsets

Funny how we are made both melancholy and comforted by sunsets.
Strange how we look to frame them in photographs, by mountains or tree branches or buildings, as if that would hold them.

Their beauty is a result of the passing of time, the very thing that saddens us.


In the holler, sunset views are not made of clouds against open skies, they are made of hill shadows and humps, illuminated branches and tree trunks, half orange and half blue, fading to black.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Out of the office

Back in June or July, an online company that I do business with set up a strange and unintentional group of fantasies for me.

I order from them regularly every month or so and without divulging their identity, I can say that it has to do with my knitting patterns.... I have to request certain things, and they have to bill me and then acknowledge my payment, so there is a double set of emails between us for each transaction.

One day in early summer there was a response to an inquiry of mine with an email that stated:

"I am out of the office, my beloved pet has passed on, and I will be taking some personal time off. Hopefully, someone else will read these emails and deal with your issues."


For some reason, when I see these old and empty shells, I think of that. They are 2006 model shells, and they were hollow to start with, either larvae eaten from the inside out, or containing only the mummified or aborted walnuts that never got their share of water or nutrients. This year, with no nuts at all produced, the critters are so desperate that they are resorting to digging up the old duds from last year, cracking them, maybe even gnawing on the mummified or moldy remains of what wasn't fit to eat the first year around. They crack it open to find that, nope, everyone is out of the office.

But in my case, business went on as usual, I received my product and they received their money, even though  all of my correspondence was met with this same email for month after month....then finally a week or so ago, the email was replaced with a standard business email. And I was surprised to find that kind of made me feel a little disappointed.

I preferred to think that there was real live woman on the other end of that email, one who was taking long walks on the beach without her beloved lab coming to grips with her grief, her skirt billowing in the ocean breezes. Or an elderly woman, walking along some forested river bank, accustoming herself to the new loneliness without her elderly scottie. Or, well, any number of all sorts of real people, dealing with their grief by being out of the office.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

sensation of place

I'm back. The folks live "way out in the country" on one side of Nashville (well, that term in the last 10 years has changed considerable, become somewhat meaningless)  and I live way out in the country (relative to some) on the other side of Nashville.  That means I have to drive through Nashville to visit them, or fetch them back and forth from the doctors. If it was all "over the river and through the woods", I am sure that my solitary drive time thoughts would travel in a poetic and productive stream, because there were some beautiful vistas to behold in Tennessee, before the white man.

But driving through the big city and the new burbs on either side, my mind gets jagged into peak oil panic type thoughts because the drive carries me through acres upon acres of newly sprouted McMansion vista's.

I try and relate, I really do. But I can not comprehend how you can live ass up against someone else in a seemingly sterile, glossy magazine, perfectly pruned, mini palace of energy intensive cloned convenience and have any "sense of place" on the planet.

A mid-western 1960s row of suburban houses (which I once thought must be hell on earth), have more character and neighborhood charm than these new landscape least they didn't pretend to be something they were not, and they did not have built in isolation and ostentation as part of their design.

But  hey, that's just me and my rant...I do love to see my Mom and Dad, and love where they live, and I get all high from that, and they remind me to be more tolerant and thankful that not everyone wants to live in the country, or, of course, their wouldn't be any (my folks are far, far better human beings than I could ever hope to be) ....But I just would like to see people buying a new house be a little more engaged in the earth it is setting upon, and in making the neighborhood something they are joining, not just holed up in in front of their screens and bathed in their sterility and sameness.

I get all calmed down at the folks, and involved in the quiet rhythm of their very real and earthbound lives, and then I have to make that return trip back through this alien landscape to get back to my neck of the woods, and time I get home, I feel like I need to "cleanse"

This afternoon when I returned, even though it was purt near dark and chilling off, I still had take a quick walk into a real landscape, and get a feeling of the dark winter earth under my feet and the smell of the wind changing direction in the holler as it does every evening when the sun drops below the ridge to the winter west.dark holler 2JPG

Monday, January 7, 2008

Putting a chickadee to bed

I  have watched chickens go to roost in the evenings countless times...

On spring evenings while trying to squeeze the most gardening hours into the last of the daylight in the first of the warm. Or on those final darkening hours of autumn when the spirit knows that there won't be many more evenings warm enough to sit outside.

You can hear them, rustling and shuffling. Shifting position, hen pecking and soft squaking as they jostle for the prime roost pole postion. Each hen in turn preens and fluffs and arranges her feathers into comfortable and warm chicken pajamas, and then when everyone is ready, they finally settle in. A quiet  row of feathered humps in the twilight.

But I ain't never seen a chickadee go to roost, until tonight.

                  2008 01 Jan 118

In this large oak down in front of the cabin, on the right hand limb, at the first little limb stump you see sticking out, I watched a chickadee settle herself in for the evening. She flew into that little hole, and back out, rapidly a few times, then she hung upside down just below it, and fluffed her little feathers all out, then flew in, rustle, rustle, she flew back out, using her beak to rearrange some under feathers that must not have been comfortable enough and flew back in. One final rustle and then total silence.

It made me sleepy and start thinking about heading for the cabin, building a fire, making some tea, and fluffing my afghan around my legs and adjusting my knitting in my lap, like an old hen, settling in for the evening.

Friday, January 4, 2008

!shroom changes

Shroom! and then there were changes.

Up until Wednesday, it was a wonderful week for walking in the woods and working on moss photography, that evolved into mushroom photography, instead (there are 6 W's in that sentence....nonsense-what is it about mushrooms that is inherently silly, the hallucinogenic aspects?)




And some lovely moss, too.


Then overnight it all changed.

Wednesday morning, 14 degrees, ice on pond 7/8" thick
Thursday morning, 11 degrees, ice on pond 1 3/8" thick
Friday morning, 16 degrees, ice on pond 1 7/8 inch thick

Jan ice

icetrunk Jan051

The mushrooms were freeze dried in place.

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