Monday, March 30, 2009

Stone walls

Today was overcast, raw, breezy, about 40F. For those of us hanging by our fingertips waiting for relief from the cold and snow, it was another testing delay. Yet out on the usual evening walk on the town trail, the dim light, leafless trees and muddy ground were the perfect backdrop to highlight the vivid green moss coming to life on the rocks of the stone walls. I noticed it just as I was about to step over one. See, this particular stone wall is usually just a barrier to getting to where I am going. Worse, the stones are often slippery and I usually take a second to make sure I'm leaning forward so I don't slip backward and break my back. But this time, as I picked up my foot I saw GREEN, bright as a shamrock, almost fluorescent in the weak light. And, it was all over, all along the walls. The walls themselves are remarkable. There are meandering grids of walls throughout the 60 to 80 acres in this town forest, as well as throughout all the woods in the area. Some of the walls are 5 feet wide. There are miles of them. They were all built by hand by farmers clearing the land for crops. All these woods were cleared fields at one time - just amazing. So the dreariness of today, the day that made me groan at its mockery of Monday, gave me the gift of seeing treasure. This moment reminded me of a poem in Delwyn's post in her blog, a hazy moon.
All the things we've taken for granted are,
upon reflection,
wonderfully perfect.
It was one of those moments in which you are brought right up against the perfection of things ordinarily taken for granted. Unfortunately, it was too dark to take a photo to share here. Instead, just the view to the West: Almost same view, a few weeks ago, one of the smaller stone walls. While typing this post and listening to The Daily Show, Bruce Springsteen just gave an acoustic performance of a new song, "I'm Working on a Dream." Nice accompaniment to writing!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Every Person and Living Thing Rejoices Spring

Spring! Fellow bloggers, people out walking in the street, creatures - I'd say even plants, even the water being released from its frozen prison of snow and ice to run free in the streams again - are celebrating. If ever there was a collective spirit or consciousness, this up swell of relief and joy has got to be its most fervent event. Happy Birthday my beautiful daughter, who is 23 today, and herself swelling with new, springlike, life - a baby due the beginning of October. As if messengers of this collective joy, I heard Canada Geese overhead honking their return this morning. Redwing Blackbirds were at the feeders this morning, and I'll bet the black bears have woken (it's okay that I don't see them!). And now I have a new Spring right of passage - skiing. We went skiing last night. My husband gave us season's passes for a local small ski area for Christmas. Now, neither one of us could really ski when we started this season with our shiny new passes. We could stand up on skis and get ourselves around a bit, but certainly not with any style. We got the passes so that we could learn something new - and get outside during the Winter. This local area even has night skiing. So even during the months of leaving work in the dark, instead of sitting around the house after we got home ('cause it dark and cold outside), we could pack up our skis and head out for an adventure. Riding the ski lift in under the moon and stars is quite enchanting. Now, several months later, I can zip down the intermediate slope. I'm still not very graceful: picture a middle aged grandma in my daughter's snowboarding pants and jacket with my rear end sticking out for balance. Since we are now on daylight savings time, it was still light when we got there last night. I watched the progression of the sunset from each chair lift ride up, vivid oranges fading to royal blue. The air was soft on my face, I think about 40F, just an amazingly different experience from having to wear a face mask against the bitter winds on our earlier visits. Now it's Spring. And now an acknowledgement of a loss, and this is nothing to do with Spring. I fell once, hard, last night. It was one of those falls where you are the ground, hitting with drop dead weight before you even are aware that you are falling. One second I am showing off to myself, and the next my back hit the ground and I was sliding fast down the slope with one ski and one pole staying behind. I was fine, not a bruise or a bump, not a thing. I thought of Natasha Richardson, and the fragility of life. One fall, my fall, a thousand, tens of thousands of other skiing falls happening that very week, all without a single injury. One fall that caused a death. I am so sad for her family's loss.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Monday

Hello Monday. This is the view from my office window, just to the left of where I am sitting. I am fortunate to love my office, a tiny old house in the "city" next to the town in which I live. My husband and I own it, which certainly contributes to my affection. So, even though I dream of travel, and will travel, and seek to understand better, things both within us and larger than us: creativity; spirituality; beauty, at least I get to love where I am for now. That's a good place to start. This is the cat, looking out above window as she sits on my desk in front of my computer and on my papers. Our cats live and have refuge at the office because the three dogs at home would terrorize them if they lived there. The above cat, Chloe, I brought here from the SPCA to keep the other cat company - but it turns out that the only interest Chloe has in the first cat is to stalk her tirelessly. Now first cat spends her time hiding in the cupboards. So much for well intentioned plans.... ...which is my thought for today. What is the better choice for carrying out one's life to the fullest: to make specific, identified goals in order to self direct - to Plan; or to let opportunity, serendipity and openness discover paths one might not have otherwise followed?
This is the woods yesterday, a gloriously bright and warm day.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Little Mystery

This is a sad mystery, some would say not a mystery at all, just an everyday occurrence of no great significance. But I wish I knew what happened. During our usual morning routine of heading out to the woods to see what the night brought, my dog disappeared. That never happens. She normally does not leave my side while she constantly tries to engage me in a game of stick throwing. After a few minutes of calling, I went to see what she got herself into. She wasn't far; just a few hundred feet into the woods where I could not see her before. She was nose to the ground, munching now and again while she investigated this one area. What got and held her interest was a huge, scattered pile of fur. Just fur. No bones, no other tissue. The area was loaded with deer prints (it was not far from where I feed them), but I did not see any prints of any other animal that might have done this. The fur seemed cut: it was in sort of clumps, with one side sheered. Then I saw a bit of blood. Not a lot, just some drops. Then I saw that some of the fur was attached to some bits of skin. Again, not much. The mystery is that I did not see a carcass, nor a trail of where it might have been dragged, nor any prints of anything that might have taken it. I wondered if this pile had been covered with snow, and was only now emerging because of the melting. But, the blood looked bright and fresh, and the fur light, fluffy, nothing wet or partially under the snow. Now, this giant fur deposit was pretty close behind the house who owned the property I was lurking on, so I decided to leave and come back if I knew they weren't home. Later today, I took the usual walk with the dogs, past this area. The dogs came across two other, though smaller, patches of this same phenomenon. Fur, larger bits of ski with fur attached, NO other prints. The fur was still sitting light on the surface of the snow, NOT like the snow melted to uncover this mystery. This is one of the small patches - and the prints ones MY dogs put there despite me trying to keep them away. I am not just being morbidly curious. I want to know because I might need or want to DO something. If this was a deer, and it was killed by some animal predator, it may not be a good idea to continue to feed the deer in my woods. The predator now knows they go here (although they did even before I fed them - just not daily). Further, whatever kind of predator can take down a deer should not be in this neighborhood! But, if the deer was killed by a human, IF in fact all this fur belonged to a deer, THEN I would want to report it. Deer hunting is only permitted in certain months of the year, and this is NOT one of them. Plus, if it was shot in those woods it's MUCH too close to houses. Hmmm, the sun is setting now, but still light enough. Maybe if I go lurk behind that house to investigate, they won't see me....

Friday, March 13, 2009

Dreaming of Summer

Just to remind myself of what it was like, I just took a peak at my own photojournal, the meanderings with photos I was keeping for myself on my own harddrive. I thought this was worth bringing out again.
This is my beautiful granddaughter, photographs taken by my oldest beautiful and talented daughter.
Isn't it interesting that even just seeing pictures of loved ones, or summer, can ease me? My shoulders come down, I sigh, sit back in my office chair, look out the window, and remember what she smells like.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Feeding Deer

The position of the Fish and Game Department is that You Must Not Feed the Deer. They have even published an entire pamphlet that details all the reasons why, from disturbing needed enzymes in their stomachs, to exhausting their meager reserves of energy to travel to the feeding site (apparently where they otherwise would not go). Then I see them, outside my windows in the predawn dark, wondering around the house, nibbling at bare branch tips and scarce bits of debris on the snow, looking looking looking for food to survive. One knows that they are literally starving, living off of fat stored from the previous summer, only able to survive IF the snow melts before their fat store is completely gone. Even the Fish and Game Department’s brochure tells you that. And, now it’s nearly the middle of March. There has been deep snow on the ground since November, and it’s supposed to snow again. How can I watch such beautiful creatures starve before my very eyes? So, I bought a product called “Wildlife Grains” from the feed store, intended for deer. It smells richly of molasses and vitality – even I could eat it. I put a quarter bucket out in the woods behind my house last evening. This morning I went out to see if the deer came, hoping they would because of the recent snowfall and knowing that at least some among them may be at death’s door. Well, I think I got more than I bargained for – the woods were FULL of deer tracks. They even came to the plastic bin that holds the rest of the 50lb feed bag, and walked all around, I guess trying to figure out how to get at it. With all the tracks everywhere, it is hard to tell whether they’re from 4 deer walking around a lot, or a dozens. ….I guess I am going to need a lot more “Wildlife Grains” if the snow doesn’t melt soon!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Followers

With appreciation to the person who has taken the time to look at this blog - your acknowledgement is both startling and welcoming! As is written on the sidebar, this blog exercise started as a means to have more permanent storage, and more context options, for a personal photo journal I was writing to myself in my hard drive. Then I saw the wonderful and beautiful blogs by you all, and was hooked on the idea that these thoughts can be shared, that there is a creative and thoughtful community out there I would love to read. Not so novel an idea to you all, maybe, but to me ... share?... my thoughts? AND, that somebody may actually read them? Wow. So, thank you, Delwyn. I am honored to have you be the first follower to my blog, as I am so impressed by yours, a hazy moon, and the warmth that flows from it. I just started this blog a week ago, and am still figuring out the protocol, details and filling in content. I have purposefully excluded my profile because that is linked to my professional (little, simple, and also quite new) blog attached to my business website. I have clients from which I want to keep my personal life, thoughts, and dreams separate, espcially from my clients' ex-spouses - many of whom actually want to do me harm. And, I am writing this as a post, rather than a reply comment, because I wanted to both tip my hat to you, and explain the profile thing right up front. (And, just to clarify about my kids - I'm not concerned about their approval [they're cool], only their privacy.)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

My Family

You will likely see a lot of pictures of my dogs here. That is not to say that they are the most important beings in my life, just the most expose-able and accessible. My darling and beloved husband also shares my life, as well as my beautiful, talented and amazing children, grandchild and grandchild on the way. My children have adventured to distant states and thus are not around to capture in daily moments. Nor do I feel I have the right to publish their pictures without approval - and maybe I'll do that. For now, just for the record, I adore them all and they are always in my thoughts.

Landmarks

I included the Camus quote on this page because it explained my fear of losing days to obscurity. Although Camus was being poignant, and I have not had to suffer the tragedy of poverty he writes of in this book, my own memory seems to have been diluted by a lack of markers in years which passed, though happily, somewhat unremarkably. I guess I didn't pay attention. Those years of days of my children's childhoods passed in love and fun and appreciation for them, but I stayed home, did not travel much, went to the grocery store, did chores, played with three children, or did I just manage them? I think I was young, and as young people do, believed that that time would go on forever. Now that my children have begun to have their own children, they sometimes ask me things about their childhood. And, it is foggier than I want it to be. I want to have it back. I want to see it again. Did I need more markers? Or, should I have just paid more attention? I am 49. 49 years of life is within me. Do I have another 49? I look back (as we all do) and wonder where it went. I don't want to look back on THESE days and wonder where they went. I want to read the little details that are everything, see pictures of moments of daily life, the days in between the shining memorable moments of births, weddings, holidays, vacations - the landmarks. In between the landmarks is where we live. Unless of course we make a lot of landmarks!

Daylight Savings Time

Today is the first day of daylight savings time. I really am happy, really. But I associate "daylight savings time" with being OUTSIDE, in the evening after work or after dinner, sitting in the gazebo and enjoying the sunset, maybe a fire to keep away the mosquitoes. But, all nostalgia and longing is frustrated because there is still more than a foot of snow in the yard. As noted yesterday, the only place to "sit" is in the muddy driveway. And, it's supposed to snow tomorrow, again. Another 6 inches. Sigh.
So, what to do with gift of daylight at the end of the day right now? Go walk in the woods. And on that walk, I can enjoy one of my favorite things about snow - tracks. When I walk in the woods and get to see all the tracks left behind from the previous night,s activity, I feel as though I get a voyeur's view into the secret life of animals. It's sure easy to see where the deer move during the day, or that a bobcat passed by and chased a wild turkey. On the walk today I came across the biggest dog print I have every seen. I included my own foot for perspective - notice that paw print is as big as mine!
I am also amazed at how life works around snow. I checked on the stream that runs by the trail, and was amazed that the snow is deeply covering most of the stream, while the water just goes along, flowing beneath it. I think there is a message there.

The dogs on the way back - look a little more tired than the first picture, huh?

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Universal Feeling

What IS it about the hope of Spring? Today is WARM! And if feels that the world is moving outside, inexorably drawn to expose one's skin to the sun, smell the softness of the air and earth. My world is still covered with snow, and a lot of it. But, today's warmth has melted the ice layer off the driveway. John pulled out a chair and placed it in the middle of the melted spot. The chair pads, of course, are still in the basement - winter storage. The gazebo that usually houses the outdoor furniture in warmer weather sits a bare structure, similar in color and nakedness to the trees behind it, feet in snow.
So, sitting in that chair and feeling sun warm (not wood stove warm), you can't HELP but sigh, relax, breathe deeply, tilt your face upwards and close your eyes. See the veined red/orange of your eyelids that you haven't seen for nine months. Feel the ground give a little, no longer frozen hard. Hear drips everywhere, different rhythms and volumes depending on the volume of water flowing.
Oh, and about the dogs - you can't go outside without the dogs following, looking for adventure, one dropping a stick in front of you for your to throw (see stick at bottom of photo), another trying to steal same stick, another off alone sitting in a snowbank.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Some images from the past

July 12, 2008 I wish I could have taken a picture, but it was too dark. But I hope that I can capture the image for myself by this description. A few evenings ago, I went to woods on the other side of the garage for the dogs’ evening “visit.” It had been raining hard that day, but had stopped by the time the dogs and I got outside. The air was heavy still with the wet, and it was deeply overcast so that it was even slightly misty. It was nearly dark; but not quite. There was just enough light to make out trees with mossy sides, dark ferns covering the forest floor, cool rocks glossy and softly reflective with condensed mist. It was in the gloaming. It made you need to stand still. Once still, you could see the fireflies. The woods were full of fireflies intermittently glowing on… then off, gliding about the air. You could see them for quite a distance, as far as you could see through the woods. See it? This is where the idea of fairies comes from.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

And so it starts. This sort of public (if anyone finds it) augmented adaptation of my heretofore private photo-journal. I have been inspired by you, you talented writers blogging your stories whom are listed here (still adding to the list). I do not necessarily expect to match your talent, but this space is not for that competition. It is for expression. The techonology offers easy methods to add "elements" to this page. My words have a visual context, and a permanent real place outside my laptop. Wow!