Friday, January 29, 2010

Full Moon Rising

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart."
Helen Keller

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Curtain

Just over the horizon a great machine of death is roaring and

One can hear it always. Earthquake, starvation, the ever-

renewing field of corpse-flesh.
In this valley the snow falls silently all day and out our window
We see the curtain of it shifting and folding, hiding us away in

our little house,
We see earth smoothened and beautified, made like a fantasy, the

snow-clad trees
So graceful in a dream of peace. In our new bed, which is big

enough to seem like the north pasture almost
With our two cats, Cooker and Smudgins, lying undisturbed in

the southeastern and southwestern corners,
We lie loving and warm, looking out from time to time.

"Snowbound," we say. We speak of the poet
Who lived with his young housekeeper long ago in the

mountains of the western province, the kingdom
Of complete cruelty, where heads fell like wilted flowers and

snow fell for many months across the mouth
Of the pass and drifted deep in the vale. In our kitchen the

maple-fire murmurs
In our stove. We eat cheese and new-made bread and jumbo

Spanish olives
That have been steeped in our special brine of jalapeños and

garlic and dill and thyme.
We have a nip or two from the small inexpensive cognac that

makes us smile and sigh.
For a while we close the immense index of images

which is
Our lives--for instance, the child on the Mescalero reservation

in New Mexico in 1966
Sitting naked in the dirt outside his family's hut of tin and

Covered with sores, unable to speak. But of course the child is

here with us now,
We cannot close the index. How will we survive? We don't and

cannot know.
Beyond the horizon a great unceasing noise is undeniable. The

May break through and come lurching into our valley at any

moment, at any moment.
Cheers, baby. Here's to us. See how the curtain of snow wavers

and falls back.

Hayden Carruth

Saturday, January 23, 2010

In this short Life

In this short Life
That only lasts an hour
How much -- how little -- is
Within our power

Emily Dickinson

Friday, January 22, 2010


Monday, January 18, 2010

The Instinct of Hope

Is there another world for this frail dust
To warm with life and be itself again?
Something about me daily speaks there must,
And why should instinct nourish hopes in vain?
'Tis nature's prophesy that such will be,
And everything seems struggling to explain
The close sealed volume of its mystery.
Time wandering onward keeps its usual pace
As seeming anxious of eternity,
To meet that calm and find a resting place.
E'en the small violet feels a future power
And waits each year renewing blooms to bring,
And surely man is no inferior flower
To die unworthy of a second spring?

John Clare

Friday, January 15, 2010

Immature Golden Eagle

Aquila chrysaetos


Sunday, January 10, 2010


I want to say something intelligent about the weather. I desperately want to link it to climate change. Yet I read that even prominent climate change scientists are saying this cold snap most of the US is under is part of a natural cycle. Sure, I seem to remember every year seeing the films of farmers spraying their oranges and lemons and strawberries with water to keep the fruit from freezing. Afterall, the farmers have those systems installed to save their crops; so freezing temps are not totally unexpected in warmer climes.

I have even heard of iguanas falling out of trees.

But I stand outside the box of conventional science, and allow the data to seep into the core of my life. And I don't really recall massive storms starting on the west coast and burying the whole country in a wide swath before dumping two feet of snow on Maine and then sitting over the ocean blanketing us in relative warmth while pumping arctic air into the south.

Still, although old, I am relatively young in regards to the weather keeping of even this young nation.

But I remember things that scientists studying climate have done, such as the closed system attempted a few years ago (BIO DOME) with seven different microclimates that six scientists locked themselves into. That ended up being a rather embarrassing joke IMO.

I recall being so infuriated at a simple question in a science course I needed for my Bio degree that I dropped out. The question gave basic dimensions for a lake, the amount of mercury concentrated in the water, and asked how much mercury was in the lake. While on the surface a basic mathematical problem, I felt that it was a prime example of how the scientific community draws conclusions from generalizations. For example, figuring the dimensions of any body of water is really a generalization. Coves, shallows, irregular dimensions depths, and so on, is really just guessitmating volume. Secondly, the mercury would not be evenly distributed throughout the lake. A random sampling of water multiplied by the guessimate of the volume? Mercury builds in sediment, tissues of the inhabitants...yet the student is being trained to assume that the answer that they must give to the precise measure is really a measure of the mercury found in that body of water.

So, it was just a math question. I argued that it was laying groundwork to train future scientists to make massive generalizations on complicated ecosystems.

Until a climate scientist has physically built an actual closed system-not a computer model- with the same ratio of mass as the earth, with a closed atmosphere, and the input of a million other variables, IMO they cannot really accurately predict what is going to happen as the CO2 in the atmosphere rises higher than has even been recorded in the history of the Earth. Change? No denying that! Uniform change? That's already being disproved with the higher rise of average temperatures at the poles vs the rest of the planet. But can it be said with absolute confidence that the unusual weather patterns the entire world is experiencing are not part of this change?

That's right, the world-The UK and the rest of Europe, addition to the US.

It is change and it is unpredictable- using current scientific method. Like a child careening out of control down a snow-covered slope, We can only hold on for the ride.

Just a few years ago we were told the ice would be gone in the Arctic ocean in the summer in 100 years. Then it was 50. Now it is less than ten. That's where generalizations will get you.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Joy Of Being Poor

Let others sing of gold and gear, the joy of being rich;
But oh, the days when I was poor, a vagrant in a ditch!
When every dawn was like a gem, so radiant and rare,
And I had but a single coat, and not a single care;
When I would feast right royally on bacon, bread and beer,
And dig into a stack of hay and doze like any peer;
When I would wash beside a brook my solitary shirt,
And though it dried upon my back I never took a hurt;
When I went romping down the road contemptuous of care,
And slapped Adventure on the back -- by Gad! we were a pair;
When, though my pockets lacked a coin, and though my coat was old,
The largess of the stars was mine, and all the sunset gold;
When time was only made for fools, and free as air was I,
And hard I hit and hard I lived beneath the open sky;
When all the roads were one to me, and each had its allure . . .
Ye Gods! these were the happy days, the days when I was poor.


Or else, again, old pal of mine, do you recall the times
You struggled with your storyettes, I wrestled with my rhymes;
Oh, we were happy, were we not? -- we used to live so "high"
(A little bit of broken roof between us and the sky);
Upon the forge of art we toiled with hammer and with tongs;
You told me all your rippling yarns, I sang to you my songs.
Our hats were frayed, our jackets patched, our boots were down at heel,
But oh, the happy men were we, although we lacked a meal.
And if I sold a bit of rhyme, or if you placed a tale,
What feasts we had of tenderloins and apple-tarts and ale!
And yet how often we would dine as cheerful as you please,
Beside our little friendly fire on coffee, bread and cheese.
We lived upon the ragged edge, and grub was never sure,
But oh, these were the happy days, the days when we were poor.


Alas! old man, we're wealthy now, it's sad beyond a doubt;
We cannot dodge prosperity, success has found us out.
Your eye is very dull and drear, my brow is creased with care,
We realize how hard it is to be a millionaire.
The burden's heavy on our backs -- you're thinking of your rents,
I'm worrying if I'll invest in five or six per cents.
We've limousines, and marble halls, and flunkeys by the score,
We play the part . . . but say, old chap, oh, isn't it a bore?
We work like slaves, we eat too much, we put on evening dress;
We've everything a man can want, I think . . . but happiness.
Come, let us sneak away, old chum; forget that we are rich,
And earn an honest appetite, and scratch an honest itch.
Let's be two jolly garreteers, up seven flights of stairs,
And wear old clothes and just pretend we aren't millionaires;
And wonder how we'll pay the rent, and scribble ream on ream,
And sup on sausages and tea, and laugh and loaf and dream.

And when we're tired of that, my friend, oh, you will come with me;
And we will seek the sunlit roads that lie beside the sea.
We'll know the joy the gipsy knows, the freedom nothing mars,
The golden treasure-gates of dawn, the mintage of the stars.
We'll smoke our pipes and watch the pot, and feed the crackling fire,
And sing like two old jolly boys, and dance to heart's desire;
We'll climb the hill and ford the brook and camp upon the moor . . .
Old chap, let's haste, I'm mad to taste the Joy of Being Poor.

Robert William Service


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Winter Flock returns

11 days from the installation of the new feeder I heard the birds arrive this am. They were all over the new feeder and I was inspired to build a second one similar to the old one. The chickadees were inches away from me while I was installing the second feeder. I 'deed back at them and wondered if they remembered me from last year...?

In the pic eating spilled black oil sunflower seed: American Goldfinches, Black capped chickadee, and a Junco.

Sunday, January 3, 2010


Spake full well, in language quaint and olden,
One who dwelleth by the castled Rhine,
When he called the flowers, so blue and golden,
Stars, that in earth's firmament do shine.

Stars they are, wherein we read our history,
As astrologers and seers of eld;
Yet not wrapped about with awful mystery,
Like the burning stars, which they beheld.

Wondrous truths, and manifold as wondrous,
God hath written in those stars above;
But not less in the bright flowerets under us
Stands the revelation of his love.

Bright and glorious is that revelation,
Written all over this great world of ours;
Making evident our own creation,
In these stars of earth, these golden flowers.

And the Poet, faithful and far-seeing,
Sees, alike in stars and flowers, a part
Of the self-same, universal being,
Which is throbbing in his brain and heart.

Gorgeous flowerets in the sunlight shining,
Blossoms flaunting in the eye of day,
Tremulous leaves, with soft and silver lining,
Buds that open only to decay;

Brilliant hopes, all woven in gorgeous tissues,
Flaunting gayly in the golden light;
Large desires, with most uncertain issues,
Tender wishes, blossoming at night!

These in flowers and men are more than seeming;
Workings are they of the self-same powers,
Which the Poet, in no idle dreaming,
Seeth in himself and in the flowers.

Everywhere about us are they glowing,
Some like stars, to tell us Spring is born;
Others, their blue eyes with tears o'er-flowing,
Stand like Ruth amid the golden corn;

Not alone in Spring's armorial bearing,
And in Summer's green-emblazoned field,
But in arms of brave old Autumn's wearing,
In the centre of his brazen shield;

Not alone in meadows and green alleys,
On the mountain-top, and by the brink
Of sequestered pools in woodland valleys,
Where the slaves of nature stoop to drink;

Not alone in her vast dome of glory,
Not on graves of bird and beast alone,
But in old cathedrals, high and hoary,
On the tombs of heroes, carved in stone;

In the cottage of the rudest peasant,
In ancestral homes, whose crumbling towers,
Speaking of the Past unto the Present,
Tell us of the ancient Games of Flowers;

In all places, then, and in all seasons,
Flowers expand their light and soul-like wings,
Teaching us, by most persuasive reasons,
How akin they are to human things.

And with childlike, credulous affection
We behold their tender buds expand;
Emblems of our own great resurrection,
Emblems of the bright and better land.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Year's Morning 2010