Sunday, February 07, 2016

The Yin and Yang

Winter has visited us like a tired boxer, maybe like Rocky Balboa, a bit past its prime, still looking good and able to spread white dust everywhere, but unable to go the distance, unable to make us sit up and notice for much more than twenty-four hours.   

Winter was not able to kill the weeds this time around and my work will be long and arduous as spring brings longer growing days soon.   

The hellebores are a tease calling me to get down into the mud on my knees or to sit on the cold hard brick which edges the raised bed beneath my sugar maple and squeeze off a camera shot or two while cold winds whistle at my collar and shake the blossoms gentlyThis milder weather will make them glorious against the grays but it will stress my maple because it has not had a long enough rest.

 It is always a trade off, is it not?

Friday, February 05, 2016

After Midnight

It is past midnight and something has pulled me out of my light sleep. Some evenings sleep comes like a full sedative and other evenings it hangs in the air over my bed taunting me by blowing air in my face each time I start to go under.

I watch the moon's light dance across the bedroom that what aroused my senses?  Clouds mask the pearl and the room darkens once again.

Then I hear another sound outside the window. It is the geese convention that meets here in February.  It is a large convention of strutters and flappers and hearty laughers.  There are hundreds of them tucked all the way to the end of our finger of the river, and all it takes is one tip-toeing fox to set them off on a chorus line of brassy musical crescendos faking bravery.

I wait and once again comes the hush of night,  the sound of an appliance whooshing softly, the air ducts clicking with the warmth pushing into the room.

Then I hear another sound more clearly.  The sound of rain washing against a skylight in the other part of the house, rain that in minutes changes to pattering hail, tossing tiny orbs of ice as if in some ball game, a tapping so gentle that it should put me back into sleep, but it does not, because I must go back to bed and I am now up.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016


At the small cove off the river the ice was broken and tossed ashore as the warm winds came up this week.  It looked like the remainder of a bar fight.  Maybe an argument over how long to leave the vodka bottles in the freezer?

Then just around the corner to the beach the only remaining sign was the big dog walk.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Padded Thoughts

The sound of the woods changes dramatically after the snow storm.  I am in a white padded room where the hush of my breath is the loudest noise I hear.  If I move slowly past the dusted trees, the only other sound  I hear is the sound of my feet packing the wet snow, a sound like satin sliding against a wall.  Nothing else is moving in the early morning woods.  I am the first to leave a mark on the way to the river.  I hate that my mark is large and ugly.  I wish I could fly like a bird leaving only the flick of a flake...arriving with just a dusting from a branch.

Having a camera to capture and preserve the purity and sinless beauty when nature blankets all the corners and jagged breaks and shafts of darkness with soft whiteness brings a preserved moment of peace.  It seems to arrest time for just a bit.  I feel as if a restart button has been pressed when I look at my winter album.  It is time for us to stop, sigh, and hold our thoughts.  Time to be solid in our place in the universe, time to be a part of the beauty.  Time to study how the platforms of ice move slowly against each other gently shoving and adjusting how they fit in complete and peaceful silence with the others.  

But nighttime in this white world is a different game.

This night I am snuggled deep in the soft quilt and just drifting into a rewarding sleep after my day of chores when the shrieking cry of a woman being sliced open pierces the darkness.  I hold my breath and race to the top window that overlooks the yard.  The loud and haunting cry comes again and again like a knife through the dark.  It is the reminder from the red fox that the world needs to plan for a fertile spring well ahead of time.  It is time to think about rebirth even earlier than we expect.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Round and Round She Goes

Yesterday when the sun disappeared early behind a very cloudy sky it just winked before it disappeared over the horizon and flashed us with such color.  I walked through the drifts of snow on my deck to capture this. 

Then early this morning while I was making my coffee I was up early enough to capture this sunrise beauty. 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Life and Death

The red shouldered hawk has been visiting the yard on a regular basis.  There are two and I assume they are a pair as I have seen them together in the spring.  Now they play the game of divide and conquer.  One flies high over the yard calling and whistling and the other flies into the back yard waiting ever so patiently near the bird feeders.  It is as if he is watching the Discovery channel episode of song birds.  The other day he landed beneath the feeders hidden in the scrub and seemed to be peering beyond the trunk of our large oak tree.  The birds did not act as if they feared his presence as they came and went at the bird feeders with regularity.  I could not get close enough for good photos, so while some were taken outside, most were taken through the window.

I was studying him with my binoculars when he swooped down behind the tree into the leaf cover and hunkered flat.  At first I thought he has missed the squirrel which took off from under his wing just before he landed, but after watching carefully I noticed he was eating something.  If you look at the area near his bill you can see he has something in his mouth.  When I used the binoculars I saw it was a worm snake, about 8 inches in length.  In this cold weather it seemed unusual for this reptile to be in the leaves, but clearly the hawk was sharp-eyed.

He came back later in the afternoon and waited on the snag above the bird feeders.  He sat there most of the afternoon and did not seem to mind when I stepped outside onto my deck as long as I stayed close to the house.

He flew closer to the feeders and kept his back to me so that he could fly away.

 ...And he was rewarded in a short while with the capture of a tiny titmouse which he grabbed in his claws and carefully plucked and ate while sitting on a nearby branch.  I do not mind the loss of a songbird, there are many more in my yard.  If he had lingered longer I would have, of course, brought in the bird feeders.

There is no doubt in my mind, he will be back when this big winter storm arrives.