Friday, June 15, 2018

Light at the End of the Tunnel

Air so thick I can cut it with a knife
and then watch slabs fall with pudding-like thuds
at my feet onto the slimy grasses. 
I can wipe the wet mist from my face
as if I had been crying “repentlessly”. 
Where do the birds hide their naked fledglings? 
Where do the bees conceal themselves for days? 
The tree frogs and the spadefoots sing for hours, 
a festival of Huge and Small Leap Day. 
The slow turtles explore cool wet pavement
naïve to the jeopardy that awaits. 
And most dangerous of all woodland life,
the mosquitoes sing in high pitched, fated
annoyance everywhere that warm breath flows.

Deep emerald shade hides the small mammals
Frozen and watchful, certain they're unseen.
There is a pulsing; can nature find breath?
At night the breeze does not rise to cool us.
In the day the sun bravely scatters bright
Patches that have contrast to catch the eye,
But fail to pierce the hard and deep shadows
Beneath the green canopy of large, still leaves
That cluster in hushed anticipation
Reminding me to venture quietly
As I feel I'm alien in my land.

I shall sit until air kisses my face
and the trees wave green flags and dance again.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

It is Amungus

The rains are gentle or heavy or windy or calm, but in every single case, they are frequent and persistent. How long can we hang on? It means I am not dragging a hose across the lawn to the herb bed. It means I have to fertilize my potted plants again as their soil has been soaked and drained of nutrition. I am amazed that my pots of geraniums against the railings of my deck are still alive as they prefer the sunnier drier climate of California. Have you seen how big geranium blossoms get there? Have you seen how big every flower gets there??  We have had so much constant rain that the trimming of geraniums that I did a few days ago to get the pots to bush more have not died.  These are clippings which I threw over the deck railing to the lawn below and are still blooming and looking as if they are air plants as I gaze down on them from my perch above as they lie on the lawn below. 

The woods are pulsing like some great, green giant flexing its scales on either side of my house and threatening to smother me from the sun if take one misstep.  Birds can completely hide in the camouflage and all I hear is their disembodied song as if coming from a foreign land.  The new fawn and her mother are almost ghosts as they dart between deep shade and deeper shade.

My walk to the dock takes me by these exotic emergents, some already sampled for flavor by that annoying squirrel.

I remain the small player in this season of growth.

Saturday, June 09, 2018


The day is warm but not hot, and last night's heavy rain has filled the crockery birdbath again. The male cardinal flies in with two attentive stops on the deck railing to survey the territory. He has lost his bright sexy red and is now into the faded color of a harried parent. When he feels safe, he perches on the edge of the birdbath and swishes his face back and forth a few times across the surface to test the temperature. When he is satisfied he plops into the bath and splashes for a few minutes and then perches and shakes in a nearby bush while the female follows him and attends to her ablutions. They are methodical and careful and do not stay long and soon return to their noisy singing in the trees. 

The titmouse, on the other hand, flies in with lots of tweets and acrobatics and skids to a crash into the bird bath without caution or fear. She flops and sprays and shakes for quite some time before the male shows up and perches in the nearby lime tree to survey the area. When she has gotten so wet she looks half her size and her little perk at the top of her head is mashed down and she is the color of gray mud, she disappears into the edge of the woods to shake freely before her partner gets his turn.  Water ends up everywhere. They are enthusiastic about life and perhaps that is why I sometimes find their feathers in a catastrophic pile in the lawn.

Wednesday, June 06, 2018


The weather is cool, which I love, at my home. Hanging in the low 70's is perfect for easing into the next season and I wish it would last even longer.  I love sweater weather when the sun is shining or non-sweater weather when there is a slightly cool breeze under a warming sun.  But I do not have to heat a swimming pool or get children off early in the morning in swimsuits to Team.

In Southern California the sun almost always shines (at least that is what they want you to believe) and summer is there in full swing in early June.  Above is a place called Newport Beach where you can forget for a moment all the worries of the world and pretend you just got out of school for the next three months and have all that free time ahead of you.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

I am Woke

Restless light sleep as I toss in the humid night air. Wondering what is tugging at my dreams and pulling me awake. I quietly plod to the bathroom, but for some reason do not turn on the light. My eyes adjust to the velvet night outside the window, and I see it. Magical fairies dancing in the branches of the trees with their lanterns. They climb and climb and climb until they are at the very top against the black silhouette of heavy leaves.  This celebration is what must have woke me.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Lean in for Your Close-up

I have been inspired by some other bloggers (such as Anvilcloud at the AC is On) to work at some macros of the flowers in my yard. I do not know if it is old age (mine) or the increasing warming and shortening of the spring seasons (climate change) or whatever, but my flowers seem to come and go so fast that I barely have time to record their ephemeral and infant beauty.  They are like enchanted virgins that must retreat before midnight!

Below are the very few  starlets that I found time to capture.  All photos have been gently manipulated.  The first is for sale  as a print and I put it on the site where I sell (on very rare occasions) a photo or two.

This above is one of my peonies which blooms very little as it is planted in too deep a shade beneath the dogwood perhaps styled as an homage to  O'Keeffe. I am moving it this fall and dividing it and urging it to go forth and propagate in a sunnier location.

This wild geranium gets more abundant every year, but it is also done blooming now!  I planted it because it is native.

And above is another peony that has survived our daily or nightly rainstorms.  This has been around about a decade and is also due for a division this fall.

I am guessing you see the common theme here including the poppies above.  Everything is covered in raindrops!!

Monday, May 21, 2018

Is That Sunshine on my Shoulder?

Come walk with me on this early morning where the temp is already at 70F.  The sun has finally been brave enough to break through the clouds.  The trail is dry in most places but every so often you will have to jump the mud puddles and walk the wet leaves at the side of the trail around the squishy muddy middles.  It is easy to see where the deer have dipped their toes in mud as well.  The rain has brought out all the tiny mushrooms in the cracks of the dead wood.

This may or may not be coral spot fungus. It is most certainly poisonous but does not look that edible, anyway.

Our original objective was mountain laurel, usually in bloom this time of year.  Sadly 80% if the buds/blossoms had been knocked to the ground by the torrential rains.

We spotted a few hardy clumps in the sun near the beaver dams.  Mentioning the beavers, I will write that they were having a marvelous time blocking the abundance of water with dams everywhere.  I am sure the park officials were frustrated as many of the trails along the marshes had flooded due to the engineering of this flat-tailed water mammal.  You could almost hear them clapping their little forehands with glee that there was water deep enough to actually float some large logs!

This chap was pretty ambitious.

The forest floor was also littered with holly blossoms from the rain.  It made me wonder what happens to the insects and wildlife that depend on the lengthier blooming of these plants?

We heard the song of the Summer Tanager in the high canopy of the forest.  There was once the call of a Mourning Dove, and of course the territorial cry of the woodpeckers.  There was also an abundance of Chickadees, Cardinals, and Titmice, which are common in our own woods.

I was looking at the patches of sunshine for native orchids but had no luck.

Deceptive patches of grass were very wet soaks from nearby brooks.  Too wet to walk across.

Even the bark of the slash pine was growing green algae in the breaks of the bark!