Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Falling Eve

The air, now crisp and thin, like old lace
frames the calming sunsets
which are a dichotomy of torrid fire, 
a slow moving sentinal
repeating the habit of farewell

Air that carries a type of chill
easily blocked by a silk scarf
yet still able to blow memories
into the listening ear
of a familiar Song of adieu.

For just this vitreous moment
the silence is quantum
speaking of an eternity
of rhythmic forordination 
that is our destiny while we are here


Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Wildest that flows through a Population?

Rivers are the life blood of much of America.

We hiked along a river that runs through three states and one District.
It extends 383 miles from the Appalachian Mountains to the Chesapeake Bay and starts way up high in the mountains.

This river is the home to many many birds.

Both the great blue heron and the bald eagle live here.

The river has had a long relationship with man as well.  People lived along it shores 15,000 years ago.

During the American Civil War (1861–1865), the river traced the border between the Union and the Confederacy.  It WAS the line that divided the country.

People pull their canoes and kayaks out as they reach the gorge.  It is too dangerous to go on in some places.

For those who take the land the hiking along the shoreline is sometimes easy and sometimes difficult, But it is also beautiful this time of year.

Can you see hubby struggling with the rocks?

A waterfall from the Canal.
Do you know which river this is?

Friday, October 23, 2015

Water Project

You have to go to my other blog to see what was happening here with that large aluminum disk in the canoe.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Have You Checked Your Magnetic Compass Lately?

I was at a local concert with a casual friend the other evening.  (We were listening to brassy and bold shanty songs of the sailors and oystermen of the Chesapeake Bay.  Most of the songs were original, but still had that boozy sexuality that only boatmen seem to love.  Must have something to do with the up and down of the waves.)

During the intermission, the woman explained to me how she had lived most of her life on the West Coast of America and always accepted that the massive body of water was to the West.  Then she moved here to the East coast a little more than a decade ago and she said she still has to sometimes reset her internal compass to accept that the water is to the East, that the sun sets over the continent.  I thought about this and then somehow realized we are like birds, turtles and lots of others, such as some butterflies, in having that magnetic compass that has been set inside by the earth.  Like us they instinctively know North and South and East and West and then have it confirmed by land masses and bodies of water and sometimes by smells and wind drifts.  I think we do the same, but ignore this inner link to our earth because we have other technical guidance systems and pathways that distract us and keep us on task.  The artificial temperatures we create and the artificial smells turn us to a narrower path.

This year I had only ONE Monarch butterfly visit the yard.  I have planted at least three butterfly milkweed plants for them to eat and use, but to no avail.  They are disappearing.  We never had many on this side of the continent, but now some are talking of near extinction.  It is just a butterfly after all.  Who would notice if it was gone?  It is just one more tiny knot in the fabric of life that it beginning to come loose.  

Friday, October 16, 2015

Saturday, October 10, 2015

The Wind Comes

It is just before 4:00 on a windy afternoon in autumn, the kind of windy day where two hundred foot tree tops wave back and forth against a semi-cloudy blue sky, the kind of windy day that causes leaves to shush most of mankind’s back ground noise into the distance, the kind of windy day that turns the descending sun into stars of light that peak through the tree branches.

Chickadees come close to the feeder and scold me for sitting on my deck and interfering with their peaceful snacking, but quickly give up and steal a sunflower seed and fly away to a tall oak at the edge of the yard where they pummel it against a branch until the sweet meat is released and like small children they come again and again.

The noise of the wind rises and falls and clouds up in the sky slowly grow from misty white lace to cotton balls that link to form a downy comforter slowly hiding the blue blanket.  I keep thinking that some type of big vista music should be building in the background to accompany this fall change in weather.

The turkey vultures that look so raw and ugly on the ground have become brown feather kites waltzing in the air, dancing so gracefully with each gust that they have been transposed to sky dancers.  They sweep and fall and no longer seem part of this earth.  I am the ugly grounded being.

Brown dry leaves dance at my feet as the wind pushes them across the deck.  They claw and scratch but their time is done.  They soon will become soil and feed another plant in the spring.  Now they are old and veined and torn in places reminding me of myself.  I was once young and lime green and full of the sun’s energy.

A small tuft of a groundsel tree seed is caught in the table top struggling to be released on the important journey of regeneration.  The wind continues to bring whispers of winter hurrying me along to collect buckets of kindling, to split more wood and to inhale deeply the warm air before it  is gone.

Everything remains such a luxurious green that the season is still cloaked in deceptive costume.  We have had the rains that made the plants think the change in season was not coming.  Even the fescue has re-emerged to hide the healthy crab grass and we can walk once again on soft velvet.  But the wind is  like a mother's hands shooing her children  on their way home before nightfall.

None of us know how many of these moments are left for us, so I savor each one.  I study and listen and smell the beginning of autumn as it opens the door to begin its starring role.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Named After a Greek God

There is a steady plant that blooms so faithfully along the shore of "my" river at this time of year. Like most fall flowers it also is a member of the aster family.  I think mine is the Baccharis halimifolia, but we just call it saltbush.  Another common name is groundsel tree.  It has an herby smell in the fall and reminds one of the dry crispness of leaves and fall weather and maybe the far from here desert of the West.

The rising waters of the river with higher tides during some years have pushed this fellow back against the shoreline and killed some of my plants.  Yes, it never fails to show brightly like little lights against the water as all the leaves on the trees change colors.

The flowers resemble silver paint brushes.

It is an important food source for all the pollinators trying to get the last nutrition before the first frost.  In summer it is a shelter for the nests of marsh wrens.  Like many plants it can be an invasive and this one is considered to be in Australia of all places!

It also makes a very nice backdrop to the sunset.

Baccharis is the ancient Greek name (derived from the god Bacchus) of a plant with fragrant roots.  I did not find anything about wine.  As the season ages these white paintbrushes become exploding tufts of cotton floating freely on the air.

Thursday, October 01, 2015


Going to miss the sweet warm glow of summer. But glad that I am still part of the cycle of life.