Thursday, September 26, 2013

Snow on the mountains this morning.....

   Snow on the mountains

 Rain in the valley, and the willow tree leans close,
tapping on the window, glistening with raindrops.

Out in the garden the sunflowers take note of the of the white mountain tops
 and lean closer together, waiting for the small birds to come to come and feast,
 twittering with news of the approach of winter.

I bring the plants  from the summer porch and tuck them in for winter
wherever there is a window to surround them with light  - 
 and sunshine, when it comes. 
They have grown during their summer sojourn, both in size and numbers
as my good neighbor has popped across the street with plants freshly propagated,
-  or in need of!!!
The mail arrives and in it a poem from 'A Year of Being Here'

September Midnight   Sara Teasdale

Lyric night of the lingering Indian Summer,
Shadowy fields that are scentless but full of singing,
Never a bird, but the passionless chant of insects,
       Ceaseless, insistent.  

The grasshopper’s horn, and far-off, high in the maples,
The wheel of a locust leisurely grinding the silence
Under a moon waning and worn, broken,
       Tired with summer.  

Let me remember you, voices of little insects,
Weeds in the moonlight, fields that are tangled with asters,
Let me remember, soon will the winter be on us,
       Snow-hushed and heavy.  

Over my soul murmur your mute benediction,
While I gaze, O fields that rest after harvest,
As those who part look long in the eyes they lean to,
       Lest they forget them.
A little blue sky, a little sunshine now, late in the morning.
A digital Skype call from our youngest son, up on the meadow in the Chilcotin,
with live pictures of chipmunks running along the snake fence
that surrounds the property, - what he calls the chipmunks'
four-lane highways as they use each layer of the fence
for transporting seeds from the meadow to their winter stash.
He tells me of his morning visit to the beaver's dam
and how she has prepared for winter, with her
stack of willow wood and her smooth mud entry
to the water from her cozy stick home.
And of the symbiotic arrangement the black bear (that makes the meadow
his summer home) has with the beaver;  in return for access to her waterway
he discourages the beaver from straying too far from home and cutting down the aspen
that the two footed inhabitants of the meadow
set great store by, and would be very cross and not have such friendly feelings
for the beaver were she to include the aspen in her winter stash of food, along with the willow.
I am eternally and incredibly amazed at the technology that allows me to see
from 500 miles away little clips of
chipmunks, racing along the fence, -
the beaver's home, and
occasionally even the black bear (although not often)
Did see a Grizzly on the meadow once, though, via Skype.
Perhaps if the sun keeps shining and the clouds part I will get up
to the country garden and get that red peony
and a huge hosta that needs to be moved and make roots before winter arrives.
Sometimes I think Fall is as fickle as Spring and as much of a tease
before they finally usher in Summer and Winter.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

And so go the days....

When I went to have dinner with my son and daughter-in-law Sunday evening they sent me home with a bountiful box of apples, exotic peppers and veggies from the farm of their good East Indian friend, and among the tomatoes they included a couple of lovely green immatures because Sid remembered my fondness for fried green tomatoes (both the movie and the actual thick slices, breaded and fried and reminding me of my father, who shared the passion).

And so this morning for breakfast I had a poached egg, a few slices of fried green tomatoes and a piece of whole grain toast - healthy and delicious.  I felt quite well-fed and comfortable as I started off to walk to the Seniors' Centre and spend the morning with the singing group that Charles so enjoyed, and which I have taken up.  Not because my voice adds anything to the choir, but because of friendships' sake!

I wore my new/old jeans which my youngest daughter brought me yesterday from her stash and felt quite young and 'with-it' - and besides, they fit just perfectly and didn't hang despondently around my twenty pounds lighter frame, as all my dress pants do.

I have had lunch, done up a parcel of books for my sister in Alberta, including Anna Quindlen's 'Blessings", written her a little note and now I am off to the library, to the bank and the post office.

I had planned to go to the other garden and retrieve yet one more red peony, but the wind is chilly. so I will spend my gardening time in the library, investigating shelves and new arrivals and DVDs which help to pass the elongated evenings as the darkness comes upon one earlier with each day that passes.

Tonight I'm going out for prawns at the Branding Iron, - their Wednesday Night special!!!  When I come home I will knit a bit on the long scarf I am making, - mindlessly the needles clack as I watch an old movie, - Mia Farrow in The Purple Rose of Cairo.

I will take my new book to bed with me.  "I am of Irelaunde" - a novel of Patrick and Osian, beautiful, mystical, and hopefully sleep inducing....although the little blurbs on the back cover surely don't indicate that!!

Ah well, so go the days.....

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Kingfisher

ABC Wednesday
The letter is K for Kingfisher

An excerpt from Chris Arthur's book of essays entitled "Irish Nocturnes"

page 69, Kingfishers, the first paragraph......

"Their plumage is so richly iridescent, the blue and red so bright, that for my first few sightings of them kingfishers seemed unnatural.  They struck the eye as something artificial, synthetic, clad in all the arid shininess of plastic, rather than the subtler hues of life.  To see them flash past constitutes such a discordant eruption of sudden metallic colour against the muted greens and browns of their riverside haunts, that it's not surprising if the mind reaches at first for man-made analogues in order to find some likeness for them.  Having this little chromatic missile shoot into view without warning can even create an expectation of noise.  It's as if one had been surprised by a tiny, secret, supersonic jet, roaring its intrusion through the world, the fly-past soon to be caught up with by the same ear-splitting barrage of sound that follows in the wake of low-flying fighter planes."

and after an essay in which he comments on the slight chance of seeing a kingfisher in Ireland, the serendipity moments when you do, and compares this to the moments of chance in our lives that destiny seems to choose to change our lives forever (if I had lingered just one minute more - if I had not gone down by the river that Sunday afternoon...)

 he ends his essay with this paragraph.....

"And, in the end, the impossible question: is our life punctuated by a flash of kingfisher colour as something transcendent impinges on us, or are we imprisoned in the world we see, earthbound and clumsy, shackled immovably to the chains of our finitude?  Is there, behind the stink of fish in a dark hole in the earth, some hope of bright colour beyond it?  I've looked hard for the fly-past that might herald such otherness.  Sometimes I have been surprised by something unexpected, sudden, beautiful, seemingly like the stuff of fantasy, too exotic for the mundane world.  But have I really seen it?  Sometimes nothing much seems to stir above the waters of the ordinary.  But has my vigil been sufficiently keen to catch that sudden flash of sapphire light?  In the end, the final answer, if there is one, lies downstream, where all the currents of water, air, flesh and feather are inexorably leading us."

I cannot recommend "Irish Nocturnes" too much - or other books of essays by Chris Arthur.

And perhaps you might enjoy watching the video above, on painting the vibrant and iridescent Kingfisher.

For more takes on K do a fly-past ABC Wednesday, here, with thanks to Denise, Roger and all who help with this great meme.