Sunday, October 30, 2011

My wife and I  have a basement full of
Halloween decorations. In the past we hosted
pumpkin carving parties, however the last few
years we have not done much, so I thought it was
time to sacrifice a pumpkin and fight with a few
strings of lights.
( I lost only the spiders are lighting up )
The squirrels have gone crazy for the pumpkin
seeds, the jays are unimpressed.

Also since I am a huge fan of H. P. Lovecraft and have
way too many Arkham House books, Cthulhu toys etc.
I thought in this spooky season nothing would be more
appropriate than a quote from the old gentleman
himself. From the story "A Picture in the House"
an over wrought story but a great opening. 

"Searchers after horror haunt strange, far places. For them are the catacombs
of Ptolemais, and the carven mausolea of the nightmare countries. They
climb to the moonlit towers of ruined Rhine castles, and falter down black
cobwebbed steps beneath the scattered stones of forgotten cities in Asia.
The haunted wood and the desolate mountain are their shrines, and they
linger around the sinister monoliths on uninhabited islands. But the true
epicure in the terrible, to whom a new thrill of unutterable ghastliness is
the chief end and justification of existence, esteems most of all the ancient,
lonely farmhouses of backwoods New England; for there the dark elements
of strength, solitude, grotesqueness, and ignorance combine to form the
perfection of the hideous.

      Most horrible of all sights are the little unpainted wooden houses
remote from travelled ways, usually squatted upon some damp,
grassy slope or leaning against some gigantic outcropping of rock.
Two hundred years and more they have leaned or squatted there,
while the vines have crawled and the trees have swelled and spread.
They are almost hidden now in lawless luxuriances of green and
guardian shrouds of shadow; but the small-paned windows still
stare shockingly, as if blinking through a lethal stupor which wards
off madness by dulling the memory of unutterable things."

The Picture in the House
H.P. Lovecraft

Monday, October 24, 2011

Since my return from Washington I have been
looking at photos of some of the great paintings
we saw, I was wondering if I should post some
details of the beautiful landscapes we saw at the
National Museum of American Art.

I had just begun to reread a wonderful book, 
Edwward Hirsch's How to Read a Poem and
Fall in love with Poetry, when I opened it and
saw this quote from Emerson's journals. I knew
I wanted to use the paintings and the quote
together. I did not record all the artist and titles
of the painting we saw. The last by Moran was
one of my favorites

Below a detail from
The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
Thomas Moran

"I dreamed that I floated at will in the great Ether,
and I saw this world floating also not far off, but
diminished to the size of an apple. Then an angel
took it in his hand & brought it to me and said
'This must thou eat.' And I ate the world"

                      Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday, October 22, 2011

As  I mentioned earlier this week we just spent two
weeks in Ontario and Washington DC. So we
spent a lot of time in museums and galleries.
One place I wanted to visit was the National
Museum of American Art as I especially wanted
to see works by Thomas Hart Benton and
the Hudson River School however we were
not expecting the beautiful exhibit of folk art.
My wife did find the comment in the visitor
book that " Some of this stuff looks like any one
could have made it " amusing. I though a lot of it
was beyond my skill, patience and imagination.
Rather than ending with a quote from a poem
I thought I would end with a quote posted in the

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

When we returned from Washington DC we knew
we were probably leaving blooming roses and trickling
fountains, so this was no surprise.

However it did rain the last two days in DC and
the tamaracks have never looked lovelier.

"Why should you think that beauty lies
Only under distant skies:
When maples softly sway and bend
And robins greet you as a  friend,
Why should you long for palms, or sigh
To see strange rivers slipping by:
You, for whom meadow brooks run clear,
And little paths are known and dear?

Why should you think the moon may be
More golden over some far sea:
And where will you find hills to roam
As lovely as the hills of home?
What can earth give you, near or far,
But wind and sea and dawn and star;
With all of these beside your door
Why should you cross the world for more?"

                                          For Beauty Near
                                              Floris Clark McLean

Sunday, October 16, 2011

My wife and I have been out of town for two weeks.
The first week we visited my family in Ontario
the second week we went to Washington DC
where she had a symposium. We mostly went
to art galleries so I do not have a lot of nature
shots from the trip but I will be posting some
photos in the next couple of weeks. In the
meantime here are some shots from the
area behind my office taken just before I left.

University Research Park
09-27 and 09-28

"Crow turned the words into a reservoir, collecting the water.
The water turned into an earthquake, swallowing the reservoir.

The earthquake turned into a hare and leaped for the hill
Having eaten Crow's words.

Crow gazed after the bounding hare
Speechless with admiration. "

                                                                                       Crow Goes Hunting
                                                                                                  Ted Hughes

Thursday, October 13, 2011

"Every day
I see or hear
that more or less
kills me
with delight,
that leaves me
like a needle
in the haystack
of light.
It was what I was born for -
to look, to listen,"
                            Mary Oliver

Monday, October 10, 2011

"Uneasily the leaves fall at this season
forgetting what to do or where to go;
the red amnesiacs of autumn
drifting thru the graveyard forest."

                 Al Purdy

Saturday, October 8, 2011

" The world in its great mystery
Was hidden by my dream.
Today I made no claim:
I dream of what is here, the tree
Beside the falling stream,
The stone, the light upon the stone;
And day and dream are one."

     A Timbered Choir 1989 VIII
Wendell Berry

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

In 1975 my brother gave me a copy of
"In Wildness is the Preservation of the World"
A Sierra Club Book with photos by Eliot Porter
who also selected quotes from Thoreau to
accompany the text. I still have the book.

The cover had a photo of leaves
floating on water amid reflections. So this
fall I have been inspired to look for that
combination when out for a walk.

"The West of which I speak is but another name
for the Wild; and what I have been preparing to
 say is, that in Wildness is the preservation of the
world. Every tree sends its fibres forth in search
of the Wild. The cities import it at any price.
Men plow and sail for it. From the forest and
wilderness come the tonics and barks which
brace mankind."

                         Henry David Thoreau

Sunday, October 2, 2011

"For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a
world older and more complete than ours, they move
finished and complete, gifted with the extension
of the senses we have lost or never attained,
living by voices we shall never hear. They are not
brethren, they are not underlings: they are other
nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life
and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of
the earth."

                         The Outermost House
                                  Henry Beston