Tuesday, October 17, 2017

"I had rather see the portrait of a dog that I know,
 than all the allegorical paintings they can show me in the world."

Samuel Johnson

Detail of a painting at the National Gallery (London)

Saturday, October 14, 2017

So how can you tell me you're lonely, 

And say for you that the sun don't shine? 

Let me take you by the hand and lead you through 
the streets of London

I'll show you something to make you change your mind 

Ralph McTell; Streets of London Live

Friday, October 13, 2017

Home again, home from our trip to London. 

"By seeing London, I have seen as much of life 
as the world can show."

Samuel Johnson

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

"and it occurs to me
that if I were to die at this moment

that picture would accompany me
wherever I am going
for part of the way."

from The Last Picture in The World
by Al Purdy

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

"You're the one who flew down
to that river from the heavens,
as if your form alone were the only
holy message needed."

from Stone Bird
by Pattiann Rogers

Monday, October 9, 2017

"But its real strength lies in the quiet tension of isolation   
And living patiently, without atonement or regret,
In the eternity of the plain moments, the nest of care   
—Until suddenly, all alone, the mind is lifted upward into   
Light and air and the nothingness of the sky,   
Held there in that vacant, circumstantial blue until,
In the vehemence of a landscape where all the colors disappear,   
The quiet absolution of the spirit quickens into fact, "

from There Late Wisconsin Spring
by John Goethe

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Went to Kew today. Nowhere near Natural History Museum. We are fine.

"I have been younger in October
than in all the months of spring
… walnut and may leaves the color
of shoulders at the end of summer
a month that has been to the mountain
and become light there
the long grass lies pointing uphill
even in death for a reason
that none of us knows"

W.S. Merwin

Friday, October 6, 2017

"When despair grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things"
from The Peace of Wild Things
by Wendell Berry 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

"The moon drops one or two feathers into the field. 
The dark wheat listens. 
Be still. 
There they are, the moon's young, trying 
Their wings. "

from Beginnings
by James Wright

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

"I seem to hear a bar of music float 

And swoon into the west; 
My ear can scarcely catch the whispered note, 
But something in my breast 
Blends with that strain, till both accord in one, 
As cloud and colour blend at set of sun. "

At Sunset
by Pauline Johnson

Sunday, October 1, 2017

"And as I take my body back 
the sun lays its warm muzzle on my lap 
as if to make amends."

from I Am Learning to Abandon the World
by Linda Pastan

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Friday, September 22, 2017

We left the cabin last week, fall was just entering the stage
but plans for travel meant, that this year at least, we could
not stay for the change. Now that we have a wood stove,
we may give it a try next year. When I think of the seasons
I always, eventually think of Edwin Way Teale.

"We would see a thousand moods and facets of the season, 
We would see new birds, new lands, all in the surroundings
of fall."

from Autumn Across America

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

"Change is a measure of time and, in the autumn,
time seems speeded up. What was is not and never
again will be: what is is change."

Edwin Way Teale

Sunday, September 10, 2017

"For man, autumn is a time of harvest, of gathering together. 
For nature, it is a time of sowing, of scattering abroad."

Edwin Way Teale

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Garden pond at the farm.

"2 A.M. moonlight. The train has stopped
out in a field. Far off sparks of light from a town,
flickering coldly on the horizon.
As when a man goes so deep into his dream"

from Track
by Tomas Transformer

Friday, September 8, 2017

"Summer girls they sure are fun 
Get so golden in the sun"

from Summer Girls
as sung by Blue Rodeo

Faded flowers and the last of the summer girls
at a family BBQ Tuesday night.

"I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade."

from The Lake Isle of Innisfree
by William Butler Yeats

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

""Nostalgia is a wound that we refuse time to heal," Asa once wrote"

from Dispatches from the Cradle: The Hermit—Forty-Eight Hours in the Sea of Massachusetts
by Ken Liu

My wife and I have found the early spring and early fall weather
a bit chilly here so we added a wood stove, which I have named Lincoln
Logs for no particular reason. We were able to do a lot of the
installation ourselves with the assistance of Helen's brother Ralph
in getting it into the cabin. Ralph also put the chimney up through
the red metal roof which he so lovingly installed in 2011 with Helen's
other brother Brian. The last act of our inspection was to remove a tree
that was too close to the chimney. Ralph duly arrived with his chainsaw
and home made tree jack and removed not 1 but 3 rotten poplars which
over hung the cabin. Much as I hate to remove trees, unlike the beavers that
continue to besiege us, they had to go. However this means that I will no
longer be eye to eye with the local swallows that have claimed the cabin,
while I am standing at the living room window.

For the last three years we have walked the dogs through the 
hayfield to the gate and back. Every year we see a number
of snakes on each walk. We also see a few by the cabin.
This year we have seen only a few in the hayfield and none
by the cabin. Until today, I was about to step on the deck when a 
large garter snake sailed past me it's front 4 or 5 inches erect,
it was dangling a small frog or toad in it mouth. Wow, small
as it was it encapsulated every film, documentary or story
I have ever seen or read about snakes. Quite the sight.

"Securely sunning in a forest glade, 
A mild, well-meaning snake
Approved the adaptations he had made
For safety’s sake.

He liked the skin he had—
Its mottled camouflage, its look of mail,
And was content that he had thought to add
A rattling tail."

from A Fable
by Richard Wilbur

Sunday, August 27, 2017

`And beyond the Wild Wood again?' he asked: `Where it's all blue and dim, and one sees what may be hills or perhaps they mayn't, and something like the smoke of towns, or is it only cloud- drift?'

`Beyond the Wild Wood comes the Wide World,' said the Rat. `And that's something that doesn't matter, either to you or me. I've never been there, and I'm never going, nor you either, if you've got any sense at all.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

"Then he started to write another poem

a short time before death, 
about drinking wine again in the village —
He was working on the poem when they buried him, 
so that half a line protruded from the earth
                                 in wind and weather's hearing —
With sunlight touching the first young syllables, 
the last ones flowering from a dark coffin: 
                      "marketplace the in/drink more One"

from Lu Yu
by Al Purdy

Tuesday, August 22, 2017


"From plane of light to plane, wings dipping through 
Geometries and orchids that the sunset builds, 
Out of the peak’s black angularity of shadow, riding 
The last tumultuous avalanche of 
Light above pines and the guttural gorge, 
The hawk comes. 
 His wing 
Scythes down another day, his motion 
 Is that of the honed steel-edge, we hear 
The crashless fall of stalks of Time."

from Evening Hawk
by Robert Penn Warren

Sunday, August 20, 2017


"almost sculpture
except that it's alive
brooding immobile permanent
for half an hour 
a blue heron 
and it occurs to me
that if I were to die at this moment
that picture would accompany me
wherever I am going
for part of the way"

from the Last Picture in the World
by Al Purdy

Saturday, August 19, 2017

"a flock, a body, the birds

moving, moving the air, moving
the bank behind the house, the snow
sieved by sun and rain, the
seeds, the fallout from trees, hedge"

from Suddenly
by D.G. Jones

Thursday, August 17, 2017

In the fall we went to the Island to spent time with some good friends.
We love the coast, but settled for a different ocean. I have been remiss 
in not posting some shots of this magical intersection of rock and sea

"He lives on the sea, as prairie cocks in the prairie; 
he hides among the waves, he climbs them as chamois 
hunters climb the Alps. For years he knows not the land; 
so that when he comes to it at last, it smells like another 
world, more strangely than the moon would to an Earthsman. 
With the landless gull, that at sunset folds her wings and is 
rocked to sleep between billows; so at nightfall, the Nantucketer, 
out of sight of land, furls his sails, and lays him to his rest, while 
under his very pillow rush herds of walruses and whales."

from Moby Dick
by Melville

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Plain

“Were this world an endless plain, and by sailing eastward we could for ever reach new distances, and discover sights more sweet and strange than any Cyclades or Islands of King Solomon, then there were promise in the voyage. But in pursuit of those far mysteries we dream of, or in tormented chase of the demon phantom that, some time or other, swims before all human hearts; while chasing such over this round globe, they either lead us on in barren mazes or midway leave us whelmed.”

from Moby Dick
by Melville

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!"

from I, Candidate for Governor: And How I Got Licked (1935), 
by Upton Sinclair

Young Grebes

                          "It does no take courage, Quixote.
                           to slaughter windmills in a windy world
                           or tilt against entrepreneurs.
                                                     It is a waste of  breath
                           to criticize vast corporations

                           The difficult thing
                                                    is to sit still
                                                    like a child in the yard
                           while the whole bleak catastrophe of winter
                           descends like a glacier into the soul."

                           from Soliloquy to Absent Friends
                           by D.G. Jones

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Zipping around the Big Slough

"This is the best—
throwing off the light covers,
feet on the cold floor,
and buzzing around the house on espresso—

maybe a splash of water on the face,
a palmful of vitamins—
but mostly buzzing around the house on espresso,"

from Morning
by Billy Collins

Friday, August 11, 2017

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth

"So heavy

is the long-necked, long-bodied heron,

always it is a surprise
when her smoke-colored wings

and she turns
from the thick water,
from the black sticks

of the summer pond,
and slowly
rises into the air
and is gone."

from Heron Rises From The Dark, Summer Pond
by Mary Oliver 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Strike

“If you keep the faith I will exist
at the edge, where your vision joins 
the sunlight and the rain: heads in the light, 
feet that go down in the mud where the truth is.” 

from Spirit of Place : Great Blue Heron 
by William Stafford

Yesterday we managed to launch the canoe out onto the big slough from the hayfield. It is a lot easier than trying to drag it across thru the brush with all the beaver runs hidden by tall grass. We saw few small birds, but we did see the Osprey, Kingfishers, Grebes, Ducks and especially the Great Blue Heron.

"And when the blue heron, breaking his long breast feathers,
sees one feather fall, does he know I will find it?
Will he see me holding it in my hand?

as he opens his wings
softly and without a sound—
as he rises and floats over the water?

And this is just any day at the edge of the pond,
a black and leafy pond without a name
until I named it."

from Mysteries, Four of the Simple Ones
by Mary Oliver