Sunday, December 20, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Song for Autumn
In the deep fall
don't you imagine the leaves think how
comfortable it will be to touch
the earth instead of the
nothingness of air and the endless
freshets of wind? And don't you think
the trees themselves, especially those with mossy,
warm caves, begin to think
of the birds that will come — six, a dozen — to sleep
inside their bodies? And don't you hear
the goldenrod whispering goodbye,
the everlasting being crowned with the first
tuffets of snow? The pond
vanishes, and the white field over which
the fox runs so quickly brings out
its blue shadows. And the wind pumps its
bellows. And at evening especially,
the piled firewood shifts a little,
longing to be on its way.
~Mary Oliver (1935 —)
New and Selected Poems: Volume Two
Thursday, November 26, 2009
On Thanksgiving I enjoy turkey alive, well and wild. I don't eat turkey at Thanksgiving or any other time and I don't miss it. These wild birds are incredibly social, intelligent and, to me, very beautiful, though getting good photographs of them can be challenging.
This Thanksgiving I am thankful for having had the pleasure of giving them sanctuary and seeing their young thrive. Sadly, their domesticated brethren suffer greatly from birth to maturity. Their lives, if they can be called that, are brutal, unnatural and very brief.
There is no need for them to be farmed in this manner. The poultry industry, in their quest for bigger and better profits, has come to regard these sentient beings as "products." The number of turkeys "produced" and "consumed" each year is staggering. Reducing demand is one way to re-introduce humane farming methods, but there are many other ways to initiate much needed change in how turkeys and other farm animals are raised.
All animals, especially those raised for food, deserve to be treated with kindness, care and respect. To help spread the word about creating a more compassionate Thanksgiving, visit Farm Sanctuary. And while you're there, consider adopting a rescued turkey!
Sunday, November 22, 2009
The woods are carpeted in leaves, the weather has been delightfully mild and goldfinches are enjoying the thistle feeders. But the nights have been getting much colder, and soon it will be time to bring in the birdbaths, except for the one with a water heater, which I keep filled all winter long.
With Thanksgiving just days away I am missing a very important family member. This will be the first Thanksgiving in 18 years that I have spent without him. Today, I heard Diana Ross singing a song that totally captures how my heart feels. Her beautiful voice, clearer than the most exquisite crystal, is so plaintive and true. Yes, my Rachmaninoff, I am missing you.
Click Here to Listen
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
“No matter where I am, and no matter how much trouble I may be in, I can achieve a blank and shining serenity if only I can reach the very edge of a natural body of water. The very edge of anything from a rivulet to an ocean says to me: ‘Now you know where you are. Now you know which way to go. You will soon be home now.’ ”
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
By BINAJ GURUBACHARYA Associated Press Writer - October 27, 2009
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
After watching Ken Burns' "National Parks" series, I've been captivated by John Muir. We share the same devotion to nature, though I feel like a slacker next to him. Muir covered a lot of ground and walking was a kind of meditation for him. He built a Sugar Pine cabin at the base of Yosemite Falls. His description of the cabin enchants me. If I could have one just like it....
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
It was such a gift to be able to observe this adult Great Blue Heron fishing beneath the falls at a nearby dam along the Charles River. The water was low and the exposed rocks, home to many aquatic creatures, offered excellent fishing. In this photograph the bird was moving to another vantage point where he remained for about 30 minutes.
I believe I know this particular heron. He is unusually calm around people because he became accustomed to seeing them at a young age. As an immature and inexperienced yearling he used to hang around the dam, fishing at the far end where the Girl and her flock of Canda Geese liked to rest (see postings from January 2009). I've also seen him downriver, not far from the dam. Even kayakers paddling nearby do not break his concentration; he remains transfixed on whatever fish he has in his sights and ignores the sounds of barking dogs and lawnmowers with the same nonchalance.
Fortunately, I mostly see him in quiet settings, and I always feel privileged to be able to admire his magnificent plumage and observe his studied, patient gaze as he waits for just the right moment to spear a fish swimming toward him in the shallows and then swallow it whole.
On average, Great Blue Herons live 15-17 years in the wild, but some can live into their twenties. I hope this fellow enjoys a long life.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Saturday, October 3, 2009
For three years two hens brought their poults to raise in the peace and quiet of this protected, wooded acre. They were comfortable around Rock and he enjoyed being among them. I know he kept them safe from marauding cats.
Though I am making my way on the grief journey in the four months since his death, part of me wants only to get back to the time when Rock was still here. I never want to forget him.
After sharing nearly 20 years with such a special being, I can't expect the going to be easy, but I am consoled by the words of the Irish poet Thomas Moore (1779-1852):
"And the tear that we shed,
Shall long keep his memory
Friday, October 2, 2009
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
I recently stayed in a room called Patience, named after the daughter of a sea captain and former owner of the Cape Cod antique home that is now an inn. I chose the room for the hydrangea wallpaper, which struck me as very soothing, and it was.
In addition to a much needed change of scenery, the serenity of that room offered some solace after weeks of grieving, and I slept more soundly than I had in some time. In the language of flowers, hydrangeas mean "thank you for understanding." Hydrangeas also stand for perseverance.
As nights become cooler hydrangea colors intensify. Cultivars in shades of pale blue-lavender, mauve-pink and linen are much sought after for drying and sold as "Antique" hydrangeas. They last a very long time. The ones pictured above are a year old.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
This is the path I'll never tread
These are the dreams I'll dream instead
This is the joy that's seldom spread
These are the tears...
The tears we shed
This is the fear
This is the dread
These are the contents of my head...
~"Why" by Annie Lennox
Saturday, September 12, 2009
I have been thinking of him a great deal this week and shedding more tears than usual. The eight-year anniversary of 9/11 put me in a somber mood as well. Rock became ill around this time last year. His scent has all but faded from his collar and last night I dreamed that he was there to greet me when I came home from work.
I try my best to remember him before he got sick, as my steadfast companion in the garden, “helping” me stack wood for the woodstove and watching wild turkeys forage among the fallen leaves. But all of these recollections lead to the same place of sadness.
I miss my Otter Man so.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Everyone is born a king,
and most people die in exile.
After watching the many tributes to Senator Ted Kennedy as well as his funeral mass and burial at Arlington National Cemetery, I believe he was one of the lucky few to be born a king and to die one, too. May he rest in peace.
Edward Moore Kennedy
February 22, 1932 ― August 25, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
These losses have been like companions as I continue on my own grief journey. It is almost three months since I lost Rachmaninoff'; the reality still seems unthinkable. Lately, I have been dreaming of willows, sentinels of grief but also trees of enchantment. The Wind in the Willows was one of my favorite books as a child. Now it too seems to belong to a time that was and will never come again.
Kenneth Grahame's love for his son and the natural world inspired his writing, but the story of how the book came to be published does not have a happy ending. Grahame also grappled with loss. The following is from 'Wind in the Willows' at 100, written by Madeline Lewis for The Chicago Tribune, May 7, 2008:
In 1907, author Kenneth Grahame wrote a series of letters to his young son Alastair about the exploits of four small anthropomorphic animals along the River Thames. Conceived merely as bedtime entertainment for the little boy, these adventures went on to become the basis for one of the most unique and influential children's books ever written: "The Wind in the Willows." Today, after a century on the bookshelves, Grahame's novel remains a story that enthralls children and adults.
Alison Price, one of Grahame's biographers, suggests that the author learned to venerate the environment as a parentless child living with his grandmother on the banks of the Thames. The outdoors was then a source of great comfort and happiness to him. "It was not the Christian God that stirred Grahame," she said. "He looked at nature as the thing he could worship."
As a grown man, Grahame weaved his love of the environment into bedtime stories for Alastair. The book's success represented a high point in Grahame's life. Twelve years later, in 1920, his son, then a student at Oxford University, committed suicide. Grahame then began traveling and never wrote another novel.
Click on the photo for a detailed view.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Monday, August 17, 2009
Friday, August 14, 2009
for His temple
to be built of love, men