Life With Horace

poetry & essays

the dogs on the ferny path 9-17-14


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the presence of gifts

my list is long today
and gratitude a living thing,
with thanks this morning
I begin again,
and marvel at the magic of
this year so richly lived.
strong arms of love
encircling the night,
to hold my spirit close and safe.
the gift of children,
essence of my soul alive
in generations made from love.
sisters, brothers, cousins
now become the elders
drawing closer, wisdom’s harvest.
friends of many years
and those more newly met
all precious links
to memory and heart

a time of growth,
and unexpected joy
tapped from an unseen well,
welcome, cherished, fed
by wonder, Open eyes,
encouragement and friendship,
kindred links though loose,
their potency holds true.
connection with
things seen and not,
humbled by belief at last,
feeling nature’s voice
run through my blood,
trying for acceptance
of the path I follow,
learning from the way behind,
with kinder eyes
and gentler thought
for my mis-steps.
facing out to grasp
with ready hands
this miracle
that is my life

__________________________
birthdays have always held magic for me. today is no exception. while not a lover of new year’s resolutions, I do believe in taking stock and giving thanks.


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Love Your Darlings

A brilliant piece on the creative voice by my friend, and fellow Creative Group at Bedlam Farm member, Andy Sigler. A wonderful read that will have you jumping up and down whispering “yes!”

Newton's Take

Years ago I was talking to a writer friend about her craft. She wrote professionally and reflected that in her profession, you often have to “kill your darlings.” This refers to the sad reality (at least for the one doing the writing) that very often, your most dear and (at least to you) poignant words can end up on the floor of the editor. Sometimes you are your own editor, sometimes there’s someone paid to edit your work for you. When you do the cutting, there’s a momentary sense of loss that’s followed by the assurance of knowing that shorter is very often better. When someone else brings down the axe, it’s kind of like someone killing your dog.

I don’t say, of course, that it’s like someone killing their child. Nothing is like losing a child. I made the mistake once of comparing losing my dog to someone else…

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sleeping in moonglow

a whole moon
shrinking
without stark relief
or angles
perhaps hanging
in a mist I cannot see
its clear light
muted and opaque
entering my room
by stealth
air brushing
walls and shapes
and sets them floating
in the glow
along with me

_____________________________________
a shortling, about the moonlight that found every corner of my room last night. it was so different, I couldn’t help but notice.

Gull watching for bread


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field notes: gulls watching us watching them

Rye Beach at the end of August. A very windy day. A flock of gulls hunkered on the beach, a mix of immatures and adults. Anchored on the sand until we threw pieces of bread high into the wind for them.

I was trying for some action shots with my Sony RX100, with its sharp Zeiss 1.5 lens. Set it to Shutter Priority and then tracked and clicked away. The images are cropped and resized, but otherwise unedited.

Once things started, there was a rhythm and routine to their actions. They knew to fly left to right, into the wind, waiting, then zooming in. Almost like sets of waves.

Shooting, I couldn’t see them watching for the start of a throw or their captures, with the marvelously angular leg positions and their wings holding their bodies steady into the face of the wind. What a great bonus!

Clicking on an image will show it full size, with more detail.

Aiming for the prize. Look at the angle of the neck and head!

Aiming for the prize. Look at the angle of the neck and head!


Almost there!

Almost there!

See the legs aiding the effort of slowing down and the mid-air catch?

See the legs aiding the effort of slowing down and the mid-air catch?

An immature gull cruising by, on the alert.

An immature gull cruising by, on the alert.

Starting the swoop.

Starting the swoop. You can almost feel the drop that starts the next instant.

It was almost eerie, seeing the intensity up close.

I was surprised by the intensity on this face, but shouldn’t have been.

See what I mean?

See what I mean?


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as the day appears

out the kitchen window
tree shapes firming
into open sky, no clouds,
no stars either when I woke,
odd perhaps, but then it is
September, morning mist
that snakes through lip and rift
of mountain arms we sit below.
no birds yet, they are coming,
morning racers like my neighbors
on their way to work, engines
smoothly powering along,
except for one white truck,
rough run noise his signature,
not quite glass pack,
loving laying rubber
when he knows I’ll hear,
turning to the town and work,
the squeal is saved for later
and a certain audience.
I am grateful,
smiling.

Black eyed susan


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field notes: end of summer, visual feast

The end of (traditional) summer has arrived. In the natural world summer is only winding down, its passing not a done deal. This year I’ve been struck by the blowsy charms of the overripe, the almost gone, the partly eaten former glories in my garden.

Sedum, blue lobelia and black eyed susan.

Sedum, emerging blue lobelia and black eyed susan.

I’ve been feeling each day of this summer so intensely, mindful of time passing. It has been a wonderful experience I hope to carry into fall.

With the usual late season suspects coming into their own — garlic chive flowers, blue lobelia, cardinal flower, buddleia and sedum, red and yellow apples — our visual smorgasbord is lush.

We have at least one pair of ruby throated hummingbirds here this year. I wonder if I will see them leave, or simply realize they haven’t been by in a couple of days.

I now know generally where one nest is, and will take a careful look come October.

A weed visitor, not without charm

A weed/wildflower visitor, not without its charm

This has been a so so summer for butterflies, although we did have a Luna Moth visit early on. I have not seen a single Monarch this summer so far. Not one. [9/11/14 post script: three monarchs have appeared, big relief.]

Our milkweed patch, here before we moved in, continues to thrive, and we will harvest some seeds to spread in other areas around our yard.

Blue lobelia

Blue lobelia in full bloom

Did I mention the toads? And frogs? They are all over the place, many more than usual. Horrie thinks it is his mission to catch them all. Yesterday one tiny toad hid out on my water sandal next to my heel until the coast was clear. It felt like a very soft, wispy kiss, which is what made me look down in the first place. Coming home last night from rehearsal there were big two green and brown bullfrogs on the kitchen doorstep, feasting on bugs!

Sunflower

Not quite denuded sunflower.

The bandit-masked yellow goldfinches have been going at the sunflowers, duking it out with the chipmunks for all the goodies on offer.

As I write this, there are three of them out there, calling to each other, pecking away.

Some of our winter residents have been coming by to see if the feeders are back up yet (they aren’t). Titmice, nuthatches, a woodpecker, and the ever hopeful mourning doves have all been here in the last week or so. The jays haven’t bothered yet. Come November we will be in the sunflower seed and suet business again. Any sooner and our bear friends will be back.

Purple bee balm, almost gone by

Purple bee balm, almost gone by

The purple bee balm had its glory days, and is now showing the effects of some mildew, but it was quite the star of the garden in mid-summer. It seems to be thriving and spreading more than its red or white cousins. I usually leave some deadheads intact over the winter for visual interest. And the birds.

Starry garlic chive flowers, echoing early spring bulbs

Starry garlic chive flowers, echoing early spring bulbs


Cardinal flower, always such a surprisingly intense red.

Cardinal flower, always such a surprisingly intense red.

It will be time to harvest the herbs soon and move a few plants around, and after the first frost trim things down and top dress the beds with a wonderful compost from Maine.

But not quite yet. We still have hummingbirds and dragonflies!