december, morning

late december

The light shining bright in my eyes. On a morning that came with the bluest blue cloudless skies. It’s like the first cup of coffee you grab before the rest of the pot finishes brewing. It’s like a jump start. And the jolt makes you realize you’ve been sputtering. Gray skies have their place in winter, for sure. But day after day after day, the way it seemed, they leave the spirit almost spiritless. Like it’s tugging a load around. Like you’re always pushing yourself when you feel like leaving everything just where it is.

Well, in the bright light of a morning that came with the bluest blue cloudless skies, a fox came trotting across the yard. I’ve seen many foxes before, and they always seem to me like they have somewhere to go. But this guy wasn’t in a hurry, and I had time to take a close look. It was fluffier than others I’ve seen. Maybe they get a winter coat. And it definitely stopped in the middle of the yard to poke at the ground. As if it eyed some kind of breakfast hiding just under the surface of the hard frozen grass.

I think the fox is a beautiful animal, but up close and personal, they scare me just a little. From my window, though, it was a wonderful sight on the last Sunday of the year, on a cold morning that came with the bluest blue cloudless skies, and December’s unfiltered light shining bright. Shining in my eyes.

December 27, 2020

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My picture from last year. I didn’t think to get a picture yesterday of the fox or the sky.

moon, night sky

strange times

Such strange, strange times.

It was cloudy for weeks on end, it seems, and I couldn’t remember the last time I saw stars in the sky. And the moon? I think I saw a pretty crescent around twilight a week or so back.

Thursday night, I shut down my computer and switched off the lights, and the patterns on my desk took me by surprise. The old familiar lines and squares angled across the wood. So bright it lit up the dark room. My response was something like, what’s that? oh, the moon. Then one of those feelings that come with a smile, like … oh, the moon.

My eyes followed the trail of light out the window and upwards to the almost-full moon high in the sky, shining bright behind the leaves at the top of the trees

It’s high up there, over 100 feet, and you wouldn’t think I could see the silhouette of individual leaves from so far. But I could see them, the ones at the top, the highest ones, reaching upward, and with the aid of bit of a breeze, swaying and dancing around in the night sky. For a minute or two, the bright beautiful almost-full moon was right there with them, surrounded, framed, almost decorated.

Me? Well, I should not be surprised, should I, to see moonlight coming through a window. It’s a rather regular event. My days are full. I’ve got projects, plenty to do, exercise, walks. Life. And there are weightier issues, for sure. But this sameness, day after day, after a while, it dulls some kind of sensors in us. Well, in me, anyhow. Some strange malaise of the brain.

I looked out the next night. I guess I hoped to see the moon again. It was cloudy and I couldn’t see the moon. But … I saw a single star out a side window. Yes!

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This is an old photo of mine from last year.

life, nature

change

Evening walks feel different now. Sundown comes earlier, for sure. But it’s more than that.

Is it the seasons? People? Maybe people are tired of walking the same paths, the same trees, the same curves and dips in the surface. Parents tired of getting their kids and their bikes down to the trails, skinned knees, everybody trying to get along and enjoy nature. Or maybe it’s the kids who are tired of it. Maybe they’re getting ready for school, however school is going to work this year. I think there are fewer people walking the trails.

But it’s not just people. What was alive, thriving, robust, a month ago is starting to fade. I’m avoiding the words.

I look around and I see sad. Maybe lonely. Past the prime. On the way to a harsh reality I’m not ready to deal with.

There are fall flowers, but the brush is almost down to leafless sticks in many places. It can make you careless because there’s still poison ivy among whatever is growing. Already in September, trees are skimpier. Not bright fall colors and dropping leaves en masse, but leaves are weathered, and when you look up now, you see more sky than lush green. In July I could only hear moving water somewhere behind all the green, but now I can see right down to the creek.

Even the dirt looks pale, anemic. Surely the dirt doesn’t change.

September sunsets are lovely. Pale bits of amber light make it past the lowest branches. And September’s pretty wildflowers let you pretend. For just a little longer. But, ready or not, change is on its way.

ladybugs, robins, summer

spotted


Spotted
robins.
Three of them.
Young ones, for sure.
Fledglings, nestlings,
constant feedings.
Papa Robin worn thin, too worn for singing.
Evening songs competing
with cicadas
and crickets.
Ribbits.
When did that happen?
You know, Summer running up ahead,
glancing back. And that snotty grin?
Summer’s promise, the long days of june.
Done
And
Done.
Ahh ….
Spotted
lady,
painted bright and new as spring.
Me? I’m whining and lamenting
where this weird old summer’s going.

photographs from july 25, 2020

life, perspective, thoughts

perspective

photo from 2018

A guy and a gal stood over a rose bush, heads together, and it appeared to be a serious conversation. After a few minutes, the young woman walked away. The fellow leaned over a bit and spoke to the rose, “Now try to be good.”

That was Fall 2019.

I returned last week. The nursery is out in the open, not attached to a big store, and I decided it would be safe enough wearing a mask, etc., and I could get everything I need in one trip. Approaching, it looked familiar in a good way. Going to the nursery is a fun chore. Most years I go more than I need to. But this was different. It wasn’t just the masks. We’re all getting used to that, aren’t we? But it’s the little details in life we hardly notice until they’re not there.

They had fewer plants, but enough. They were arranged and sorted. It was pretty, prettier than the grocery store, but not lush and indulgent like it usually is. Some of the plants needed watering. Flowers on vines grew into each other so the plant containers were inseparable. Price signs were here and there and not always in the right places. Ceramic fountains were dry and empty, except for a bit of left over rain water. You didn’t have to mind the wet cement or hoses scattered around, because no one was watering. The cashier was moved outside, and I could see a few staff out in the distance, away from customers and tables.

They were making the best of what they could do, but you couldn’t help but think what was missing. And who was missing. Nurseries hire people who love plants. People who enjoy caring for plants, watering, arranging tables so plants look their best. Rainbowed rows of colors. Roses spaced just so. If you didn’t like plants, that kind of job wouldn’t work out.

I guess in the grand scheme of things, none of this matters. If I didn’t start this draft last week, I probably wouldn’t write it today. With the perspective of shocking, almost inhuman events, my common lackluster experiences fall in the category of ‘unworthy of notice’. Yet, the summer moves from repetitive to boring to depressing to scary, and now to horrific, and we wonder how to make sense of it all.

Gershwin, jazz, music, summertime

summertime


Summertime, the song.

And Janis Joplin. Yes, in the crazy summer of 2020, it has to be Janis Joplin. It’s an old (1934) Gershwin song, covered over and over, so there are lots of versions out there. I don’t know if it’s technically the blues, but when Janis sings it, I think it’s the blues. She opens her mouth, and she holds nothing back. There’s sorrow and there’s anguish, and there’s no attempt to pretty it up.

I’d be remiss, though, if I didn’t single out Ella Fitzgerald’s version too. It’s subdued, it’s fluid, it’s definitely jazz. You can feel the heat of a sweltering August night when the windows are open and the air is still. And Ella’s voice is soft and silky and soothing in all the ways Janis’s is ragged and desperate. Despite my opening, I suspect Ella Fitzgerald captures the mood as well as anyone can. It just might make you cry.

Summertime by George Gershwin, DuBose Heyword, and Ira Gershwin. Give it a a try.

coping, coronavirus, life, time

time

March…May…July?

Yesterday morning, I had to take my car in, and I expected to see some traffic, surely, people with essential jobs driving to work. But no, I cruised through green light after green light. Traffic was even lighter than what I see for my weekly grocery trips.

I finally hit a red light, and looked out over the steering wheel to take in the trees along side the road. This was the first day that looked to me like summer. In a split second, it seemed, there was the aura of all we connect to green trees and warm breezes, and summertime. And without even the need to reconfigure my thoughts, an awareness of my evolving expectations of what this summer will be like.

Further down the road, a few people were out and about, individuals, walking or waiting by themselves, in the open air, and almost all of them wore masks. The trend towards wearing a mask even when you’re by yourself in the outdoors seems to be growing.

This is the way life’s been since the beginning of March. With cool weather dragging on into May, a Monday in May can feel like a Wednesday or a Friday in March, as if this spring will go on forever. Facing off with summer, it was like waking up from an afternoon nap feeling unsettled, and realizing you need to pull together enough focus, and enough energy, to make it through the rest of the day.

Photo from 2018

bad dream, coping, coronavirus

coronavirus

It feels like one of those dreams. Where some bad guy is chasing you, and you need to run. Your brain tells your feet to move.

C’mon. Run….

Move….

Faster….

But there’s a disconnect somewhere between your brain and your feet. And your feet, your feet can hardly move.

Maybe you need to get somewhere. To work, to an appointment, something important. And you keep walking, deliberately. But you can’t make it. You just can’t make it to where it is you have to be. The more you focus, intently, on getting where you need to be, the more you feel lost. And there, there in the middle of your dream, you feel the desperation, or is it disappointment, or a concession to the disappointment, no, not disappointment, it’s the disturbing reality / surreality that you’ll never, you’ll never make it to where it is you need to be.

photograph from march 2019