nature, sounds, winter

january

January doesn’t exactly call to you. It’s easy to zone out in the numbness of these dull, dreary days. And sometimes the look of January isn’t enough even to make me look up. But the sounds out there, they still work.

There’s no one else around mid-afternoon, and it’s quiet. I try to convince myself it’s peaceful, but the mood is more like melancholy. Trees and what’s left of plants look like they’re scarcely holding on. It’s a still cold quiet void. Quiet and gray. My spirit too.

Yet, if you hang around the quiet long enough, there’s more than silence.

A subtle rippling, just audible. Water moving over stones and around bends. Slow enough to make singular tones. Soothing. Like listening from another room, while someone strums a guitar. Slowly picking the strings, one string at at time.

That kind of soothing.

Then the cheeps. Tiny cheeps. I’m partial to towhees, and they never let me down. Winter, summer, doesn’t matter. They’re around, and they’re gonna cheep. But other birds too. The cardinals, for sure. Their winter tones are sweet. Comfortable, less commanding, less stressed, almost purposeless. Not the loud complicated spring show-off mating songs or the summer alarms and calls. It’s soft and gentle. As if they’re going about life, hunting the brush for a meal or snack, and mindlessly humming.

There’s been too much gray. Too much cloudy. I’d rather have snow. But we get comfort where we can. And January brings a quiet comfort. If nothing else, it brings quiet. Quiet intersecting lonely intersecting reassurance. A kind of hushed reassurance.

2021, best wishes, happy new year

happy new year


It’s hard to ignore new years eve this year. Champagne, the Marx Brothers, and a hazy dream that we’ll wake late tomorrow, pull up the shade, and look around to find a reality we all took for granted before 2020. Maybe not. Maybe not tomorrow. But we’re getting closer. Best wishes all.

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photographed december 30, 2020
no edits


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.

neutrals, soft, winter gray

shades of winter

What can you say about the woods in December? At the start of winter? It feels soothing. Muted, beige and gray. Soft, gentle on the eyes. The birds who stay the winter sound less urgent, as if life is a routine. Patches of living green scatter here and there, the ivy, the pines, the hollies. Fallen trees on the ground where they came down. No one comes out to straighten up in the woods, to pick up the leaves, to clear away the thorny bramble. It’s solid and calm. It’s tangible. It’s genuine.

© Etikser. All Rights Reserved.

All photos and images here are my own.
They may not be used elsewhere or reblogged.

Please visit my other blog, Clover & Ivy, https://cloverandivy.wordpress.com.
I post mostly nature photos there.

humor, sun, winter

december

There it is … the sun … at eye level. And I know it’s a race. A race I’ll lose.

It sits there aloof. Tenacious. Bigger and wider than ever, I think. Like, in your face, dear. It’s super moon size, bright white explosion size. Spanning the vertical lines of the tallest, strongest, finest, trees size. Bold, teeth clenched strong, you just try, size.

And before I can get out the door. It’s done it’s thing, and it’s saying, bye, bye. Try again next time, my dear. Not even a wink.

fall, leaves

time of the season

The sky was gray, almost white. Dismal and perfect at the same time. The air was cool and chilly, and the birds were noisy, busy doing whatever birds do in the afternoon. Fluttering around in the bushes now, not high in the trees like they were in the summer.

Every bit of my surroundings shouted (very quietly) ‘late November’.

words, writing

words

The words we write are part of who we are. That was my motivation, I think.

I decided early this year to work on collecting my bits of writing in some sort of permanent way. Not to publish it, but to have it for myself. Also to have it for those in my life who might care to read it, and maybe keep it.

My goal was to assemble it all in a way that would make turning pages a pleasure. Something with sturdy covers, good quality paper, etc. Nice enough to wrap in tissue paper and hand to someone as a gift.

It started old school with printing copies and storing my work in a three-ring binder. Functional, but certainly not gift worthy.

Eventually, I decided to use the formatting from one of those companies that produces photo calendars, photo cards, and photo books. And chose their simplest style 8 inch by 10 inch photo book product, which includes stretchable text boxes.

I selected about 25 of my written pieces and some of my photos, and set to work. It was tedious. There was no ‘cut and paste’, so it took a lot of ‘delete and re-type’. Start overs, and of course, proofing. It was a project to make everything fit and have a sequencing and flow that made sense and looked good. I enjoy that sort of work, but it’s not something you can throw together in a couple of days.

Ta da … I completed one collection in the spring, and I just finished another for the winter. This isn’t an ad for photo companies, but their production and the paper products they use were more than I hoped for. Coffee table book quality materials, glossy pages, attractive covers, and nice binding. It optimized what I had to offer.

The costs were reasonable, and I’m happy to have a personalized keepsake to gift this Christmas.

For me, for myself, I get to leaf through the pages and feel like the words I write matter. And see that they have a little bit of permanence.

seasons, time

transitions

I’m no good at transitions. A few days after Christmas, people are ready to move on. They throw out the wrapping paper, they recycle the boxes, they take down the tree. January 23rd, and I’m still trying to squeeze in every moment, every song, every note I missed.

That cricket. That damn cricket. The last cricket.

He had to be in the house. Sometimes I walked in the kitchen, and he’d stop, and then seconds later he’d start back up. That cheep was always good for a tug, or a smile, somewhere back in the emotional part of me. It was the sound of something vaguely reassuring. I don’t know, a warm muggy night? You go outside and it seems the whole neighborhood is asleep. Maybe a lazy pause in the dark, on the cement step at the end of the walk. He sounded like the moment you were alone with the trees and the stars and the balmy air and the sounds of the last bits of summer.

It’s one of those microseconds when you look up with hopeless hope that somehow there’s still some summer left, and that’s all it lasts. A microsecond.

That’s what blinks are for.