17 December 2014

Other things

Here is a dark and beautiful little poem for this season of waning light, from poet Tom Hennen's highly regarded book Darkness Sticks to Everything. It reminds me of the not-so-obvious photographs that I like best.




Love for Other Things
by Tom Hennen



It’s easy to love a deer



But try to care about bugs and scrawny trees


Love the puddle of lukewarm water
From last week’s rain.



Leave the mountains alone for now.
Also the clear lakes surrounded by pines.
People are lined up to admire them.




Get close to the things that slide away in the dark.




Be grateful even for the boredom
That sometimes seems to involve the whole world.


 
Think of the frost
That will crack our bones eventually.



"Love for Other Things" by Tom Hennen, from Darkness Sticks to Everything, Copper Canyon Press, 2013.

15 December 2014

Random critters





This is a complete mystery shot, at least for me, but maybe you know what makes tracks like those in the sand on an Oregon beach? What did that...




...and did something scary just happen?



Just after examining the tracks on the beach, a bald eagle flew in front of us, with dinner held in its beak. I wasn't sure what it was, but my companion Lisa thought it was a bird. Birds eating birds...doesn't seem right, but, oh well. Once I saw a turkey eating a turkey, which was somehow even worse. You should be glad I didn't have my camera with me that afternoon.




 Closer to home we are seeing thousands of dusky geese, a sub-species of Canada goose.




This is an Oregon newt. Don't buy these if they show up in a pet shop. We used to see them in pet stores in Alabama, but the poor little guys are ill-equipped to live for long outside their native state. It's been raining like crazy here in OR for the last couple of weeks, and the newts are all over the place.



 We haven't had many frosty days, but that's ok with Ed and Reub.




Eddy and Tuck napping together
 Perfect weather for sleeping: dark and rainy.




Ah, but tonight John and I must venture out to a party. That's me on the right; I'm not a party animal. However I will adjust my attitude and when it's time to go, I'll be just fine.

13 November 2014

About leaves: a science lesson



Leaves are descended from dinosaurs.




 They are vertebrates.




 
 Although they appear to be cute, one must be cautious. They are wild creatures.



 
 Leaves are territorial, and therefore can be tense when coming upon another species.




 Introductions must be done carefully, much like cats and dogs.





 Sometimes the interactions are not friendly.



Leaves protect themselves with large fleets of airborne vehicles. They are well-organized and can create havoc at certain times of the year.




 Leaves reproduce in much the same way as homo sapiens. That is to say, they are delivered by storks.




 There is great diversity in the leaf world: some baby leaves develop into fish-like creatures.




 While others resemble birds.


 Thank you for reading this science lesson. As you leave, please watch where you step.


08 November 2014

Fellow students

I was walking through the parking lot at the community college, on my way to class when I noticed these two vehicles parked next to each other:

 First the car.



Then the pick-up.


The ensuing thought process went like so:

1. Hey that's funny, think I'll take a picture.
2. I wonder if they attend the same class. Haha! 
3. Crap. I hope they're not in my tai chi class.
4. That's an uncharitable thought. Both of these people need tai chi.
5. Hope I don't have to stand between them.


29 October 2014

Back from the east



Entrance to the National Lampoon building
 We just returned from a trip to the east coast, visiting our son in Boston and daughter in Princeton, NJ.


Chairs all helter-skelter on the Harvard campus
I love traveling in October because it's such a colorful time of year and relatively free of weather-related hang-ups.



 
 This was an urban kind of trip, in which we often found ourselves on public transportation: planes, trains, and buses, all great for people-watching and occasionally for dog-watching as well.



Ivy on sycamore
Ivy? There isn't actually that much of it crawling around on Ivy League campuses. I've walked around 3 of them this year and there was a notable lack of ivy.



The buildings are pretty great.  In old cities like Boston they have such cool roof lines that I find myself looking up constantly.



Looks like a satyr up there...we just don't put these on the tops of buildings nowadays.




No, but we do have lots of pigeons looking down on us.



 Our son works for the Union of Concerned Scientists, located in the glass and concrete structure on the right, a nice juxtaposition to the astrologist down below.



 A bird's nest in a lion's mouth.



There's an incredible collection of glass botanical specimens in the Harvard Museum of Natural History. It's very hard to believe these plants are made of glass!



 We had a nice walk in Concord, MA, not far from Boston. The area is steeped in revolutionary war history, and with its stone fences, colonial style buildings, and vivid fall coloring it epitomized "New England." It just doesn't look like that anywhere else.



After the big city we chilled with our daughter & hubby in Princeton. It felt good to be lazy, going on dog walks and exploring nearby.


It rained quite a bit when we were in Princeton, so there are fewer photos. Next time I'm there I'll have to make up for it.

13 October 2014

Offerings



Most days Ed and Reub and I go on multiple short walks. Sometimes these excursions are ordinary and once in awhile they aren't.



A couple of weeks ago we came upon wood rat nests on and above the path, not far from the house at all, a one minute walk.



Funny, private little creatures minding their own business, kind of like me.



Wood rats are pack rats. I take them offerings: bay leaves, acorns, a pop-top, a green bean. These objects have moved a few inches, all of them, as if they have been examined. The green bean was mostly consumed. I feel appreciated, but I am not certain.

I imagine a little rodent, dressed during the day in a tiny mid-18th century French gown, blue, enjoying haricots verts, waiting for nightfall, when she changes into the attire of a lady bandit... oh never mind. It's probably not so. But there is no proof, really, that she's just an ordinary rat. We do not know for sure.

Here's the thing...


Today I set out with Ed and Reub down the path.



I squinted...in the middle of the path which is used almost exclusively by myself and my dogs, and just 20 feet before we come to the rats' abodes...



...is a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer.



I was born and raised breathing the fumes of the Pabst brewery's hops in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I can't help but think I am being given an offering. A perfect gift, but from whom?



Call it the remnant of a kid's unfulfilled experiment in the woods. I don't know, though. Seems like the kid would have finished the beer, or hidden it. And that expiration date, does it mean the 22nd of this year, or will this can last until 2214? You tell me.

But I know this. That PBR was totally meant for me, no matter who left it. I wish to believe that it was offered by my friends, the Dusky-Footed Wood Rats. I don't know where they got it.