Sunday, April 6, 2014

"My! it was fine, coming through the snow as the red sun 
was rising and showing against the black tree-trunks! As you 
went along in the stillness, every now and then masses 
of snow slid off the branches suddenly with a flop! 
making you jump and run for cover. Snow-castles and 
snow-caverns had sprung up out of nowhere in the night
--and snow bridges, terraces, ramparts--I could have stayed 
and played with them for hours. Here and there great 
branches had been torn away by the sheer weight of 
the snow, and robins perched and hopped on them in 
their perky conceited way, just as if they had done it 

from The Wind in the Willows
Kenneth Grahame

Friday the temperature went up and the snow has been melting.
"O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!'   He chortled in his joy."
Though some might miss it.

Did someone say Release the Kraken(s) 

"Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand."

From The Stolen Child
W.B. Yeats


Sunday, March 16, 2014

"The deepest sleep holds us
to something immutable.
We have fallen
into place, and harmony
surrounds us. We are carried 
in the world, in the company 
of stars. But as day comes
I feel the waking of my hunger
for another day."

from From The Crest
Wendell Berry

Friday Night a new pack member joined us.
Nina is a rescue from Mexico arranged through
a Calgary group that brings smaller dogs, which
are often in short supply in Calgary, from rescue
groups in the US and Mexico. Since we wanted
a young companion for Whateley and Shaun
we contacted them and decided Nina would fit
would right in. At present she is sleeping in 
with the rest of the pack.

The wonder of the world
The beauty and the power,
The shapes of things
Their colours, lights and shades
These I saw,
Look ye also while life lasts

from an old gravestone in Cumberland England
from the introduction to the book
Eliot Porter In the Realm of Nature.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

"Passions of rain, or moods in falling snow; 
Grievings in loneliness, or unsubdued
Elations when the forest blooms; gusty 
Emotions on wet roads on autumn nights; 
All pleasures and all pains, remembering 
The bough of summer and the winter branch. 
These are the measures destined for her soul. "

    from  Sunday Morning 
                   Wallace Stevens

"Where is the sea, that once solved the whole loneliness
Of the Midwest?Where is Minneapolis? I can see nothing
But the great terrible oak tree darkening with winter.
Did you find the city of isolated men beyond mountains?
Or have you been holding the end of a frayed rope
For a thousand years? "

from As I Step Over A Puddle At The End Of Winter
I think Of An Ancient Chinese Governor

                   James Wright 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

"The moments of happiness—not the sense of well-being,
Fruition, fulfillment, security or affection,
Or even a very good dinner, but the sudden illumination—
We had the experience but missed the meaning,
And approach to the meaning restores the experience
In a different form, beyond any meaning
We can assign to happiness"

from The Dry Salvages

Both Saturday and Sunday when I finally hauled myself out
of bed the temperature in the backyard had warmed up to 
about -28 C or -18 F. I am not sure how cold it was earlier
but even after the temperatures had risen to a balmy -20 or so
they still proved too much for the heated birdbath which has 
frozen over. The birds and the squirrels still appear at the feeder 
but only the magpies who have pecked a hole through the ice
can get a drink.

My reading on epiphany or revelation in poetry continues
yesterday it lead me to the works of T.S. Eliot, enjoy.

I am off the the library you can never have too many books 

"We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always—"

from Little Gidding 

Monday, February 24, 2014

"After the park and the street the interior of the building
seemed very silent. A long beam of sunlight, in which small
particles of dust swam about, all at once slanted through an upper
 window on the staircase, and struck the opaque glass
panels of the door. On several occasions recently I had
been conscious of approaching the brink of some
discovery; an awareness that nearly became manifest,
 then suddenly withdrew. Now the truth came flooding in with
 the dust infested sunlight. The revelation of self-identity was
inescapable. There was no doubt about it. I was me.'
Anthony Powell
quoted in Christopher Hitchens
An Omnivorous Curiosity
The Atlantic June 2001

I still seem to have lapsed into some form of winter doldrums
and am marooned in my own personal version of the horse latitudes.
I have spent, what is probably too much time thinking and reading too
 little doing, that said I will indulge in another trip down memory lane.

I have periodically in my life come to remember an experience
I had in my youth. I would probably have been in public school
possibly 9 or 10 when I came home from school and was looking
out the dining room window which faced our driveway. However it
was not the view that caught my attention but the golden light striking
the wide oak radiator cover under the window. In this instance I
experienced a moment of such clarity and strength that I remember
it to this day although nothing of significance occurred and it had no
lasting effect on my life. There are a number of words that might
encompass such an experience revelation, satori, epiphany ( indeed
epiphany has apparently become a staple of poetry and I have begun
reading Ashton Nichols The Poetics of Epiphany to explore this idea )
but all these terms seem to indicate some new found knowledge or
direction stemming from this experience. While I remember the power
of this experience I then or now eached no conclusion as to it's
significance if any in my life.

One thing that I do enjoy about reading and why I love literature and poetry
is that I  I feel a commonality with authors who are recording their own or
their characters experiences in a attempt to understand their lives or the
lives of the world around them. Even if the experiences or their conclusions
do not match my own I still find it a worthwhile experience. So while I have
nothing as yet to share about my experience I am offering quotes by some
excellent authors that may offer their "take" on such an experience.
"Against the gateway, against some cedar tree I saw blaze bright,
 Neville, Jinny, Rhoda, Susan and myself, our life, our identity.
 ...,. But we--against the brick, against the branches, we six, out
of how many million millions, for one moment out of what measureless
abundance of past time and time to come, burnt there triumphant. The
moment was all; the moment was enough."
                                 The Waves
                                          Virgina Woolfe


Sunday, February 2, 2014

I have not blogged for some time and the winter ice and cold  has limited my 
taking photographs. A few weeks ago I came across some cards based on 
Nick Bantocks's Griffin & Sabine Trilogy. If you have not read it it is the story
 of a couple who have never meet exchanging cards and letters when they
 discover they have a "magical connection" They basically tell each other 
the story of their  lives and then begin to share the stories of their current 
travels. The stories are accompanied by postcards, letters and stamps with 
striking images. I have to admit I liked the third book the least when an 
antagonist was introduced and a more conventional plot was introduced. 
I preferred just hearing their personal histories and the narratives of their 
travels.  I had not been rereading them  long before I began to sense a 
connection, at least for me to the works of W.G. Sebald and I reread my 
copy of Austerlitz, his works largely avoid conventional plot, consisting 
instead of personal histories, chance encounters, descriptions of places seen 
while traveling or snippets from his reading and he includes B&W photos 
in the books.

Both authors dealt with personal history, art, conversation, descriptions, 
memory and I think convey a sense of what I, at least, feel in the internal 
mental dialogue we conduct with ourselves.

For my quotes I have chosen one from Sebald's Austerlitz about how the things
 that comprise our mental landscape will fade with time and the second a quote 
by the astronomer Martin Rees about how much our memories mean in the great 
scheme of things.

“...the darkness does not lift but becomes yet heavier as 
I think how little we can hold in mind, how everything is constantly 
lapsing into oblivion with every extinguished life, how the world is, as 
it were, draining itself, in that the history of countless places and objects 
which themselves have no power or memory is never heard, never 
described or passed on.” 


"Our sun, however, is less than halfway through its lifespan. It will not be humans 
who watch the sun's demise, 6bn years from now. Any creatures that then exist 
will be as different from us as we are from bacteria or amoebae.” 

Friday, January 17, 2014

"White faced cattle lowing, sagebrush everywhere

Granite spires are standing all around
I'll tell you folks it's heaven to go ridin' down the trail
Just to watch the desert sun go down"

from Riding Down the Canyon
   as performed by Arlo Guthrie

As always when on the farm I went out to marvel
at the mismatched horns and coat palettes that
constitute Ralph's herd I did notice the Angus Black
seems to be disapperaing. 

Again with a tip of my hat to Roy 
(at roynaturelogbook see my  links )
I have declared a Cow Day.

Dreams of Disarmament

Harry the great polled Charolais
swollen as the sin of pride,
heavy with muscle and vitality
counts his kingdom of one
way out in the far field.

He spares us only one baleful glare
for his thoughts are far away
down to the main corral where
Morely the half-pint Hereford
flashes his horns for an admiring throng.