Saturday, November 24, 2012

"And the only poet is the wind,
a drifter
who walked in from the coast
with empty pockets
He stands on the road
at evening, making a sound
like a stone harp
by a handful of leaves...."
from The Stone Harp
John Haines
Thursday I went out on my lunch hour to photograph the
white tailed jackrabbits that have loped through my dreams
recently. While I encountered some, it was a flock of birds in the
spruce that spoke to me. I was initially uncertain if they
were Grosbeaks or Crossbirds but Red Crossbills they were.
One thing that confused me was that I kept seeing
Red Breasted Nuthatches in my camera. I had always
considered them the immobile resident birds of our front
yard spruce. Upon returning home some research told me
that they did indeed irrupt regularly moving about the
countryside, often in mixed species flocks. We do not see a
lot of bird species in the winter so these irruptions of birds 
 whether they be Snowy Owls, Mountain Ash seeking
Waxwings, or the flocks of Snow Buntings skittering across a cold
countryside are welcome additions to the prairie landscape.
The Crossbills are residents of the foothills near Calgary but I have
not seen one the the city for a couple of years perhaps they
are in town for dinner and a movie.Or a visit with their city cousins
the Nuthatches. There were perhaps 30-40 Crosbillls and
5-10 Nuthatches so I am not sure if that constitutes a true
irruption but it was fun.
I found this nest at the base of a spruce
in the mountains some years ago. There was a large flock of
Crossbills in the trees so I have assumed this in a Crossbill nest.
" the seasons pass
just outside their hearing
but what they died for has faded away
and become something quite different
past justice and injustice"
        from The Battlefield at Batoche
                            Al Purdy

Sunday, November 18, 2012

"He has fled like electricity down the telegraph wires into
prairies of distance where the single bird sits
small and black against the saffron sky,
and is itself"
from He Has Fled
Robert Penn Warren
" We must learn to live in the world."
from Loss, of Perhaps Love,
in Our World of Contingency
Robert Penn Warren
"All things lean to you, and some are
Trying to tell you something, though of some
The heart is too full for speech"
from Trying to Tell You Something
Robert Penn Warren

Saturday, November 10, 2012


“Just as a lamp waved in darkness creates a
figure of light in the air, which remains for as long
as the lamp repeats its motion exactly,
so the universe retains its shape
by repetition: the universe is Time's body.”

from Little Big
John Crowley

After a few days of melting, we began to get
new snow, it got a bit colder as well.
Nothing too bad especially when you
see what other people have dealt with. But
today the young dog wanted to bounce in the
belly deep snow and the old dog wanted to be
carried home. The birds have disappeared, huddled
together in some winter bush and are ignoring the
feeders. I did see as gull go by yesterday it must
be confused.
I took these pictures Friday. I always think of
these snowy days as a day for the little worlds
within worlds, I find it hard to photograph on a while
canvas so the details become everything, as I enter
the tiny worlds of nature. My camera does not allow
me to enter the mysterious worlds  of Fitz James O'Brien's
The Diamond Lens, Cummings' the Girl in the Golden
Atom, or two favorites, Crowley's Little Big or
James Blaylock's The Land of Dreams but there
are lots of details to sink into even at this scale.

“The further in you go, the bigger it gets.”
from Little Big
John Crowley

“What you learn as you get older is that
the world is old, and has been old for a long time.”

from Little Big
John Crowley

“The things that make us happy make us wise. ” 
from Little Big
John Crowley

“Their laughter rose to the ceiling and
shook hands there.” 
from Little Big
John Crowley

Sunday, November 4, 2012

"And, all about, the vacant plot,
Was peopled and inhabited
By scores of mulleins long since dead.
A silent and forsaken brood
In that mute opening of the wood,
So shrivelled and so thin they were,
So gray, so haggard, and austere,
Not plants at all they seemed to me,
But rather some spare company
Of hermit folk, who long ago,
Wandering in bodies to and fro,
Had chanced upon this lonely way,
And rested thus, till death one day
Surprised them at their compline prayer,
And left them standing lifeless there."

                 In November
     Archibald Lampman

I had been considering a posting on the
beautiful fall colours we were having when
a few weeks ago it snowed and stayed and
stayed. Then last week I was going to take
some photos of the lovely frost we were having
and it mostly melted before I got any photos.
But while I was taking these photos it occurred to
me that everything I came across seemed trapped
between seasons.  There as the last remnants of
the bright summer green, leeched to paler pastel
shades and finally to the rustling grey white pages of
winter.  The reds are bleeding to brown amid the
faded blue greens of the spruce.

And it was not just the plants that were caught
in the net of the seasons.

" I cannot ride this wind into summer.
Still, it is doubtful who is encaged: all
the bigger trees are bare; black
they reach into grey sky
like ornamental ironwork-
against which blow the belated birds"
                   From My Window: Late November
              D.G. Jones