Sunday, January 27, 2013

“Seeing, in the finest and broadest sense, means using
your senses, your intellect, and your emotions. It means
encountering your subject matter with your whole being.
It means looking beyond the labels of things and discovering
the remarkable world around you.” 
                                                    Freeman Patterson
Lunch time Friday at the Research Park


“A human being is a part of the whole called
by us universe, a part limited in time and space.
He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling
as something separated from the rest,
a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.
This delusion is a kind of prison for us,
restricting us to our personal desires and to affection
for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to
free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle
of compassion to embrace all living creatures
and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
Albert Einstein


Sunday, January 20, 2013

“In the middle of work/we start longing fiercely 
for wide greenery/for the Wilderness itself, penetrated 
only/by the thin civilization of telephone wires.”

                                                         from On the Outskirts of Work
                                                                 Tomas Transtromer

 Saturday we were finishing walking 
the dogs when I heard the Crossbills 
again. They were across the street 
in an even taller tree than last week
and the tree was equally far from the alley 
and the street so the distance was a bit far
and the day overcast. The flock consisted 
of Red and White-winged Crossbills I did 
not see any Redpolls or Nuthatches but I only
had my camera no binoculars so they could
have been there.

Here you can compare the males of the two species.


Below a look at the crossed bill.

I saw the Flicker yesterday but did not get a 
good picture. But today the Red Shafted Flicker
appeared among our feeder birds. Thanks Kathie

"Seen from underneath everything is large,
As among gods.
The earthworm thinks it's thundering when you 
put your toe down.
From the dead's point of view, it's you who are in heaven."

from From Above, from Below and from the Side.
                      Rolf Jacobsen

Sunday, January 13, 2013

"He disappeared in the dead of winter: 
The brooks were frozen, the airports 
almost deserted, And snow disfigured 
the public statues; The mercury sank in 
the mouth of the dying day. What instruments 
we have agree The day of his death was a 
dark cold day.

 Far from his illness The wolves ran on through 
the evergreen forests, The peasant river was 
untempted by the fashionable quays; By 
mourning tongues The death of the poet 
was kept from his poems" 

                   from  In Memory of W. B. Yeats
            W. H. Auden

Today as we took our long suffering dogs for their
walk I noticed bird calls from the spruce in front of
the house. Normally I post pictures of birds in the
spruce taken from our front window so I was happy
I had taken my camera with the chance at something 
different. Upon seeing this was a mixed flock
feeding at the top of the spruce I began snapping 
wildly and Helen graciously left me to it while
she was pulled around the block by two small white 
dogs. On November 24th I posted shots of a flock
of Red Crossbills and Red Breasted Nuthatches. This
flock contained Red Crossbills, White Winged 
Crossbills and Red Polls. It was great to see them
right outside our door, now I can think of them perched
there sheltering from the cold night air while I lay in bed.
( even if they are actually miles away )

The photos are not quite as good as the Nov
photos, our spruce is taller and today was overcast.

Lately I have been somewhat depressed by
the news I read and despite Robert Burton's 
warning about melancholy it is hard not to get 
caught up in it. While many people still seem 
to be in the rather childish stage of blaming
everyone but themselves for the broken vase, 
indeed they are still arguing about whether the vase 
( planet )  is broken, it is obvious that things are
changing. In Canada we have always taken a perverse
pride in our cold weather. Compared to the disasters taking
place around the world getting warmer is good. Except
that new pests will move north. Melting permafrost will 
disrupt communities and change the landscape. Insects that 
normally freeze will over winter, increase and spread. 
Climate changes and many animals will not adapt. A warmer 
north will open the Northwest passage to shipping and the tundra 
to increasing resource exploitation. I see no signs that we will 
distribute this new wealth more equitably  or extract it more 
responsibly than we did in the past. We will simply repeat the 
excesses and mistakes of the past, just as Auden said "For 
poetry makes nothing happen" ( In Memory of W. B. Yeats ) 
we seem to learn nothing from the lessons of history.

Possibly it is a universal that everyone, as they age sees 
the world they knew, believed existed,  (even if only in a 
somewhat romanticized world view), chance into something 
they barely recognize. To be realistic in many cases these 
changes are good. But still there are so many other things 
that are lost along the way.

Perhaps that is why I can still cherish the poems that mark 
the changing seasons by the calls of geese passing overhead 
a sound I can still hear today. And perhaps that is why tonight 
I will pretend that I can hear the drowsy cheep and muted rustling 
of the birds sheltering against the cold in the spruce at my front door.

"Then one day I was walking along Tinker Creek thinking 
of nothing at all and I saw the tree with lights in it. I saw 
the backyard cedar where. the mourning doves roost 
charged and transfigured, each cell buzzing with flame. 
I stood on the grass with the lights in it, grass that was 
wholly fire, utterly focused and utterly dreamed. 
It was less like seeing than like being for the first time seen, 
knocked breathless by a powerful glance"

    from Pilgrim at Tinkers Creek
     Annie Dillard

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Looking at my older posts I see I started my blogs in Dec. 2010.
I had purchased my Canon Rebel in Nov. and wanted a forum
to share photos and quotes from some of my favorite poets.
After two years I still feel I would like to continue this exercise.
The passages I am quoting today are two of the strongest and most
impressive ( for me ) that I know and although already well known
I decided to reflect on them again even if they do not match 
the subject of my photos as much as I normally strive for. 
But they both speak to the our place in both the universe and in time.
They are also both testaments to the strength of rhythm and form.

"That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang."

From Sonnet LXXIII

Thursday at lunch I was running errands, on my
way back to work I noticed that the flock of Crossbills and
Nuthatches I had posted photos of on Nov. 24th were back.
I did not have time or my camera so I went out to see if I could
find them Friday. However they were no where to be seen so
here are some photos of the usual suspects.


I did not really post any holiday photos this year.
So here are Shaun and Whateley wishing everyone
a Happy New Year. Thank you Rigmor for our beautiful

"I saw Eternity the other night,
Like a great ring of pure and endless light,
All calm, as it was bright;
And round beneath it, Time in hours, days, years,
Driv'n by the spheres
Like a vast shadow mov'd; in which the world
And all her train were hurl'd."
from The World
Henry Vaughan

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

"I hear new news every day, and those ordinary rumours of war,
plagues, fires, inundations, thefts, murders, massacres, meteors,
comets, spectrums, prodigies, apparitions, of towns taken, cities
besieged in France, Germany, Turkey, Persia, Poland, &c., daily musters
and preparations, and such like, which these tempestuous times
afford, battles fought, so many men slain, monomachies,
shipwrecks, piracies and sea-fights; peace, leagues,
stratagems, and fresh alarms.

A vast confusion of vows, wishes, actions, edicts, petitions,
lawsuits, pleas, laws, proclamations, complaints, grievances are daily
brought to our ears. New books every day, pamphlets, corantoes,
stories, whole catalogues of volumes of all sorts, new paradoxes,
opinions, schisms, heresies, controversies in philosophy, religion,...
Now come tidings of weddings, maskings, mummeries, entertainments,
jubilees, embassies, tilts and tournaments, trophies, triumphs, revels,
sports, plays: then again, as in a new shifted scene, treasons,
cheating tricks, robberies, enormous villainies in all kinds, funerals,
burials, deaths of princes, new discoveries, expeditions, now comical,
then tragical matters. Today we hear of new lords and officers
created, tomorrow of some great men deposed, and then again
of fresh honours conferred; one is let loose, another imprisoned;
one purchaseth, another breaketh: he thrives, his neighbour turns
bankrupt; now plenty, then again dearth and famine; one runs,
another rides, wrangles, laughs, weeps...."


Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy 1652
"when the storm rages and the shipwreck of the the
state threatens, we can do nothing more worthy than to
sink the anchor of our peaceful studies into the ground
of eternity."
Johannes Kepler (1571-1630)