Saturday, February 23, 2013


‘When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things 
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief.”

From The Peace of Wild Things
                 Wendell Berry

As I mentioned in an earlier blog I was trying to emulate
“ the peace of wild things” no luck yet instead I 
have found increasing levels of pessimism and
 cynicism pervading my own thoughts and my
 conversations with others. This somewhat  
discouraging trend is I think in part fueled 
by the constant bombardment we face it seems
things are only getting worse whether it is 
violence against women, the gap between rich
and poor, the hope initially raised by movements like 
the Arab Spring now descending into familiar 
patterns of corruption and intimidation,
 the collapse of economies worldwide, 
the greed and duplicity of politian’s and in 
Canada we can add our inability to resolve
 our long standing issues with our 
First Nations and the all-out assault on the 
environment by our government and their 
industry cohorts. I am not belittling any
 of these issues but sometimes I think people
myself included begin to resemble a parody of 
Peter Finch’s character in Network drained 
by a sense of continual moral indignation. By the way 
I have no cure of the issues I listed or the 
metal state I have described if the post seems rambling 
and disjointed that is actually the way my mind 
 often works. 

Maybe this is a natural occurrence and the first step  
leading to my friends and I taking our place on the porch 
of life railing (sorry) against kids stepping on the grass.
So what is my point? I am attaching a link to crows in the snow.  
Because this is in nature / poetry blog after all, to paraphrase 
Arlo Guthrie Alice's Restaurant “remember Alice” remember the 
nature / poetry blog. 

While I have little hope we will respond to the damage 
we are doing to the environment in any meaningful
 way thanks to YouTube we can still have crows
in the snow and I think we need these small moments 
these brief glimpses of those “other nations” that 
surround us to disrupt our predictable days, our 
shadow shelves providing our lives with a flash
of insight/illumination that may lead us to create 
art or science or change or encourage us look
 after ourselves and others or at least
provide us with  a moment of joy or wonder.

I have included these shots of an Eastern Grey Squirrel 
in my yard, remember the nature / poetry blog,
 most of our squirrels are black but editing these pictures it 
really drove it home to me that the black colour phase was
 somewhat maladaptive because the black squirrels stick out 
so much more in the landscape. Here the grey Grey 
Squirrel blends perfectly with the tree trunk. 
While not exhaustively tested Shaun and Whately
 have no stated preference for the colour phase 
of the squirrels they chase, it is all good.


“We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical 
concept of animals. In a world older and more complete than 
ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions 
of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices 
we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not 
underlings: they are other nations, caught with ourselves in
 the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour 
 and travail of the earth.”

                         Henry Beston
                                       The Outermost House

Monday, February 18, 2013

"Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery;
None but ourselves can free our minds.
Have no fear for atomic energy,
'Cause none of them can stop the time."

"Redemption Song" is a song by Bob Marley.
 Based in part on a speech given by Marcus Garvey
 in Nova Scotia in October 1937 ( Wikipedia)

I have not had as much time or energy to take
a lot of photos lately and to tell the truth Helen
and I hibernate a bit in the winter. Even though
we bought our first car a couple of years ago after
20 plus years without one we still do not tend to take
road trips in the winter.

So some photos from the last couple of weeks.

Helen noticed this Waxwing feather while we were
walking Shaun and Whateley

“The Holy Land is everywhere”
Black Elk Medicine Man
Oglala  Lakota  (Sioux)

Saturday, February 9, 2013

"Finish each day and be done with it.
You have done what you could. Some
blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it
serenely and with too high a spirit to be
encumbered with your old nonsense.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
I have been attemped to get shots of the
Crossbills in our neighbourhood, this
female was actually feeding on our front
yard. My blunder was using the autofocus
I got great shots of the spruce cones next
to her.

“it is discouraging to leave the past behind
only to see it coming toward you like
the thunderstorm which drenched you yesterday.” 
The Tunnel
                         William H Gass


Sunday, February 3, 2013

I am having trouble with spacing on blogger today, sorry.

Both quotes are from Ross Lockwood's fascinating
1948 novel Raintree County

Spoiler alert it is over 
1000 pages long. The first copy I read was from a university
library, it still had a stamped slip in the back indicating
it had been been taken out 5 or 6 time but by about 400
pages I found it had been misbound and the central section
of 100 pages were missing. Apparently no one else had 
it mentioned  that was their loss.. I then scoured town until I 
found a copy of the January Book-of-the-Month Club edition.
Eventually I also contacted the Raintree County Home Page
and Ross's son Larry generously sent me a copy of his
biography of his father Shade of the Raintree. The novel also
won a $150,000 prize from MGM for the movie rights which
then became by all accounts an terrible movie starring among others
Elizabeth Taylor.  The novel make use of the stream-of-consciousness 
techniques and in many ways reminds me of Whitman's work 
where one is swept along by the beauty of the language and the 
breathless pace and scope of the of the author's vision

For more information I encourage you 
visit the Raintree County Home Page, or visit Raintree County
itself through the pages of the novel 

"... which had no boundaries in time and space,
where lurked musical and strange names and mythical
and lost peoples, and which was itself only a name
musical and strange."

Another week at the Research park included fleeting

The beauty of the ordinary, I love the feet.


A meditation on the uses of small twigs by small birds
intent on baffling predators and photographers.

And  glimpse of an old friend.


" Hard roads and wide will run through Raintree County,
and its ancient boundaries will dissolve. People will hunt it
on the map, and it won't be there. For America will become
the City. America will hunt for a tree of life whose fruit is gold.
And that man shall be the Hero of the County who plucks from
the high branches the heaviest dividends. "