Friday, June 27, 2014

"Through miles of shadow and soft heat,
Where field and fallow, fence and tree,
Were all one world of greenery,
I heard the robin ringing sweet,
The sparrow piping silverly,
The thrushes at the forest's hem
And as I went I sang with them. "

from After Rain
                         by Archibald Lampman

The Phoebes as I have said in earlier posts are the first
birds wee see at the cabin surveying any movement
ant change from some high vantage point, always watchful
always busy. I think they have taken to nesting under 
the cabin which is raised above the ground on posts.

They strike me as very cheerful and make good neighbors.

" The sky so blue things must have trembled
and sunsets burned at the world-edge
-tiny three-toed horses without riders
and stone listened to stone
wondering whether to take a chance
or else remain stone forever
birds like red bonfires plunge thru trees
flying reptiles flap leather wings
attack water reflections of themselves
which are not less unreal than they are."

     from On The Bearpaw Sea
        by Al Purdy

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

"Midway upon the journey of our life
I found myself within a forest dark,
For the straightforward pathway had been lost.

 Ah me! how hard a thing it is to say
What was this forest savage, rough, and stern,
Which in the very thought renews the fear.
So bitter is it, death is little more;
But of the good to treat, which there I found,
Speak will I of the other things I saw there.

I cannot well repeat how there I entered,
So full was I of slumber at the moment
In which I had abandoned the true way."

                                from  Inferno Canto 1
                                      Dante, Longfellow's Tran.

Some dour quotes hopefully the birds
will brighten this up.

We had a couple of rarer visitors to the
cabin this year and although the photos
were not great I thought I would post them.

We had lots of White Crowned Sparrows and
the Phoebes are always around keeping an
eye on things. 

" Old age is always wakeful; as if, the longer
linked with life, the less man has to do with
aught that looks like death. Among sea-commanders,
the old greybeards will oftenest leave their berths to
visit the night-cloaked deck."

                                                             from Moby Dick
                                                                  Herman Melville

Back at the farm this pine has been dying by
inches for years but it is such a popular roost
it has not been removed.

“Were this world an endless plain, and by sailing eastward
we could for ever reach new distances, and discover sights
more sweet and strange than any Cyclades or Islands of King
Solomon, then there were promise in the voyage. But in pursuit
of those far mysteries we dream of, or in tormented chase of the
demon phantom that, some time or other, swims before all human
hearts; while chasing such over this round globe, they either lead us
 on in barren mazes or midway leave us whelmed.”

                                                                  from Moby Dick
                                                                           Herman Melville

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

"When he tried his eyes on the lake ospreys
would fall like valkyries
choosing the cut-throat
He took then to waiting
till the night smoke rose from the boil of the sunset

But the moon carved unknown totems
out of the lakeshore
owls in the beardusky woods derided him
moosehorned cedars circled his swamps and tossed
their antlers up to the stars
then he knew though the mountain slept the winds
were shaping its peak to an arrowhead

And now he could only
bar himself in and wait
for the great flint to come singing into his heart" 
                                                                    from Bushed
                                                                          by Earle Birney

                                     From the top, Nina, Shaun and Whateley in their run.


By day three we noted that what we believe was a bear had stuck
it's head through the chain link. Luckily we were all in bed. 
 We did reinforce the run, which was constructed with just this type 
of event in mind and a trail camera showed no sign that bear returned to
that spot.

"The hounds laid dew-laps on the ground,
With needles of pine sweet, soft and rusty--
Dream'd of the dead stag stout and lusty;
A bat by the red flames wove its round.

The darkness built its wigwam walls
Close round the camp, and at its curtain
Press'd shapes, thin woven and uncertain,
As white locks of tall waterfalls."

                       from Said the Canoe ( an old favorite ) 
                      by Isabella Valancy Crawford

Monday, June 16, 2014

"When a cold spell would come late in the spring, 
causing us to feel that some fundamental disorder was at hand, 
she would quote from a source I have never found: "The time 
will come when we'll not know the winter from the summer, 
but by the budding of the trees." And though that time has never 
come, I believed then that it would come, and I believe it still."

                                                                     from A World Lost
                                                                              by Wendell Berry

We finally arrived at the cabin to be greeted by a wide 
variety of duck species on the slough, the blooms on the 
Saskatoon bushes, the graceful swaying of the few trees
that the beavers have spared on the spit of land that juts 
on into the water

and of course Spring.

" An old terror, learned long ago from his time, returned to Andy
now and shook him—not the terror of the end of the world, but 
of the end, simply of all he knew and loved, which would then exist 
only in his knowing, the little creature of his memory, and so he would
be forced to collaborate willy-nilly in the dominance of human intention
over the world. "

                                        from Remembering 
                                                                Wendell Berry

Monday, June 9, 2014

"He had seen the end of an era, the sunset of the pioneer. He had come upon
it when already its glory was nearly spent. So in the buffalo times a traveller
used to come upon the embers of a hunter's fire on the prairies, after the hunter
was up and gone; the coals would be trampled out, but the ground was warm,
and the flattened grass where he had slept and where his pony had grazed, told
the story.  This was the very end of the road-making West; the men who had put
plains and mountains under the iron harness were old; some were poor, and even
the successful ones were hunting for rest and a brief reprieve from death. It was
already gone, that age; nothing could ever bring it back. The taste and smell and
song of it, the visions those men had seen in the air and followed,—these he had
caught in a kind of afterglow in their own faces,—and this would always be his"
                                         from Lost Lady
                                                     Willa Cather

I have not blogged for awhile, I was caught up in the horse latitudes of winter
combined with the work blase. But towards the end of May we loaded up the dogs
and headed for the cabin, a trip across the plains and into the parkland. This mean
a new look at a favorite Midwestern poet William Stafford and a renewed
commitment to read the prairie writer Willa Cather. Also there will be
some opportunity to take some photos and reconnect with family.

Marsh by Jackfish Lake, Battlefords Saskatchewan

''one could breathe that only on the bright edges of the world,
on the great grass plains or the sage brush desert.
That air would disappear from the whole earth in time, perhaps; but long
after his day. He did not know just when it had become so necessary to him, but
 he had come back to die in exile for the sake of it. Something soft and wild
and free, something that whispered to the ear on the pillow, lightened
the heart, softly, softly picked the lock, slid the bolts, and released the
prisoned spirit of man into the wind, into the blue and gold, into the morning,
into the morning!''

from Death Comes for the Archbishop
Willa Cather