Monday, July 20, 2015

"But it is a mild, mild wind, and a mild looking sky; 
and the air smells now, as if it blew from a far-away meadow; 
they have been making hay somewhere under the slopes 
of the Andes, Starbuck, and the mowers are sleeping among the 
new-mown hay."

from Moby Dick
 By Herman Melville

My brother in law Ralph cuts the hay.

"Far to the north, or indeed in any direction
strange mountains and creatures have always lurked-
elves, goblins,trolls, and spiders:-we
encounter them in dread and wonder,

But once we have tasted far streams, touched the gold
found some limit beyond the waterfall
a season changes, we come back , changed
but safe, quiet, graceful."

     from Allegiances
               by William Stafford

Saturday, July 18, 2015

"My soul would sing of metamorphoses.
But since, o gods, you were the source of these
bodies becoming other bodies, breathe
your breath into my book of changes: may
the song I sing be seamless as its way
weaves from the world's beginning to our day."

                     from The Metamorphoses of Ovid
                             translated by Allen Mandelbaum

I have posted photos of the vixen and her three cubs at the farm
previously this summer. Thursday my mother in law mentioned she
had found a fox tail in garden, and we wondered who might have been
responsible Willow the farm dog or possibly a coyote, who do prey on
foxes. Friday morning my wife and I drove past the farm lane and 
encountered four foxes. seemed to have tails so we have no idea
whose was in the garden.

"In a cave somewhere they carved an animal 
jumping: that leap stayed."

             from They Carved An Animal
           by William Stafford

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

"Deep into distant woodlands winds a mazy way, reaching to 
overlapping spurs of mountains bathed in their hill-side blue. 
But though the picture lies thus tranced, and though this pine-tree 
shakes down its sighs like leaves upon this shepherd's head, yet 
all were vain, unless the shepherd's eye were fixed upon the magic 
stream before him. Go visit the Prairies in June, when for scores 
on scores of miles you wade knee-deep among Tiger- lilies - 
what is the one charm wanting? - Water - there is not a drop 
of water there! "

                              both quotes from Moby-Dick
                                            By Herman Melville

This was the first Tiger-lily of our summer and I did take the
photo in June. It is berry season now the dry weather making for
bumper crops so far.

"He lives on the sea, as prairie cocks in the prairie; 
he hides among the waves, he climbs them as chamois 
hunters climb the Alps. For years he knows not the land; 
so that when he comes to it at last, it smells like another 
world, more strangely than the moon would to an Earthsman. 
With the landless gull, that at sunset folds her wings and is 
rocked to sleep between billows; so at nightfall, the Nantucketer, 
out of sight of land, furls his sails, and lays him to his rest, while 
under his very pillow rush herds of walruses and whales."

Monday, July 13, 2015

"As we were walking on our lonely road
there came, like lightning ripping through the air,
a voice, shot out at us from up ahead:

" I shall be slain by all who find me !" - Then
it rolled past us like thunder dying down
after a sudden bursting of a cloud."

Purgatory, Dante Canto XIV lines 130 - 135
translator Mike Musa
words attributed to Cain

I took this photo of the coyote in our hayfield a few weeks ago. Coyotes
numbers seem to be increasing and there are more and more of them in 
western cities despite the fact they are treated as a pest species and shot
on sight. I can rarely hear them without my hearing aids but they call 
briefly each night and I can often observe when they start by Whateley's 
reaction since he seems to react the most of the three dogs, just a attentive
posture most nights.

Hurray a thunderstorm just started, hopefully it will rain a 
couple of days.  Nothing like a downpour on a tin roof.

"I come home with a chicken or
a rabbit and sit up
singing all night with my friends.
It´s baroque, my life, and
I tell it on the mountain.

I wouldn´t trade it for yours."

from Coyote
                     by William Stafford

Thursday, July 9, 2015

" In our joining it knows itself. It is with us then, 
not as the gods whose names crest in unearthly fire, 
but as a little bird hidden in the leaves 
who sings quietly and waits, and sings. "

                        from The Hidden Singer
                        by Wendell Berry

"And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye,
clear. What we need is here. "

from What We Need is Here
by Wendell Berry

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

"Fly me to the moon
Let me play among the stars
Let me see what spring is like
On Jupiter and Mars"

With over 100 fires still burning and over 13,000 people evacuated
the situation in northern Saskatchewan is still dire. But here in Central
Saskatchewan we woke to a strong wind and the first clear blue sky 
we have had in many days. And a familiar face was not blood red.

Moon river, wider than a mile
I'm crossin' you in style some day
Old dream maker, you heartbreaker
Wherever you're goin', I'm goin' your way

Two drifters, off to see the world
There's such a lot of world to see
We're after the same rainbow's end, waitin' 'round the bend
My huckleberry friend, Moon River, and me

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

"At the hour when the swallow, close to dawn
begins to sing her melancholy lays
perhaps remembering her ancient woes,"

and when our mind, far straying from the flesh,
less tangled in the network of its thoughts,
becomes somehow prophetic in its dreams,

dreaming I seem to see hovering above,
a golden-feathered eagle in the sky,
with wings outspread, ready to swoop down:"

from Canto IX, Dante's Purgatory
translated by Mark Musa

One of the fun parts of reading Dante's Comedy is that you can
speculate, based on what ever criteria you like, which of the
countless translations are the best. So I am offering the same 
passage from two, one in poetry one in prose. The Barn Swallow was 
photographed from the living room window there are nest on either 
side of it. The branch is about 8 feet away. The window opens out and
when the window is open the swallow often perches on the top edge of
the window it's back to the room. This entertains the cat and we are just
happy we have a screen.

"At the hour, near dawn, when the swallow  begins her sad songs, 
in memory, perhaps, of her former pain, and when the mind is 
almost prophetic, more of a wanderer from the body, and less 
imprisoned by thought, I imagined I saw an eagle, in a dream
poised in the sky, on outspread wings, with golden plumage, 
and intent to swoop." 

from Canto IX, Dante's Purgatory
translated by Charle S. Singleton

Monday, July 6, 2015

"in nature there are few sharp lines: there are areas of   
       more or less dispersed;
disorderly orders of bayberry; between the rows
of dunes,
irregular swamps of reeds,
though not reeds alone, but grass, bayberry, yarrow, all ...
predominantly reeds:

I have reached no conclusions, have erected no boundaries,   
shutting out and shutting in, separating inside
          from outside: I have
          drawn no lines:

manifold events of sand
change the dune’s shape that will not be the same shape   

so I am willing to go along, to accept   
the becoming
thought, to stake off no beginnings or ends, establish   
         no walls:"

from Corsons Inlet
by A.R. Ammons 

A few days ago we were birding with a friend in the 
evening when we took the back lane into to the farm
to look for some wrens. We did not find them but we
did find a family of Mountain Bluebirds the first I have
seen there in 30 plus years of visits. It has been an odd 
summer in some ways. For over a week the sun has been
red and the sky overcast due to the fires in northern 
Saskatchewan and northern Canada in general. It is dry
here was well which has changed our landscape, shallower
water in the slough which had been abnormally high for
several years means not fish since the water freezes to the 
bottom and there is less influx of water from the larger 
sloughs and lakes. That means we have no Kingfishers and
Herons here and fewer on the larger sloughs. We also do not 
see Terns as in previous years. We also don't seem to have as 
many Vesper Sparrows in the field which seems strange 
since they are a dry land bird. We have lots of Purple 
Finches and Goldfinches but that maybe the result of the
fact that we have been feeding them since June. By staying
longer we do see a different cycle, When we came we could 
see 10 species of birds right next to the porch in a couple of
hours. Then the numbers declined as they started looking 
after their eggs. Now they are beginning to return with 
their young which is  fun to see.

And I think some Bluebird boxes are in my future.

"Out of the dry days
through the dusty leaves
far across the valley
those few notes never
heard here before

one fluted phrase
floating over its
wandering secret
all at once wells up
somewhere else"

from Unknown Bird
by W.S. Merlin

Saturday, July 4, 2015

" when I have seen you I have waked and slipped from the calendars
from the creeds of difference and the contradictions
       that were my life and all the crumbling fabrications
as long as it lasted until something that we were
       had ended when you are no longer anything
let me catch sight of you again going over the wall
       and before the garden is extinct and the woods are figures
guttering on a screen let my words find their own
       places in the silence after the animals "

from Vixen
W.S. Merwin

Earlier I posted photos of the fox kits, this is mom. She has been 
playing a game with Willow for years where she shows herself
so Willow can chase her. We have heard of these odd relationships
between farm dogs and foxes from other farm families. Willow is
a very large Border Collie mix and the fox is tiny so it is an odd
interaction. This week When we drove into the yard Willow was chasing 
the fox then Willow turned around and ran while the fox chased her. 
The other day my mother in law mentioned that the kits were playing 
with Willow's toys while she watched quietly from the window given 
that Willow is very protective of the yard this seems very unusual.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Red Necked Grebe and young on home slough, canoe trip 
the morning of June 30th, 2015.

"From those holiest waters I returned
to her reborn, a tree renewed, in bloom
with newborn foliage, immaculate,

eager to rise, now ready for the stars."

from Purgatory, Dante, Translated by Mark Musa
Canto XXXIII, lines 142-145