Wednesday, August 30, 2017

""Nostalgia is a wound that we refuse time to heal," Asa once wrote"

from Dispatches from the Cradle: The Hermit—Forty-Eight Hours in the Sea of Massachusetts
by Ken Liu

My wife and I have found the early spring and early fall weather
a bit chilly here so we added a wood stove, which I have named Lincoln
Logs for no particular reason. We were able to do a lot of the
installation ourselves with the assistance of Helen's brother Ralph
in getting it into the cabin. Ralph also put the chimney up through
the red metal roof which he so lovingly installed in 2011 with Helen's
other brother Brian. The last act of our inspection was to remove a tree
that was too close to the chimney. Ralph duly arrived with his chainsaw
and home made tree jack and removed not 1 but 3 rotten poplars which
over hung the cabin. Much as I hate to remove trees, unlike the beavers that
continue to besiege us, they had to go. However this means that I will no
longer be eye to eye with the local swallows that have claimed the cabin,
while I am standing at the living room window.

For the last three years we have walked the dogs through the 
hayfield to the gate and back. Every year we see a number
of snakes on each walk. We also see a few by the cabin.
This year we have seen only a few in the hayfield and none
by the cabin. Until today, I was about to step on the deck when a 
large garter snake sailed past me it's front 4 or 5 inches erect,
it was dangling a small frog or toad in it mouth. Wow, small
as it was it encapsulated every film, documentary or story
I have ever seen or read about snakes. Quite the sight.

"Securely sunning in a forest glade, 
A mild, well-meaning snake
Approved the adaptations he had made
For safety’s sake.

He liked the skin he had—
Its mottled camouflage, its look of mail,
And was content that he had thought to add
A rattling tail."

from A Fable
by Richard Wilbur

Sunday, August 27, 2017

`And beyond the Wild Wood again?' he asked: `Where it's all blue and dim, and one sees what may be hills or perhaps they mayn't, and something like the smoke of towns, or is it only cloud- drift?'

`Beyond the Wild Wood comes the Wide World,' said the Rat. `And that's something that doesn't matter, either to you or me. I've never been there, and I'm never going, nor you either, if you've got any sense at all.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

"Then he started to write another poem

a short time before death, 
about drinking wine again in the village —
He was working on the poem when they buried him, 
so that half a line protruded from the earth
                                 in wind and weather's hearing —
With sunlight touching the first young syllables, 
the last ones flowering from a dark coffin: 
                      "marketplace the in/drink more One"

from Lu Yu
by Al Purdy

Tuesday, August 22, 2017


"From plane of light to plane, wings dipping through 
Geometries and orchids that the sunset builds, 
Out of the peak’s black angularity of shadow, riding 
The last tumultuous avalanche of 
Light above pines and the guttural gorge, 
The hawk comes. 
 His wing 
Scythes down another day, his motion 
 Is that of the honed steel-edge, we hear 
The crashless fall of stalks of Time."

from Evening Hawk
by Robert Penn Warren

Sunday, August 20, 2017


"almost sculpture
except that it's alive
brooding immobile permanent
for half an hour 
a blue heron 
and it occurs to me
that if I were to die at this moment
that picture would accompany me
wherever I am going
for part of the way"

from the Last Picture in the World
by Al Purdy

Saturday, August 19, 2017

"a flock, a body, the birds

moving, moving the air, moving
the bank behind the house, the snow
sieved by sun and rain, the
seeds, the fallout from trees, hedge"

from Suddenly
by D.G. Jones

Thursday, August 17, 2017

In the fall we went to the Island to spent time with some good friends.
We love the coast, but settled for a different ocean. I have been remiss 
in not posting some shots of this magical intersection of rock and sea

"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."

from Moby Dick
by Melville

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Plain

“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
by Melville

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!"

from I, Candidate for Governor: And How I Got Licked (1935), 
by Upton Sinclair

Young Grebes

                          "It does no take courage, Quixote.
                           to slaughter windmills in a windy world
                           or tilt against entrepreneurs.
                                                     It is a waste of  breath
                           to criticize vast corporations

                           The difficult thing
                                                    is to sit still
                                                    like a child in the yard
                           while the whole bleak catastrophe of winter
                           descends like a glacier into the soul."

                           from Soliloquy to Absent Friends
                           by D.G. Jones

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Zipping around the Big Slough

"This is the best—
throwing off the light covers,
feet on the cold floor,
and buzzing around the house on espresso—

maybe a splash of water on the face,
a palmful of vitamins—
but mostly buzzing around the house on espresso,"

from Morning
by Billy Collins

Friday, August 11, 2017

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth

"So heavy

is the long-necked, long-bodied heron,

always it is a surprise
when her smoke-colored wings

and she turns
from the thick water,
from the black sticks

of the summer pond,
and slowly
rises into the air
and is gone."

from Heron Rises From The Dark, Summer Pond
by Mary Oliver 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Strike

“If you keep the faith I will exist
at the edge, where your vision joins 
the sunlight and the rain: heads in the light, 
feet that go down in the mud where the truth is.” 

from Spirit of Place : Great Blue Heron 
by William Stafford

Yesterday we managed to launch the canoe out onto the big slough from the hayfield. It is a lot easier than trying to drag it across thru the brush with all the beaver runs hidden by tall grass. We saw few small birds, but we did see the Osprey, Kingfishers, Grebes, Ducks and especially the Great Blue Heron.

"And when the blue heron, breaking his long breast feathers,
sees one feather fall, does he know I will find it?
Will he see me holding it in my hand?

as he opens his wings
softly and without a sound—
as he rises and floats over the water?

And this is just any day at the edge of the pond,
a black and leafy pond without a name
until I named it."

from Mysteries, Four of the Simple Ones
by Mary Oliver

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Road Trip Krydor to Hafford Part 2

“…this country would always be populated with presences 
and absences, presences of absences, the living and the dead. 
The world as it is would always be a reminder of the world that was, 
and of the world that is to come.” 

from Jayber Crow
by Wendell Berry

After our visit to Krydor we drove to Hafford about 21 km away.

A 2016 photo taken from outside the bistro in Hafford. 
These are typical prairie towns with beautiful skies and 
landscape that stretches off forever.

Hafford with a population of  360, still maintains the normal small town
businesses, a CO-OP, credit union, pharmacy, grocery etc. I noticed that
in 2017 the sign has been removed from this business I photographed 
in 2016 and it as been boarded up. Hafford does have a K to 12 school a 
vital link in maintaining community health. 

We also had to stop at the Hafford Ukrainian church, the distinctive
silhouettes of these churches are a beautiful feature of the 
Canadian prairie.

Photos of the church in Krydor taken in 2016 can be found here.

An extensive article on Nykyta Budka can be found here.

“Some of the best things I have ever thought
 of I have thought of during bad sermons.”

from Jayber Crow
by Wendell Berry 

Road Trip Krydor to Hafford Part 1

“You may say that I am just another outdated old man 
complaining about progress and the changes of time. 
But, you see, I have well considered that possibility myself, 
and am prepared to submit to correction by anybody who cares 
about a community, who can show me how the world is 
improved by that community's dying.” 

from Jayber Crow
by Wendell Berry

Last year we went through the town of Krydor, we spent 
most of our time at the church, a link to those photos will
appear in Part 2. I noticed the boarded up stores then and so
we came back this summer to look around. There are signs of
life, the community hall is maintained, the church kept up,
there are recycle bins. But as you can see the main street consists
of boarded up stores and vacant lots. My brother in law pointed
out that most have metal roofs so some attempt has been made to 
maintain them. Founded in 1911 the town now has 25 residents.
As you drive through you see houses that have been abandoned
and a few with signs of life or an RV plugged in indicating some
seasonal occupation. As I said to my wife, it would be very
eerie to be a child in such as town at night, with all these dark 
overgrown homes and the vast dark prairie sky above.

Demographics can be as relentless as any tsunami. A few 
years ago the rural high school I attended closed after 112
 years in Harrow ON when the decision was made to consolidate to 
large towns. This immediately affected local businesses and the 
sale of town lots.

A link to other photos and some very interesting 
comments about the community of Krydor.

"There was a river under First and Main, 
the salt mines honeycombed farther down. 
A wealth of sun and wind ever so strong 
converged on that home town, long gone. 

At the north edge there were the sand hills. 
I used to stare for hours at prairie dogs, 
which had their town, and folded their little paws
to stare beyond their fence where I was. "

from Prairie Town
by William Stafford