Archive Page 2

Tears

grasses snow

When clouds reach down to touch the trees,
Their sides snag on tree branches
Dragging against edges until —
Tear, rip, torn —
They spill onto the fields.
Snow drifts against the hedgerows.

© rjn, January 11, 2018

Quick notes on the poem: this was written after watching grey clouds race low across the sky, then seem to struggle in the trees on top of a hill. In the struggle, they dumped snow in an abrupt misty downpour. By the end, the clouds had disappeared into the other clouds above them. All that was left was a fine grit of snow over everything.

If I were a cartoonist, I would have drawn the snow squall as cloud ghosts who were wringing their hands and wailing, while the edges of their wrappings got tangled in the branches.

Advertisements

Planning for early 2018

It’s a cold, wintry day here on the east coast. I’m trying to work up enthusiasm for today’s walk. While I delay on my errands, I’m drinking hot tea and making plans for February (and January too). It’s sort of a tale of more and less:

  1. The Great Backyard Bird Count is over President’s Day weekend. Maybe I could do some short road trips to look for raptors? If you’re interested in participating, it’s a worldwide effort. More details here: http://gbbc.birdcount.org/
  2. More exercise (thanks to gingerbread cookies, this is needed more than ever). I’m considering hiking trails nearby, as well as places with indoor pools. There might be a chance of spotting wildlife, due to the reduced green cover. If you want to explore winter wildlife, check out these ideas and bundle up.
  3. More art and creativity. Visits to museums; making space/time for more drawing/painting/printing; working on some short story ideas.
  4. More volunteering. Seriously thinking about ways to make the world a better place. It’s a nice chaser to the stress of last year.
  5. Reduce the stash of yarn. I sent some finished knits off as Christmas gifts in 2017 and I’m getting charity hats ready to send away (one needs blocking, one needs finishing). I’m matching well-marinated yarn to knit projects, and trying to figure out what yarn is unlikely to ever be knit into something by me ever (on the pile to donate). Sometime next week, I’ll probably post some of my photos of projects, with details about patterns.
  6. Less clutter. This is a tedious, ongoing project that involves going into the unheated attic to find things that are missing or things I want to remove from the house. Today I may recycle/sort a whole mess of paper in my toasty office while listening to my music collection over the wind’s roar.

What are you making space for in 2018? Any cool ideas you want to add to your life? Or are there things you need to let go?

Wishing you all the best this shiny new year. If you’re further north, in the Boston area, hope you have electricity and heat.

 

One Midwinters day

The Gardener and I got married. It was a small service, with a small group of people, but it was perfect.

I had the cold of doom. A friend loaned me her wedding shawl (because all the dress options were sleeveless and lace). And even though the audience was small, and I regret not having more of an event, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Afterwards, we marveled at bees in the garden at the art museum. Truly magical.

This year we went to Solstice services at the church where we got married. Again, truly magical. And then we got sucked into the vortex of Christmas celebrations and travel and seeing people. So we’ll be on radio silence for a while. Wishing you and yours a merry New Year’s Eve and a happy and safe/sane/prosperous 2018 in case I can’t post before then.

 

Reading – The Dark Is Rising

Current reading: The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper. There’s a group of people reading it online (starting yesterday, chapter by chapter). There’s even a twitter group with hashtag #thedarkisreading started by Rob Macfarlane. I read the first chapter last night, on schedule, and found an odd effect of having read the book so many times before: it sparked layers of meaning and memories from childhood on. I know that the countryside in the UK looks very little like the land south of the Poconos. But… I’m back in Pennsylvania in an instant, in my kind of spooky room in the attic.  When I first read the book, I peopled the novel’s pages with people I met on a daily basis (one of my favorite GS leaders was a Menonite who wore slacks, and I thought of her when I first met Maggie in the book [awkward]) .

Rob’s Twitter feed says for those of us who read the book before: “what are your memories of that first reading? How old were you. When, what weather?” I read it in October, probably near 6th grade (so… 10 or 11?), and my first memories were wondering where the cascade of ‘wrongness’ began, because I missed many of the early signals in the first chapter. I assumed England got snow near Christmas (like home). For me, the first note of unease came from the static on the radio. And then there were the animals — and humans acting strangely.

Second chapter is tonight, and I’m likely to be following along and commenting on the Dovegrey Reader blog.

Holiday Knitting

ornamentandcardObviously I can’t show pics of finished items, although I might put some pics up on Ravelry before too long. I’ve been knitting a cotton and linen sampler neck wrap for a family member who gets cold under air conditioning. Lovely linen tape from a shop in Philadelphia called Hidden River Yarns, btw. I will try to get photos up soon, even if it’s just a closeup so you can see the stitch definition. I’ve been using stitches from the 365 Knitting Stitches a Year perpetual calendar, and it’s a fun project to test drive stitches for larger things. (Bramble stitch is great.)

In October, I knit a hat out of doubled laceweight yarn…. And I think it will fit a cousin. And then for the rest, it’s books or entertainment (for the kids), baked treats, or gift cards.

I found a kit I bought last summer for quilted Christmas stockings, and I think I need to put it away and just do the plain sewing projects I planned for November (the month is almost gone) in December.

So… how about you? Are you crafting this Christmas to avoid the lines and the mall and feeling like things are too commercial? Are you crafting to relieve stress after doing shopping and holiday prep? Or have you Cyber Mondayed everything (or decided not to do Christmas/Hannukah etc. or exchange presents)? It’s all legit.

Autumn ebbs

pumpkinAutumn arrives with October, rising then ebbing

Like a tidal river;

We watch the skies for rain, scan trees for turning leaves…

Worry about winter.

When, really… autumn continues to dance with summer,

Impishly backtracking

Until summer boils our brains, and autumn chills our bones.

 

 

Reading: Everything I Never Told You

Complicated family relationships, like a geometry lesson, or a tiny solar system that pulls and tugs itself around one event…. I’ve come late to this book about the Lee family. Celeste Ng‘s book was a NY Times Bestseller, but I’m glad I waited to read it until I was ready for its voice.

The beginning is quietly rough, and I found myself leaping to assumptions about character motivations, which in turn made me think about stereotyping behavior. The recurring ebb and flow of loss and return gave patterns to the book (misleading or moving the plot forward). And at the end, I was left with an idea about the “why” behind the build-up of actions. I felt like time continued to float out from the end of the book, and I could see in my mind’s eye where the characters would travel.

“Years from now, they will still be arranging the pieces they know, puzzling over her features, redrawing her outlines in their mind. Sure that they’ve got her right this time…”

I’m not ready for this quiet book to end. I can still hear the voices of Lydia, Marilyn, James, Heather, Nathaniel, and Jack. Any other readers out there wondering about future revelations and paths in their live(s)?

 

 


Flickr Photos

Archives

Advertisements