TRIUMPH OF SPIRIT IN LOVE, NATURE & ART

Nature Photography

The Betrayal of the Young Ones of Today


When I was a Child…

When I was little I swore to myself that I would not be one of those grown-ups who told children “When I was a child, I walked 10 miles back and forth to school every day in all weather– blizzards and ice storms, and I carried 15 pounds of books on my back and I took care of my eight little sisters and brothers and such and such and such and such.”  But here I am, not telling it to my grandchildren, but worse, writing it in a blog post.  My excuse?   I feel almost an obligation to tell young people what they are missing and point the finger at the cause.  There seems to have been a fundamental shift in reality as we know it.  Maybe every generation feels this and that is why there are these older people going around saying: “When I was a child…”

When I was a child, I remember autumns so brisk you could feel the frost on your cheeks in October rather than a sun beating down 80 degrees in “unseasonably warm” weeks of extended summer.  I remember Thanksgivings so cold the grown-ups drank hot toddies at the Thanksgiving Day parade and we children would go home with frozen fingers and red cheeks and warm by the fire before the grand feast began. It was never 70 degrees in November or God forbid in December!! And I remember ice skating on a frozen pond in January and going home with toes so frozen they hurt when you put them near the radiator to warm up.  And swollen red fingers.  But the hurt felt good and the fresh air felt good and the icy cheeks felt good, for you knew you were really alive, with a keen mind and an invigoration that rivaled any cup of Frapaccino from Starbucks.  And I remember springs so cool you needed to have a spring coat or jacket.  Winter did not just stop one day and summer begin the next with 90 degree days in April.  My memories are precious and the young today may never know such memories in great thanks to Global Warming.  Now it is approaching  normal to have 70 degrees in November and 90 degrees in April.

And most of all when I was little I remember looking at the night sky and seeing a phantasmagoram of stars.  Some readers may remember 50 years ago looking up at the Sputnik passing overhead and they may recall the stars seeming brighter then.  They were.  Today thanks to light pollution we see “less than one per cent of what Galileo would have been able to see without a telescope” as David Owen writes in his recent article The Dark Side.  This light pollution is called “sky glow” and basically it means that because of air pollution the atmosphere is more reflective rather than being transparent making it harder to see the stars. 

Of course this brings up the outrage and perils of air pollution which clouds the skies night and day!!!

On top of that so much illumination from the earth has faded the stars above thanks to things called “glare bombs” which are light fixtures that spread light sideways right into our eyes.  Owen explains that the “eye adapts to the brightest thing in sight… when you have glare, the eye adapts to the glare, but then you can’t see anything darker.”  It has to do with the rods and cones in our eyes.  Rods are what allow us to see at night and cones give us color vision.  The rods are very sensitive and can take an hour to readjust to the dark after being exposed to a light.  The brighter the light, the longer it takes to adjust.  So we are making it harder to see with these bright light packs that Owen points out make it easier for crime to occur because it is harder for people to see in the dark areas.  This is why deer, who have superior night vision due to a greater concentration of rods, are blinded by headlights of cars.  It has nothing to do with their intelligence and again, like all of this, plenty to do with man’s so called “progress.”  And these light packs are so bright, Owen reckons they could probably be seen from earth with a hobbyist’s telescope if they were put on the moon.   He points out that in a “truly dark sky” one can see more shooting stars than one can count.  I have never seen a shooting star.  My husband saw one as a child in camp in Wisconsin.

“I need a place where I can see the stars,” my husband said when we decided to buy our renovated barn in Stanfordville.  And when we gaze at the night sky it sometimes takes our breath away and indeed on some nights we just stand outside gazing upwards speechless.  It is the “awe” factor and seeing ourselves within the perspective of the infinite.  But in the 5 years we have been here, the sky has become brighter and the stars harder to see.  Poughkeepsie is a bright glow on the horizon and just a few weeks ago some sort of electrical transformer was installed on our road with a piercing green light maybe one inch in diameter that illumines the road and the  whole front of our house at night.  My husband calls it “the green eye of Mordor.”  This light makes star gazing more difficult.

I mourn the frosty falls, the cold winters, the cool springs and the brilliant night sky.  But at least people of my generation have their memories.  The young people of today have been short-changed by my generation who have squandered nature.  The youth of today have grown up deprived of some of the most brilliant shows of natural beauty and variety in climate.  Global warming and pollution are the criminals here. They have robbed today’s children of some of life’s greatest treasures– treasures  that turn into warm memories, themselves treasures, of “When I was a child…”

Welcome to samples of my writing showcasing “Eye-locks and Other Fearsome Things.”  “Eye-locks” is a Bipolar/Asperger’s memoir in narrative form that describes the triumph of love over mental illness.


When the Snows Come


My husband and I sit in our living room with all the little still-intact dairy barn windows showing flakes falling as if we are on ship at sea in a snowfall.  Except for the high ceiling the living room has the feeling of a ship cabin, our converted dairy barn, and I think it is most beautiful when the snow is falling.

The glass doors at the pentagon of the far end of the barn gives us perfect view of the suet bird feeder.  We only feed the birds suet in winter because in summer a fat raccoon comes and eats the whole suet cake in one sitting.  The bird feeder in winter is our television.  We watch male cardinals, bright red in the stark white, feed and contend with the beautiful, bullying blue jays.  And the more modest and gentle little juncos and sparrows touch our hearts with their humility.

One winter, when the snow had covered the ground for a month or so and turned to solid ice we watched horrified as squirrels clawed at the feeder and fought with one another for a chance to feed making their shrill cries of territoriality.  That hasn’t happened since and we think the ground was too frozen for them to retrieve the nuts and such that they buried in the fall and they were fighting off starvation.

Waking up in the morning there is no need for a weather report as we see the snow piled high on the surrounding trees and we see the sky through the second story doorway in the barn where they used to bring hay inside, now a cathedral window in our bedroom. The thermometer in the former hay loft tells us how cold it is though we can feel how chill the air is. It is great to wake up to see the squirrels running along the limbs of the trees, cleaning off the heavy snow.  They seem friskiest just aftter a snowfall.

And if we are lucky and the snow is deep enough we get out our snow shoes and climb up the hill behind our little barn to what we were once told was a Christian Indian burial ground.  There are no markers left but the spot has the air of the sacred and it affords a small view of the Catskills in winter. High on the hill overlooking the valley, it seems a perfect place for a burial ground.  The snowfall makes it easier to walk the hill which in the summer is too full of saplings and underbrush to be able to walk the “meadow” as we call it.  We only get it brush hog mowed once a year.

Our property does not include the entire meadow but on our half of the meadow there is a squat fir tree there which provides a great shelter for deer in a storm and the deer love the meadow. There are a few blown over trees.  And as we snow shoe we see all kinds of animal tracks which we attempt to identify.  And animal shelters from the harsh elements.

Like many barns, ours was built near the road so we do get some traffic noise.  But in the meadow we are far removed from the road and its bustle.  And when it snows, it is so beautiful in the quiet, looking at the animal tracks and feeling the spirits in the graveyard.  Our secret little piece of Paradise.  And to stand there in the silence, in the virgin white, and see the abstract patterns of the snow on the surrounding hundreds of trees is divine.

Welcome to samples of my writing and art work showcasing “Eye-locks and Other Fearsome Things.”  “Eye-locks” is a Bipolar/Asperger’s memoir in narrative form that describes the triumph of love over mental illness.


BEINGS OF LIGHT


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December is my favorite time of year.  In this the month of darkness, in this the darkest month, the light of the human spirit shines forth in a fullness shown by so many, in so many ways.  As the days grow shorter in North America, houses and trees are decorated, and snow falls.  In the hushed silence of the nights, lights shine in windows, and the beauty is shared by passersby.  For this season of giving brings the festivals of lights: Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanza.  Each tradition incorporates light in its ceremonies and decorations.   

An animal friend who lived down the road, a donkey in his stable, reminded me of the story of another manger over 2000 years ago.  And seeing him snug in his stable with snow on the ground gave the illusion that all was right in the world.  But all was not well and all is not right now. Thousands know no peace in any season. Millions are cold and starving.  Racism and religious wars prevail.  Climate change advances in leaps and bounds, faster than most predicted.

Those who live closer to the land are especially blessed.  They share their lives with animals who are constant reminders of humility and simplicity in this rapid, complex, multi-tasking world. They can drive around on a December night and see houses covered in lights with illuminated trees, houses warmed by fires, imagining them filled with laughter and conversation and love, and feel blessed.  Blessed to have so much when others have so little.  Blessed to be able to celebrate as they wish when others cannot. 

Yet even those living in the worst conditions show the light of the human spirit and celebrate the season of light in personal ways.  For the human spirit is indomitable.

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Einstein said: “A human being is part of the whole, called by us the ‘Universe”– a part limited in time and space.  He experiences himself, his thoughts, and feelings, as something separated from the rest– a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.  This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us.  Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”  We are all cut from the same cloth and our inner light unites us.

In December’s darkness we light lights.  For we are beings of light.  A light glows within each one of us. And, at the most basic level, we are all beings of light because we are made from stardust.  Perhaps that is why the stars hold such majesty for us– we are all– Muslim, Christian, Jew, Hindu, Buddhist– whatever– we are all made from star material.

And in this holiday season we behold the night sky as Christians say shepherds did over two thousand years ago on the birth of the holy infant, in a stable like the one down the road. On that night they say a star lit the whole sky to guide the shepherds to the stable of the infant, Jesus, the son of God.   

In these deep, long, silent nights as we light our houses, our candles, our trees, let us look inside and try to find the glow that may guide us each, alone but intrinsically one, to the LIGHT!

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Welcome to samples of my writing and art work showcasing “Eye-locks and Other Fearsome Things.”  “Eye-locks” is a Bipolar/Asperger’s memoir in narrative form that describes the triumph of love over mental illness.


The Edge of Winter


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It is an overcast day.  Brightly colored birds stand out like jewels in the greyness.  The winter birds– jays and cardinals, juncos, black-capped chickadees, white-breasted nuthatches and downy woodpeckers flock to the bird feeder and it has to be filled up almost every day.  The red berries on the bushes are nearly all gone and the feeder is becoming a matter of survival.  On our walks we see empty nests held in the bare arms of winter trees.  An empty robin’s nest is filled with snow– the hatchlings and the mother long gone to fairer climes.  The trees are stripped down to their souls.  With ice storms they become tinkling chandeliers.  In the rain the few remaining dead leaves drip icy tear drops.

Occasionally a dove visits the feeder.  The chipmunk, who gathered scattered seeds under the feeder all fall, is not to be seen.  He must be in torpor in his den.  According to Bernd Heinrich in: The Winter World: the Ingenuity of Animal Survival, the eastern chipmunk builds a twelve foot storage system with a nest chamber some three feet down and a tunnel system which includes a food storage chamber.  Heinrich says chipmunks go in and out of torpor.  He reasons that they would not gather food if they were to be in torpor all winter long.  We will probably not see our chipmunk for the rest of the winter for, in his stuporous state, he would be easy prey.  However he can be roused to eat and venture outdoors if need be, especially in March when there still may be snow on the ground but mating season begins.

The grey squirrels are busy clearing snow from branches as they run along tree limbs.  On the ground they dig through the snow for the walnuts we watched them bury in the ground with their noses this fall.  They do not need to hibernate for they have food stores which they built up in the autumn and leafy, well-insulated nests.  The red squirrels survive winter by putting on a thick, insulating fur.

The back yard is a maze of tunnels.  We think they are deer mouse tunnels as many have tunneled their way into our house.  But they must get by the feral cat who sometimes waits out a snow storm under our deck.  In the woods, the occasional deer waits out the same storm under a squat fir tree.   The tracks in the snow tell the story of how they weathered a Nor’Easter.

Beneath the tracks in the snow, in the frozen leaf litter, the insect world is dormant.  Some hibernate.  Others fill their bodies with antifreeze, glycerol, to stay alive.  Heinrich talks about  woolly bears hibernating but they are also capable of freezing solid and surviving, coming to life again as they thaw in the spring.  The pupae, however, don’t survive being frozen. 

In Winter: an Ecological Handbook, authors, James C. Halfpenny, Elizabeth Besiot and Roy Douglas Ozonne, tell us that the reptiles and amphibians pick out a “microclimate for hibernation that does not freeze” for their winter, such as the “bottoms of ponds, streams, or deep in the ground.”

Our stream flows out back in the marsh under ice and snow and one can see the elongated bubbles of running water.  In the pond next door the turtles lay beneath the ice in their hibernacula.  At the end of the book, The Year of the Turtle, David M. Carroll, the naturalist, author and artist, has his watercolor of a spotted turtle hibernating.  This picture is hypnotic and in its spell, I think of all the animals hibernating beneath our feet in lugubrious gloom.  It reminds me of the penguins in the film, The March of the Penguins, in the dead of an Antarctic winter, huddled together for warmth in the harsh, strong winds and snow, taking turns being on the outside of the huddle.  Winter can be magnificent in its transformations yet tragic in its harshness: hibernating animals who freeze to death and deer starving to death in the snow among the victims of its violence.

Carroll’s drawing shows the turtle all alone, withdrawn into its shell under less than two feet of water lodged firmly in the mud under ice under snow in a sunny winter’s day, a far better clime than the penguin’s–  and yet it evokes a certain sadness for this little creature all alone beneath the snow, in a torpid state.  The turtle is missing out on a sunny day, sleeping a deep sleep in a “half year of stillness.”

Carroll’s writing is sheer poetry as he describes the turtle’s hibernation: “Mounting layers of snow silently cover the ice.  Night after night in the harshest depth of winter, as Orion and the Pleiades burn distant and brilliant in the black sky and strong winds howl off the mountain to the northwest, the turtles rest beneath the ice.  With the life in them nearly suspended, reduced to its most tenuous hold, all but extinct in the vast, inhospitable regime that reaches above them to the limits of the universe, they lie within their shells, waiting for the earth to make its required turnings and return them to the sun that will awaken them to another season.” 

I think of the turtles below, along with all the other beautiful creatures.   I wish them a kind sleep from which they will safely stir with the life force surging through their veins as the sun brings them to the fullness of life again.  The death of some, and the half life of so many, proffers the poignancy of winter.

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Welcome to samples of my writing and art work showcasing “Eye-locks and Other Fearsome Things.”  “Eye-locks” is a Bipolar/Asperger’s memoir in narrative form that describes the triumph of love over mental illness.



The Trees of Late Fall & the Promise of Winter


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Bontecou Lake Swamp, Millbrook, New York

Every year what budded in autumn blossoms full blown in the weeks before official winter– my love affair with trees. Trees that were drop-dead gorgeous in their fall colors are now bare, with the exception of evergreens and a few stray deciduous trees that refuse to relinquish their leaves. Now the trees are stripped down to their souls and their souls sing a siren song to the universe.

The tops of trees lift my spirit; brushlike they paint the sky the baby pinks and blues of mornings, and the majestic magentas and violets of day’s end. Each tree has its signature shape against the sky, like a fingerprint or a snowflake, similar yet each unique. Some treetops in their bare state are shaped like a fancy coiffure; others look like wrought iron filigree. On distant mountains, against the snowy ground, some look like stubble on an old man’s unshaven face.

It is the cold, colorful pre-winter sky showing through, and showing off, the bare branches that woos me. The bare curvaceous branches are stark, dark lines against the bright of day and the inky sky of night. These resplendent creatures are living lines that explode. Branches tangle like the lines in a Jackson Pollock painting. Others curve in the sensuous lines of a Brancusi sculpture. Buxom tree trunks stand strong surrounded by their colorful, dead blossoms amid the ground cover and their burgeoning berries, the offspring of a Renaissance Madonna. In truth these trees are not like art at all. Rather art imitates them– their beauty provides the timeless inspiration for artists, writers and poets of all ages and styles.

Trees not only inspire, they themselves are paragons of diversity. One look out of a car window while driving on the Taconic and one can see squat pines alongside towering majestic firs, birches interspersed with maple and oak. And together the different brown and tan barks interspersed with evergreens create not only a mosaic of contrasting colors, but display an example to inspire humans to live together in peaceful unity.

These beneficent beings carry the heavy, dark grey clouds of winter. When it snows the tree trunks become canvases for the abstract patterns of windblown-snow, while the serpentine branches are outlined in white. In ice storms their branches become chandeliers, each enveloped in glassine ice. While in the melancholy of a winter rain, the branches become oiled skins of snakes weeping to the ground below. And finally, in the night sky, the branches hold the stars in their arms, those with leaves holding them in their hands, as they nurse the moon.

All trees, no matter what their species, age or height, stand tall in proud humility, their arms reaching up to the Heavens to our Creator in prayer– soft-spoken beings of peace and tranquility towering over us, while we wee, little creatures race around distractedly below.

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Hammond Road, Millbrook, NY


Electrified, Giggling Flowers, Talking Trees, and Thanksgiving


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Mom told me one day why Dad’s African Violet plants in his office flourished.  “He talks to them,” she said.  “He teases them and tells them jokes.”  That was very Dad.  Once, on a trip to Gloucester, we sat eating breakfast and were admiring a rowboat on the front lawn, planted full to the brim with pansies.  Suddenly it began to rain.  Big drops fell on the pansies and my father insisted he could hear the pansies giggling.  It was then, I think, I thought about the interesting connection my father had with flowers.  Mr. Macho Dad had a soft spot for the flowering plants, well, more than a soft spot, a communication.
 
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He wasn’t the only one who spoke of these things.  I spent much time in grammar school at the house of my Polish friend whose mother was an artist.  She told us about trees talking and, she used to say, talking to them made her feel happy.  At the time I did not think much of it.  But now, many years later, on walks, occasionally a tree will say something.  Utter a benevolent greeting.  And now, I find myself so in love with trees, I shoot portraits of them constantly, singly or in groups, with their “friends and relations.” 

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Any doubts I had about trees communicating were put to rest when I read in J.Gordon Douglas’s column in the now defunct Dutchess CountyRegister Herald, about how trees in an area communicate with one another in planning their reproduction strategies for the season or warning each other chemically about caterpillar infestations.  Scientists are not sure how.  Maybe through the roots.

Not only do plants have feelings, they can also generate energy.  See the website by artist, Caleb Charland.  He used apple trees to generate light.  Perhaps one day we will use plants for alternative energy– just another amazing aspect to nature’s ways:

http://www.fastcoexist.com/1680497/turning-apples-into-alternative-energy-and-surreal-photographs?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=pulsenews#comments

Of course, hearing them “talk” is a little different.  However, Valerie Wormwood, one of the world’s leading aromatherapists, in her book entitled The Fragrant Heavens, tells us not only does the earth hum but it emits a low frequency radio signal known as the ‘Shumann resonance” and this signal can be detected coming off trees. She relays that researchers in America wanted to know if this signal could be altered by human thoughts or feelings.  They had a group of people circle a tree and say Native American prayers, sending the tree love.  They attached electrodes like those measuring human brain waves to the tree. A response not only registered but the sensors went off the scale.  Clearly some form of communication went on, confirming my Polish friend’s mother’s belief and many others as well. When trees are cut down we are not only destroying the tree we are cutting down and giving it a terminal sentence as firewood or worse, but we are also upsetting all the trees around the “victim.”  The surrounding trees must witness their friend and neighbor being chopped down.  Do they feel outrage, fear, sadness?

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We do know now that they feel something.  Wormwood tell us that in 1966 Cleve Backster, a lie detector expert in New York, had a group of students go into a room with 2 plants next to each other on a table.  One of the 6 students was chosen to “murder” one of the plants, hacking it to bits and then they all left the room.  After the attack Backster attached the lie detector to the “survivor” and had the students enter the room again one by one.  The sensors were quiet as the “innocent” students entered but when the “attacker” entered they started jumping “wildly.”  I think of this as I weed the gardens in the summer. Sometimes we are forced to cut down a tree and we must pick vegetables to eat.  And we have to weed the gardens.  But perhaps it is in how we do it.  If we can express gratitude and appreciation and maybe an apology.  Or if we could ask permission perhaps, as the Native Americans do.  When they take from the earth they give an offering as well. 

The Native Americans had the real idea for giving thanks, for thanksgiving.  It was not about stuffing oneself with sweet potatoes and gorging on gravy and turkey.  They gave Thanksgiving to Spirit in the earth, in the trees, in the animals, for whatever they took. Flowers “giggle” and trees “talk”.  If only we would be attuned enough to listen.  Sentient beings surround us and we must follow the lead of the Native Americans at Thanksgiving and give thanks for what we take from the earth, and, of course, from the animal kingdom, and give back something in return.  Even if it is only words, but words with heart behind them, words that understand the sacrifice made by sentient beings for us, words that capture the true spirit of Thanksgiving.

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HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO THOSE WHO CELEBRATE THANKSGIVING AND HAPPY AUTUMN TO THOSE WHO DON’T!


Autumn in the Quarry in Millbrook, NY


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Autumn Next Door in Millbrook, NY

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Autumn in our Front Yard, Millbrook, NY

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Millbrook in Autumn– from Realism to Abstraction


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Leaves Falling


 

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Autumn Memories


Millbrook, NY “Cool Change” by Little River Band

Septuagenarian Love


Waking to your touch
electric eels
massive
healing hands
without a glint
of sexuality
Waking to your smile
whispers sweetly
to my soul
like the first time
so long ago
on our first flight
together
when your arm
brushed against mine
and shook our worlds
out of their solitary
orbits and
sent us to the moon.

Your grey fluffy hair
sparkling silver threads
entices every time
I sniff your fragrance
and inhale the heavens
the warmth
of your cheeks
in our fleeting
embrace
I would it
would last forever
like our love

The smile lines etched
around your sky blues
alter the pulse
the course of my blood
and with each glance
reach for the stars
twinkling inside my head

The wrinkles in your cheeks
and your furrowed brow
pluck at the strings
inside my bosom
for I know the hard times
and worries that
engraved them on your face

On the doorway
to Orpheus
in pillowed embrace
your big hand
holds mine
and makes me
feel safe and loved
and little
as you drift off
leaving me wishing
for morning
to awaken once
more to you
fears tears
so long to wait
till morning

We are old
How did this happen?
and we are in love
more than ever
youthful passion gone
replaced by years of fidelity
affection, quarrels, laughing,
teasing, crying
always sharing, caring
yet attraction still stirs
and the years of together
have sewn our souls to one

Loss is inevitable
and unacceptable
In equal measure
The God I used to find
in nature
I now find in you
And the ecstasis
of gazing at the sky
now rests with the mystery
of you!!

Happy Birthday to the love of my lifetimes!! May your 70’s be healthy and happy and filled with ever blossoming love💖🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏💖


Turtle Tears


It is before dawn on a moonlit night.  The moon has swept the trees and grass in silver.  I await the sun.  The moon wakes me to whisper about the silent beauty of the predawn hours.  The yard is white magic and I imagine a monarch butterfly now sleeping,  awaken to find a turtle to drink its tears. Monarch butterflies drink turtle tears.  Why are the turtles crying? They cry for the ailing earth.  They cry for those who suffer.  They cry for the dying.   They cry for those striving to become one with all.  They cry for the sap in the trees flowing.  They cry for the animals who are constantly on guard for their lives.  They cry for the bird egg which will not ever hatch.  They cry for the dying stars in an ever expanding universe.  They cry for the unawareness of the high and mighty.  Turtle tears are like diamonds sparkling in candlelight. like dew drops on a drooping Lily of the Valley.  Come now to drink my tears, dear Monarch.  Your beauty gladdens my heart.  Your heart drops manna from the heavens into my soul.  Come now, dear Monarch.  Come lick the dew drops in my eyes. 


Que Bella



My Cathedral


Another reblog…

MOONSIDE

The wilderness
is my cathedral
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The sky
my steeple
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The trees
my buttresses
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Hay bales
my statuary
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Flowers
my stained glass
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A babbling brook
my organ
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Frogs and toads
my choir
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Fields of wildflowers
my incense
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Thunder storms
my high mass
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A very diverse congregation…

From cows

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to snails and turtles

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to gazillions
of insects

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Deer sometimes come round

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Butterflies abound

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Moths, too

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Birds of every hue

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All that’s missing is you

but you worship your own way

doing charity every day

more than I can say

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Informal art show


An informal art show of photographs and photographs of original paintings before they go as a donation hopefully.


The Spirit of Snow


The Spirit of snow

highlights the love of line

the loving grace of trees in winter

bare and spiritual

the horses a gift of color

in otherwise black and white


What the Trees Say


Feather trees whisper a blessed new year to you all!


Circle of Life



A Welcome to Fall



Spirit in Summer


Summer spirit

whispers to

the lowly weeds

dances round

the graceful trees

and sends peace

to pacify

an observant cow

 

 


The Breath of Love


 

Until I can connect with my Muse again and develop a New York City aesthetic that connects with Spirit I rely on revising old writing and photographs…

I awaken to moonlight– it is at that particular slant that lights up the front yard at 3 AM.  What really has awakened me is my husband’s breathing.  It is labored like he has just run up a flight of stairs.  At times I awaken because I do not hear his breath and some alarm goes off in my head to check him.  And if I can not hear him breathing I put my hand lightly on his chest so as not to wake him to see if I can feel the his heart beating.  Feeling it pulsing in my hand I am reassured once more.  I am not alone in this.  My sister-in-law confides in me that she wakes up at night to listen to my brother to see if he is still breathing.  My first-grade friend says much the same.  She does a breathing check on her husband.  Our husbands are relatively well.  They have diabetes, heavy smoking and drinking, a delicate frame among them, but they are not on death’s door so far as we know.  And yet we are plagued by morbid fears.

In the wee hours of morning fears loom large.  My husband’s heartbeat, a mere flutter, seems so delicate.  I am reassured that it is beating just as I am reassured that he is breathing.  But the breath itself is so fragile.  It scares me awe-fully– the fragility of the breath, the fine line between breathing and cessation of breath.

I prowl the house.  Through the skylight the stars beam brightly along with a shining half moon.  A clear day tomorrow.  But it is already tomorrow.  It is so still my ears hum.  My husband, who knows so many interesting things, tells me the humming I hear is the sound of the nervous system.  Our bodies hold such mystery.

I look out the window, now hearing my neighbor’s dogs barking quietly.  I look for coyote thinking that is what they are barking at, but see nothing.  The moonlit grass on the lawn is whitish silver, looking almost as if it had snowed, and the water in the marsh sparkles in the moonlight.  The deep woods behind are pitch dark, the home of many a creature. Nothing stirs.  It is too early for the birds.  The house across the way is always dark; it is up for sale.  And in the other direction, at this hour, no lights shine in the driveway of the house down the road.

I am reminded of a line from a poem by Tagore “Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark.”  I am at my most faithless at 3 AM.

Along with the supreme beauty of Tagore’s thoughts, a frivolous line from an old song runs through my head: “There ought to be a moonlight savings time…” and the line continues so there would be more time for loving.  But moonlight in the middle of the night also brings with it intense dreads.

Now chilled I finally go back to bed. An owl hoots in the distance– a reassuring sound.  My husband is breathing freely now.  His body is warm in the bed and I am filled with love for him as he lays in a heap, so trustingly in the arms of sleep.  Our marriage a wonder.  Unexpected.  An endless source of ever increasing love brimming not only with joy but also the dread of loss.  Perhaps all wives check their husbands for breathing.  Perhaps there is an army of women out there prowling the wee hours of the night, at times by moonlight, checking on their husbands, their children, their animals to see that they all have that breath of life flowing.

“There is one way of breathing that is shameful and constricted. Then, there’s another way: a breath of love that takes you all the way to infinity.”  Rumi said that.  And it is breath of love that I must master.

 

 


Last Snows/Millbrook/New York City


 


Flitting and Flirting on a Flower


Butterflies mating
on a flower petal bed
The perfume of love
in a plethora of hues
Fleeting moments
of life
of the present
past in a blink
of the eye
or the flutter
of a butterfly wing.