Saturday, August 07, 2010
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Saturday, March 08, 2008
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Hibiscus Sidewalk, for Sidewalk Saturday, by Mary Stebbins Taitt. I used to walk in the woods and wilds of Upstate NY, but now it's just these sidewalks. I get my nature fix from domestic plants like this hibiscus hanging over a fence.
PS, I will be away and incommunicado all next week--not that I post here or you comment here very often anyway, but if you leave a comment, I may not answer for a while!
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Monday, July 16, 2007
The Invisible Trail: Walking, Gunshots, my new Ericsson’s “First Light” and a note to my mum
It's dark. And hot. Cicada whirr, buzz and whine in the Norway maples and elms that line the streets and sidewalks. I was surprised to see such a abundance of large, perfect elms when I arrived here in Detroit. In Upstate NY, where I used to live, the Dutch elm disease has killed most of the large elms. I'd forgotten how much I admire elms, how graceful and "stately" they are.
Biker Buddy drove to the store to buy a back-up battery for my new Ericsson mobile companion computer. My 13-year-old son plays the piano—doing his practicing. He has achieved a level of skill that allows me to deeply appreciate and enjoy his playing. He will be going to Blue Lake Fine Arts Summer camp soon in voice and piano, a real honor. Meanwhile, I listen and smile.
The new computer is smooth, unblemished and perfect. It smells spicy and sweet, like male cologne. I touch it, run, my fingers over the satiny finish. Sniff it. Wonder if it smells like Matt, the English man from whom I bought the computer.
When my husband returns, we walk together up the street under the maples and elms, talking. The notes of my son's piano slowly fade. I can still see him in the window, his face golden in the lamplight, his finger moving rapidly over the kids, the intenseness of his concentration. Then that too is gone.
Instead, there are rabbits in the darkness. The hop ahead of us or off to the side, never very worried. I used to walk in the woods, alone. Now, I walk along a sidewalk, past the goldfish bowls of people's lives. In NY, people closed their curtains at night. Here, most people do not. Biker Buddy says it’s a wheeled society—no one expects you to be walking past at night. A different movie plays in each window, but we see only fragments and pay little attention. One thing that catches our attention, though: some rapid-fire gunshots when we are almost home. They worry me.
When I walked in the woods in upstate NY, I often heard gunshots. Deer hunters, bird hunters, foxhunters, small game hunters, target shooters. What is there to shoot here, I wonder, but other people? But no one screams, there is only silence. A car turns a corner and drives off. The streetlights lap the sidewalk. We go inside.
I reread these first words I have written and think of my mother. She died in January, and I wonder why the sudden pang of sadness and loss. And then I know. I used to share my journal entries with her, in the form of letters and notes, when she was alive. No one else cares what I have to say quite the way my mother did. I love you, Mum.
PS: I left the bunny dark--it was dark! I wanted it that way.
Friday, June 29, 2007
Saturday, March 03, 2007
Saturday, February 24, 2007
Saturday, February 10, 2007
Saturday, February 03, 2007
My "invisible trail" no longer winds through forest and woodland, through field and meadow, over stream and around pond--at least not most days. Most days, I walk along the city sidewalks where I am afraid to point my camera at the surrounding scenery, because the scenery belongs to the people whose yards I'm walking past. And paranoia runs high now because of terrorism. So I look down at the sidewalk, down at my feet, at the ice and snow and the petroglyphs of the city.
The bottom picture is calcium chloride, sprinkled like snow on the sidewalks to cut the ice.
I took these Friday. But I am posting them for Sidewalk Saturday. P365-07Ph
Thursday, January 18, 2007
I used to have a Psion and I walked through the woods and trails and wrote poems and stories and journal entries. Now, I walk the city sidewalks with no Psion to write poems on. I never wanted to live in a city, but I do. I can't photograph in people's yards--the get uptight if I point a camera toward their yard or worse yet, walk into it a step or two. So I have sidewalks. Squirrel tracks, handprints, old bandaids, melting ice. And lots lots more.
Monday, May 15, 2006
jo(e)'s invisible trail
I went to visit my poet friend, jo(e). She loves nature and poetry and is kind, generous loving and funny, always a joy to be with (and to read).
After warning me that her woods were full of mosquitoes, she asked if I wanted to walk in the woods behind her house. I did. Walking in nature is one of my favorite things to do. The sun was shining, and I couldn't wait to get out.
We headed out, across her back lawn, through the small field behind it and into the woods. I took her picture, walking in, because the long blades of grass echoed the vertical tree trunks and the trail was lush, spring-like and inviting.
It was also overgrown, but I didn't worry. jo(e) seemed to know where she was going. We talked and laughed and caught up on each other's activities and those of our children and families. We sat on the fallen trunk of a tree and talked until the mosquitoes drove us away, and then walked some more.
"The trails are a little overgrown," she said apologetically. I didn't mind. Then, later, "You probably wonder how I can find my way." Actually, I neither wondered nor worried. But her concern reminded me of a mutual friend who when we walked in the woods, often asked how I knew where I was going. My daughter asked me that once, and I wrote the poem that became the basis of this blog.
As I walked with jo(e), I could usually (but not always) see the hints of the trails that she was leading me on. And since I often tramp through the woods along old trails that are barely visible, I know the process. A number of things contribute to such way finding. There is body knowledge or kinesthetics. It's amazing how the body knows where to turn, duck and bend. And there are landmarks, and trail traces, the berm or ditches of old logging roads, the stream or pond or curve of the hill the invisible trail follows.
I felt at peace with jo(e). Comfortable. I trusted her completely, as I trust myself in the woods. I am writing this as I walk alone through rainy spring woods on another invisible trail. And our mutual friend? She too has since learned to navigate the invisible trail and to trust the woodswomen and men in her life.
jo(e) walks along a log in her woods. below
Thursday, March 30, 2006
Wednesday, March 29, 2006,3:57 PM 3R
I'm at my favorite "campground" (or "picnic area") at Beaver Skull Meadow at Three Rivers for my walk. It is sunny and in the 59s and I'm in my T-shirt.
I read my one prewalk poem about St. Dympha. I listen to the crows and the geese and study the aspen catkins. I hear the clicking of wood frogs, like little wooden motors. The moss on the trees is green. Very green. On the way here, I passed big piles of snow and considered a picture, but didn't stop.
The sun is warm and lazy and I'd like to loll about but I need to stay on task and get back to sorting or I'll never get out of the house.
I didn't even BRING a jacket; hope I don't regret that, the wind is cold.
There are piles of feathers where some bird was eaten. Pigeon feathers by the look of it and my guess is someone shot the pigeon and then something ate later.
Peeper, a din of them. Crow, little bluestem grass. I wanted to ask Sara about that picture near the osprey nest, about the little bluestem there, but I forgot
Someone has put out bird food and the chickadees are gorging on it. I get into a swampy spot and can't skirt it because of the multifloral rose. Rip, tear. I'd sprayed my shoes a little with silicone but not enough because I hate the smell.
I wish I could record that peeper din!
I won't hear it in Detroit!
I stop at the first beaver dam and take a few pictures, scenic ones but also beaver dung and beaver work. Yesterday I took what I think might be coyote dung bust haven't looked it up yet.
I wander around in the woods behind Beaver Skull Meadow, checking the trap lines as I do every spring for beaver and muskrat skulls. Raccoon skulls. I wonder if now that there's a market for them if they don't leave them behind. But then again, other years, I wouldn't find them, and then would discover a whole cache of them. Peepers and geese. Not so many wood frogs here, they tend to be in the woodland ponds.
It seems entirely unconscionable that I would be expected to live in a place without peepers and wood frogs.
In a place without woods, I think, looking around at the pines and hemlocks and maples. The oaks and blueberries. SIGH!
In he winter time, living in Detroit doesn't seem so bad, but in the spring, argh!
There is no one out here in these woods who expects me to dress up, wear makeup, carry a fancy handbag, attend events, or do anything else. And that's the way I like it. That's because there is no one out here at all except me and the geese and the frogs. The sun through the pines and the breeze.
That's the way I like it.
Of course, I love Keith and graham and want to be with them. I wish I could be here (or somewhere like this) during the day and with them at night.
Of course, it would always have to be spring or fall, warm but not hot. Why don't we live in heaven? Well, I'm not eager to DIE if that's what it takes.
4:51 PM, I am over in the Spiral Grove now. I took one picture of shadows and attempted two of a pitch pine, or what I think is a pitch pine, but they probably won't come out. I am only halfway through my walk and feeling heavy and awkward. I think of how badly I used to want to walk silently, like an Indian, and how loud I am now that my hips hurt and I'm heavy and tired and "old."
I wish I could lose weight, but though I rarely eat sweets or desserts, I can't seem to eat little enough to lose weight. I'm always hungry.
I'd like to go back and sit in the car and read and nap. I'm tired of walking. And I don't want to go back and work. But I need to push on and go home and work.
I still have to walk 22 more minutes. I wish I weren't so tired. I'm not on a trail and bushwhacking is hard work.
I guess I could just go walk down the ROAD. Wahn. "What a drag it is getting old."
I discover an area of the spiral grove where most of the tops are gone from the trees and lying on the ground, and I wonder why. I tend to think symbolically, since I see this as a sacred place, and the grove's demise an act of profound evil.
Like the little girl emissary who was killed in a place accident. The echthroi got her.
This was a true story, not fiction, that is, she really died I a plane crash.
Because she wrote a letter to Putin or whoever it was, I forget the details now.
I just remembered that our shooting gallery post for April is blurred in camera motion. Intentional, so I try a few shots. The forest as taken on a misty magical feel, though it is hard to capture in the camera.
I like the magical mystical misty look and feel of the forest and the way I feel in it. Peaceful, relaxed and happy like I don't feel sorting junk at home or trying to do taxes and other such. Of course, living in the woods year round is not very practical unless you're rich, because you still have to eat and buy land to live on and build the cabin and heat it and have medical insurance etc. If you were young, you could do it, but at 60 with issues, it'd be a little harder. Unless a skinny miracle occurred, I'd need electricity for my CPAP and how would Graham get to school?
I'm on the road now, headed back to the car. I noticed my shadow and grabbed a hip shot of it with the point and shoot. There's still a lot of snow along here.
In a way, when there's a bright sunny spring day, it seems really dumb to go in the woods and I ought to walk out to the ponds. The Sophie pond.
Not today but some other spring day before I move to Detroit. Oh, Sophie pond. No Sophie Pond in Detroit.
Don't get me wrong, I WANT to move to Detroit, I WANT to be with Keith, and Graham, but I just can't help feeling sad about leaving here.
It's also true that when I'm in Detroit, I rarely think about the Sophie Pond or Beaver Skull Meadow or the Spiral Grove. What I do long for though, is nature, wildness, open space. And in a way that Keith, much as he loves me, doesn't seem to fully understand. It's like nature is my "demon" (a la Lyra) or spirit guide without which I'm only half a person, like an empty shell. And Balduck Park and the cemeteries etc are nice, but not even Belle Isle is like being HERE, where there is no manmade structures, no houses or pavilions, no traffic (well, there is nearby traffic of sorts). This area is so vast. Belle Isle is nice and I like it, but it is somehow citified. You can see either Detroit or Windsor from almost everywhere.
I don't feel like I'm being very articulate. I just hope I don't shrivel up and die when I move to Detroit.
Even the Pinery, which is wonderful, is overcrowded with people.
I read my end-of-the-walk Patrick Lawler poem ("Georgia O'Keefe and the light touching the child") and prepare to go home and bite the bullet.
6:10 Home again, home again, jigity jig. There are mourning doves in the tree and I was going to try again to get them but the sun's setting so fast I don't think I can get out the camera and change the lens.
I take a shot and adjust, take a shot and adjust, and just when I get it the way I think I want it they fly. The beeping of the camera seemed to bother them.
The oil light is on on the car all the time and I'm afraid the car will blow up or die in the middle of crazy traffic and I'll get killed.