Bit Bit

And just like that, after painting Wood Duck last month, two have returned to the pond to paddle.  Not for long though, as our dog flushes them out and they wing up through cloudy skies, circling round and round to see whether we’re gone.  Every year they come from wherever they’ve been to shape a nest in the woods to lay eggs in; once hatched we’ll see the whole family paddling, ducklings behind mama and papa until dog gives chase and with a flap and a flurry, into the trees they go.

 

Is it winter as yet?  Sure smells, tastes, and feels like spring.  Three days of rain and the creek flows clearly sweet, burbling and gurgling.  The different sounds water makes as it meanders along is lovely; burbling and bouncing down over rocks, a trickle here, a gush there with a plop or two mixed into watersong.  These warm mornings we’ve been outside by the creek just looking at the water and listening, until a cackle of crows flies overhead and we look up to watch them go caaw caaw caawing, counting crows, and then it’s squatting on a rock over watery ripples.

Today, while the moon is still new and moving from the constellation of The Fish into The Ram, we had a second session sowing seeds in flats of soil.  Drew lines in crumbly dark soil with our fingers and pressed tiny rounds that’ll become cabbage, flat white grains holding tomatoes within, and gnarly knotty squarish bits pregnant with chard into the ‘rows’ and covered them up.  They germinate and grow slower than the kales and lettuces, zinnias and napas that’ll be sown later.  Outside, the first skunk cabbages are peeking out from under the leaves, mosses cover damp logs, and there’s blue green usnea on branches knocked down by rain.  Chickadees and juncos seem to like them, reminding us to gather carefully our medicine as it’s more than medicine for feathered folk, a delicate balance.

Watching what squirrels, chipmunks, birds, deer, and rabbit eat, amongst other woodland creatures, teaches a whole lot about the plant world, which while it’s readily available is also daily sustenance for more than us humans.  These mountains were once filled with ginseng, whose roots were part of chipmunks and squirrels diets, but have long since become a rarity from over harvesting . . . as it’s told, each of the ginseng hunters thought they were harvesting a little, but then they also thought they were the only ones to do so in ‘secret’ spots, until there’s now only a few plants remaining; slow growing as they are it’s to be seen whether they’ll ‘comeback’.  Same with mushrooms, often time it’s people from town who come hunting up the mountain where the lushness suggests enormous abundance.  They come and gather sacksfull, which they call a little bit, generously disclosing the locations of these bounty full places to their friends . . . in the ocean of so much, a sackful may be perceived as merely a little . . . open to interpretation, what one man calls ethical foraging may look like reckless hunting to another.

Often the eyes don’t perceive all the creatures that eat these foraged foods, easy to miss when gathering on a visit to spaces that aren’t home, but are home to others out of sight.  It’s kind of like going through a neighbourhood in another town, walking uninvited through someone’s garden who isn’t around, and digging out potato or echinacea, helping oneself to basil, mint, or cucumbers, just because, well they’re abundant and available and fill-in-the-blank as to the all-natural health benefits.  Of course we don’t do that on private property in neighbourhoods, yet in the absence of ownership and possession, we treat the wilderness as though it’s not also a neighbourhood to non-human residents who wander, scamper, and roam; as though it’s here, a free for all, for human pickings above all else.  It’s a funny paradox, the animal loving vegetarian who harvests sacksful of animal food for human consumption and resale without digging deeply into considering what impact this’ll have on the animals loved and the places of inhabitance.

There are the finest of threads in the forest reaching out in all directions, connecting above and below ground, extending and withdrawing, dropping, sticking, releasing, tip to tip, root to root, everything purposed, a symphony conducted by an invisible hand that is inclusive and inviting.  It welcomes and calls, come and be here too, sit, stand, skip, wander, gather, hunt, forage, pick, stay a while, refresh, rejuvenate, restore, sing along, the wilderness neighbourhood is open to all, only:: come with awareness, come with respect, come as a participant, come as a guest, don’t hold back, be free, come as children do, move rocks, branches, leaves, come and play  . . . while conducting in accord and resonance with place, and then, just like that everything falls into place.  Bit by bit.

 

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Birdhouse

We are a house of birds.  All spring and summer a family of starlings made their home outside a window, up in a hole under the eaves where a soffit fell out.  They’d fly to and fro with worms for their chicks, disappearing and reappearing from in and out the hole.  Later they’d hop out onto the cedar closeby and young starlings would make their first flights, cedar to tulip poplar and back again.  The cedar housed a hornets nest, bald faced, one year; but we are a birdhouse not a hornet house and so they stayed in nest beneath the boughs even when the windows were open.  A few sparrows have visited through those windows, they pecked at the kitchen floor before finding their way back outside, eventually.  Once a bat flew in, giving rise to pandemonium.  Unlike sparrows, who are welcome in our birdhouse, bats are not . . . the thought of a bat flying about at night, landing on my head, or worse, what if they went into my ear while I slept? My great-grandmother told that they folded up real tiny and enjoyed getting into one’s ears, though she also told that they’d get into hair and pull strands around themselves into a coccoon, Eeee!  We got the bat out with the use of sheets, and kept the windows closed at nights after that . . . now the starling abode is home to juncos, they’ve moved in for the winter, starlings long gone.  Winter’s arrived with snow and chickadees with shiny black heads, nuthatches, and cardinals.  They seem to like it here when it’s cold.  Up in the apple trees they peck at fruit, as well as usnea and lichen on the branches.  In the garden, they gather and peck at all the flower stalks we leave till spring comes around, zinnias, dock, marshmallow, goldenrod, echinacea.  We are a house of birds, imbibing as birds. Continue reading

surface deep:: black and white # 2

spawning
spawning

All eyes on the pond for a look at the forecast:: hmm, cloudy.  Though if you shift a little and look past the mirror there’s a whole world underneath that’s elusive and slippery, like the fish spawning so deceptively still in their love making huddle . .. . until you try catching one and then, ah *then*, there in lies the rub. Sometimes it takes attention to nuance and inflection to see past the shallows, where the threads of algae drift about.  Pond pond, what hold you there, are those fingers or are they your hair?  Tis glass.

~~~~~

images take shape

dancing below the water

above illusion wanes

~~~~~

emergence
emergence

 

how now! it’s warm yet the pond seems frozen

the ice must be layers deep

the snow has melted, gone on its way

why then is the ice still asleep?

 

the ice must be layers deep

lo! it cracks at the touch of a stick

why then is the ice still asleep?

what lies at the heart of the matter?

 

lo! it cracks at the touch of a stick

there’s something clotted and cold here stuck

what lies at the heart of the matter?

let’s dig through the leaves, the mud, and muck

 

there’s something clotted and cold here stuck

two frogs in the pipe have made their house

let’s dig through the leaves, the mud, and muck

the water flows freely once more

 

two frogs in the pipe have made their house

the snow has melted, gone on its way

the water flows freely once more

how now! it’s warm yet the pond seems frozen

 

Woodland Gnome invited me to join this photo challenge, her 2nd day can be enjoyed here. Be sure to take a look around her site when you visit, it holds treasures in unexpected ways and places.

I am inviting Narami of de monte y mar to join the black and white photo challenge today. She is in Puerto Rico and I sometimes participate in her Tuesdays of Texture, which is fun.  I hope she will join the challenge!

The rules are simple:

  1. On 5 consecutive days, create a post using either a past or recent photo in black and white.
  2. Each day invite another blogging friend to join in the fun.

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Five Poplars and a cabin

Five Poplars are ever so giving! The milled wood was beamed and planked and now the cabin frame is up this summer solstice! We’ve all been putting our helping hands to work with our neighbour and friend, building the little cabin together by the pond, which it’s my hope will be used as a schoolhouse in the coming months. Little Man drilled 200 plus screws to fix the floor down and was completely and happily busy with this endeavour when he wasn’t climbing from bottom to top, monkey eyes sparkling 🙂  It’s as yet incomplete but is open and airy and an extremely fun place to play before the walls, roof, and door are added; days of joy are spent here with baskets of toys and snacks toted to and from the main house.