Category Archives: Uncategorized

Not a poem: fog

It’s fascinating how fog obscures some things and makes others visible.

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A cold Neoscona huddling in the center of her beautiful web.

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Same spider and web, different angle.

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A different smaller orb weaver in the back yard. (I didn’t get close enough to identify her because I didn’t want to disturb her, but she wasn’t large enough to be a Neoscona.)

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Another small (non-Neoscona) orb weaver’s web. This one swayed gently in the morning breeze like a lace curtain.

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I regret I didn’t get a shot of the neighbor’s lawn in deep shadow, with dozen’s of tangle webs like piles of diamond necklaces. I saw all manner of webs in trees and shrubs and lawns that I would never have seen on a clear morning.

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Not a poem

After weeks of what has felt like swirling around in the giant toilet bowl of life, there was yesterday: the closest I’ve been to a total solar eclipse. I gave my entire day over to it and annoyed everyone on Facebook by posting the whole time. Here’s a summary of the day:

First, I hooked my laptop up to the TV so I could watch the live stream from NASA on the big screen. There were more than a few production hiccups, but I don’t think any seriously geeky folk minded much.

Here was my own setup for watching the eclipse. The cat provided invaluable assistance, as always.

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After making sure everything was working, there was nothing to do but wait for the moon.

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The beginning!

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It may be hard to see, but a thin layer of cloud passed overhead.

About this time I had a sudden realization: why hadn’t I bought some Moon Pies and Sun Chips to snack on?

Ten minutes later, the clouds had moved on.

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Another ten minutes later.

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Real life eclipse disasters: when you’re so distracted you put too much water in the rice cooker. 😕

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The dog also helped with the eclipse watching.

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This was about fifteen minutes after the previous eclipse photo.

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More clouds passed through.

A friend on Facebook asked me where I was watching, to which I replied, “From my living room!”

Five minutes later.

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At this point, the sun was clearly shining outside but it had gotten dim enough that my daughter turned on a light so she could read.

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Getting close to the 95% of totality we were supposed to experience.

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This was it.

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I stepped outside. Everything was slightly dimmed, like I was wearing sunglasses. Except for human activity, everything was very still. The cicadas stopped singing and could hear crickets.

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Even the trees showed the eclipse.

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The cat got a little weird and started racing around like she sometimes does in the middle of the night.

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As the moon moved on, the day brightened back up to normal. The cicadas started ramping up again, and the crescent sun shadows cast by the leaves changed direction. That was curious and very interesting.

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My youngest sister has been visiting, and it was delightful to share another eclipse with her. Her recollections about watching the 1979 eclipse together were invaluable in setting up for this year. It’s the same telescope, which is kind of cool.

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And lots of love to my daughter, who gave up most of her afternoon to indulge me in my nerdy fangirlness.

Not poetry: swallowtail

I’ve been so busy with poetry and other stuff that I’ve neglected to post about what’s happening in the garden.

My lovage plant didn’t survive the winter, but it left a couple of self-sown offspring to be remembered by. I was delighted to discover this fellow on one of them last week:

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swallowtail larva in the open

I checked on him today, and he’s almost twice as large. He’s a little hard to see because of his excellent camouflage, but that’s a good thing: I don’t want him snapped up by the neighborhood robins or cardinals.

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swallowtail larva hidden

Holiday post: Santa whistle

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This charming fellow was the gift of a dear friend, who designed, hand-carved, and painted him. The windway (the place where you blow) is on the bottom and the window (the opening where the sound happens) is carved into the back. It produces a soft, clear tone. We always put this ornament somewhere prominent because just seeing it makes us happy.

Holiday post: Angel bell

As sometimes happens, I’ve been caught up in the activities of the season, the most recent of which was decorating. We spread our holiday decorating over the four weeks of Advent, so the final Sunday is very festive indeed. Part of the fun of decorating the tree is telling the stories of the ornaments, where each came from and what memories we associate with it.

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This little ceramic bell is one of three that hung on the trees of my childhood as far back as I can recall. I have two siblings (both sisters) so our things tended to occur in batches of three. I don’t remember how it came to us, but it seemed old to me even as a child, so I suspect it may have come from the household of a great (grandparents or aunt and uncle). It makes a sweet sound and remains one of my favorite ornaments from childhood.

November WriMo, Day 18

It’s (inter)National Novel Writing Month (iNaNoWriMo), though we all know I’m not working on a novel. But neither am I willing to pass up a chance to ride the wonderful wave of creative energy rolling across the globe and through my own amazing community. (Shout-out to all the beautiful Bluegrass writers!) So I’ve given myself four very different writing activities to work on this month and have been able to make time for at least one of them each day.

Today’s activity is blogging, inspired by this article on poetry by A.E. Stallings. I may have to print it and carry it with me for those awkward moments when I’m called upon to talk about what I do. (For the record, I often cop out by talking about editing, which is only slightly less deadly to conversation than poetry.) Stallings hits all the salient points, and I love him for it.

  • Poetry is not useful, yet it is everywhere.
  • It transcends us and will outlast us all in some recorded form, though who will care?
  • Poetry is commercially non-viable and materially irrelevant, which makes it rather suspect.

Poetry arises from paradox, from the multiple meanings a word or image can hold. It’s a linguistic version of certain mathematical equations which seem to describe separate realities happening all at once.

Anyone who doubts the subversive, contradictory, and disreputable power of poetry needs only consider this year’s Nobel prize award for literature. It doesn’t explain much, but it makes a fantastic illustration. (Kinda like poetry.)

A.E. Stallings, “Why Bother with Poetry?” Times Literary Supplement Online, 7 Nov 2016,
http://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/public/why-bother-with-poetry/.

The merry month of May

A small part of me is relieved to have official respite from the enforced discipline of the NaPoWriMo challenge, but I chiefly feel wistful that this most convenient excuse to put aside things other than writing has come to an end. Now I really do have to address all those deferred duties (ugh!), but I intend to maintain the daily habit of writing.

I will most certainly not post every day, though. It’s great motivation, but it’s not truly sustainable, either for me or for my readers. It stands to reason that I’ll continue to post regularly because I’ll continue to write regularly (this post grew out of my notes and reflections on the month’s activities), just not every day. You’re welcome. [wink]

Besides, I have other things to do during the month of May: welcome my eldest home from college, see my youngest through the end of her school year, teach a writing class (here’s a link if you’re interested), attend family graduation events, and…

…get ready for June, which is Lexington Poetry Month! Yes, my daily writing goal will get a nice boost from my local writing community. I plan to take part in that month-long writing challenge as well as various other poetic activities around town. Information on the 2016 celebration hasn’t been posted, but next week is the release party for the 2015 anthology, & Grace. (I’m ditching a Very Important Board Meeting to attend — shhh, don’t tell anyone!)

Stay tuned!