Friday, January 30, 2009

Only in Snow: Fawn Tracks

This afternoon's view from the highway bridge down onto the snow-covered creek: fawn tracks. The snow-covered Divine property has many tracks, but this is a special photo taken from above looking down.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Snowstorm at Night

Snow last night and today made it nearly impossible to get out of here; I tried but the snow packed my tires like wet sugar. So I turned back and then couldn't get the car up the driveway without a shovel and cat litter. However, I did do it. Tonight stepped outside where snow was falling straight and fast and I could hear it like a whisper. I could also hear spinning tires as other folks around here tried to go places. With the floodlight on I saw bunny tracks. The photo shows my bird feeder strung from an oak. January is almost over. Yay.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Blizzards of Birds

Yesterday on my walk up the road I got caught in a noisy blizzard of robins whipping round and round in an aerial whirlpool. They were flocking. Today a flock of hundreds of European starlings AND robins, a mixed group, whirled up and settled in the trees and shrubs right outside the house, bleating and eating dried-out serviceberries plus bird seed. This is the best photo I got, because when I set foot outside to get better photos the birds up and streamed away. Awesome.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Frosty Morning

I'd dislike January if I didn't get divine gifts for my birthday, like this one: A frosty morning. I got a morning, imagine that. That's more than some have. One birthday I got a yellow-bellied sapsucker. Sometimes it IS all good.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Waterfall #4: The Double Waterfall

Usually hidden from view by greenery, this double waterfall on the property can be photographed only in winter. The water here has turned to ice.

Free Chives

Longing for the sight and taste of greenery this time of year, I am always delighted by the chive patches appearing in the lower, wetter parts of the woods during January thaw. Go find some. Use scissors to clip 'em and scissor them over your squash soup, potato soup, or carrots; sprinkle 'em over your omelets; chew on 'em and blow onion breath to gross-out your best friend, dig up a clump to plant in the herb garden. Keep clipping and using your chives or the plant overgrows and gets grassy.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Cut Hit Bit Shiver Sweat, Part 2

Don’t pee facing uphill.

If it’s Missouri, it’s poison ivy.

After a summer day outdoors, a long hot shower will only drive the ticks deeper into your groin.

Don’t park the car beneath a female Osage-Orange tree when it's dropping 7-ounce hard-shelled fruits.

If you sneak outside wearing only flip-flops, do it after delivery people are done for the day.

Never say, “Aw, it’s too warm for black ice. . .”

Don’t poke at a wasp’s nest with a broom handle.

Cut Hit Bit Shiver Sweat

Stepped on a rake once. The handle up and hit me in the face. Thank God no one saw me. I was 48 years old.

Anyone moving to the country in mid-life has to take the motto "Live and learn." You're going to get cut, scraped, sweaty, bitten. Ants will float in your coffee. I found a wasp drowned and ambered in my jar of honey. You'll slip and fall and be stupid. Live and learn.

A couple days after a flood I stepped up on what seemed like solid-packed creekside debris and fell through it up to my hips.

Stepped in quicksand (silica makes top-notch quicksand). It was like cookie dough and I couldn’t fix it to get one leg out so I could pull out the other one.

On a slick riverbank, fell backward into a bed of stinging nettle. Didn’t know what it was. Eight seconds later I figured it out.

Make sure guests don't park beneath the tree when the hickory nuts are dropping.

Clapped a fat huge four-inch tomato hornworm between two bricks. Thought I was being clever. It squirted 360 degrees all over creation including onto my glasses and mouth.

Oh, it don’t matter if that machete is a little too weighty for me and has a dull blade. . . .

Live here and learn.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

On Having No Bathtub

Among the few liabilities the Divine cabin has is no bathtub. A shower stall only. Been renting here since ‘01 and wouldn’t never bathe unless I called people up and say, “Can I take a bath in your bathtub?” or, once a year in winter, I reserve a motel off I-44, take a bath and watch their cable TV and use their high-speed Internet all night. It don’t get more decadent than that.

Haven’t yet found a old-fashioned zinc bathtub like in the picture, nor a modern galvanized washtub big enough to hold me. I’d heat the water on the stove. I'll do a lot for a bath, it does so much for me. It's a time-out. Softens the skin and hair. Softens up the spirit, too. And in winter it's one of two or three things that can get the chill out of your bones.

It’s only a very very close friend you can ask, “Uh – can I take a bath in your bathtub?” Two people I call for their bathtubs every couple of months are Demetrius and Hawkeye. They say they don't mind. I bring my own towels and stuff, and if I clean up my bathtub ring I am more than welcome.

Friday, January 2, 2009

January Stars

So I'm looking upward at burning winter stars and the pale stripe of the Milky Way running from east to west, right at the zenith, and I think to myself: "That's infinite creative power."

Lately I've been thinkin that I'm not all I should be, that I lack that last ounce of creative power that would put my work over the top. Well, that can't be. Because there's infinite creative power. If it's infinite, I can take some, or channel some, or ask or pray, or somehow get at it. More and more (I'm gettin' philosophical because another birthday is coming up) I see that I set and can break my own limitations.