Nasty, Purr, Kneel

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The nasty heat purred
as it rolled in the blazing sun,
forcing the grasses to kneel. 

 

 

How many of my short poems have been in response, it seems, to the drought here in California.  This one is also in response to the three words that appear in the title . . . and heat? Yes, heat.  This week some parts of  inland California experienced temperatures in the 100s (106F /41C ).

 

 

 
 

Lines seen, unseen

In a review of the 1993 film titled VISIONS OF LIGHT: THE ART OF CINEMATOGRAPHY (1993) Jerry Saravia wrote:

“What I learned was how important it was for cameramen to make their movie stars from the past look as beautiful as possible . . .  to be perfectly lit . . . and actresses, like Marlene Dietrich, would insist on certain cinematographers for the right look.”

During a recent close up photographic challenge, I experimented with a spoon which, though scratched, could look flawless. 

 

One thing for sure, photo challenges give an excuse to purposefully experiment and to enjoy seeing how others interpret and respond to the same prompt.
 

 

Sands of time . . .

Treeshells

Beachcombers know how something curled
in the curve of a cresting wave . . .
can come to rest ashore

where it’s found and held like a treasure.

 

Seashells of the tree 
pulled from  wind-blown branches
and cast to our feet . . . 

may look insignificant from a distance. 

However. . . seen close up, 

you notice its one-of-a-kind sculptural aspects.

 

For a few years I’ve collected what I call “treeshells”.   I collect them photographically when they’re still attached to the tree, and later when they appear beneath the tree and at my feet.

Here is a partial “gallery” arrangement of one collection (click the image for more details) . . .and another one taken outside (near the trees of origin):

Here’s a close-up of one section:

Each one is sculpturally interesting enough for an individual photograph. At the same time, it’s interesting to experiment with grouping them in display case.

I wish to thank my artist friend Michele, who very much encouraged me to continue this quietly-pursued interest.

In addition, I was energized to take these photos and set up this post after exchanging comments with the  artistic jewelry maker Gunilla Redelius at her Galeriaredelius post describing her own recent interest in tree bark.

 


This is the drought-tolerant and native California Pepper tree, a messy tree, always shedding leaves, twigs, peppers and curly bark.  I probably wouldn’t have planted it myself, but how glad I am it’s here!  This one is about 50 feet high and provides a gazebo-like shelter beneath it’s wide-canopy.

If you post any image of tree bark, please let include a link in the comments—I am curious to see different varieties.  
 

 

Inspiration: planet Earth

While seeing the new close-up views of distant Pluto, I’m at the same time thinking of the amazing access we have to views of our planet Earth like never before.

If our home planet doesn’t inspire wonder, set aside news headlines and enjoy seeing another perspective.

That’s what I enjoy about  Earth View  from Google Earth.  Every time you open a new tab, up pops a satellite image of someplace on planet earth. You can try to guess where or what it is and feel the wonder. The variety of things you’ll see is endless.

Unfortunately, you might find yourself opening up too many tabs!!

Here’s some screen saves:

 

If you click on the right hand corner icon where the name of the place is written, you’ll be taken to Google Earth  where you can zoom in and out to see yet more! Example:

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Do you know any other sites that offer unique views of our planet or other wonders?

 
 

 

Ice ‘n’ metrics

Thoughts of ice (during a heat wave) may have influenced how I picked this subject for a close up study yesterday.

The nature of ice required that I keep modifying my plans.

Plan A: photograph cracks in ice cubes (close up)

Plan B: photograph condensation on the glass

Plan C:  capture more ever-changing variants as the ice melts

Lesson: a reminding exercise in letting go—not holding so close to any plan or measure of what I envision my subject to be. Enjoy the bonus of the unexpected!

 

 

 

Reflect, tedious, waste

Receding lake waters at Lagoon Valley, California.

The remaining water will reflect
another tedious day of relentless blue,
a waste of every cloud’s invitation
to bring relief.


Another poem referring to the drought here in my home state, California, and in many places worldwide.

Written in response to a prompt of three words (appearing in the title).


Other posts to poems related to drought: Treasure in the Gold Rush State | Nothing for Granted | Beautiful, Desperate, Hush |  Obedient, Raspy, Somber.

 
 

Connecting halves

 

 


Noticing and responding anew to one’s surroundings when given a prompting word or concept reminds me of writing poetry.
Part of this week’s photo challenge was to consider dividing lines.

 

How often do we see the line that divides
as a cut across our straight-head point of view,
while missing how it connects both sides?



.

I shot these photos from the back seat of a car. Low-light, bumpy roads, and shooting through windshield glass challenged my focus! Nonetheless, they work with this week’s prompt  and with the words that came along in the process.

 

 

 

Half and half

Boring, dark, lonely

P2370846c planets

Not boring, just dark;

not lonely, just alone.


Written in response to the prompting
 three words in the title.   

I looked for a photo of a singular moon, a lone star or planet, but instead chose this recent photo of Venus and Jupiter, that offers a visual thought prompt regarding the concept of “alone” (as in each planet so alone, though appearing so near to one another).

The line “Not boring, just dark” may suggest how in these days of ubiquitous backlit screens, a dark screen could evoke a sense of “nothingness” or dead-battery boredom, when it in fact it’s “just dark”—something people were accustomed to and comfortable with (especially in the days before artificial lighting).

 
 

Queries to the Moon


Posing queries to the moon
in algorithmic poetry,
while finding measured points on a map
comparing distance in mind and minute
to addresses posted as equations
as we squint with new-moon pupils
at crescent key unlocking the sky,
awaiting its fullness.

 

 

 

This week’s prompting word is symbol.  My sense of time, place and passing is all carried symbolically by the moon.
      

 
 

 

 
 

Words: door to the visual

When you read or hear “he slammed the door and left” what kind of door do you see?

Is it wooden, approximately one meter (yard) wide, by two meters high?

That’s about what I imagined . . . initially.

Then I stepped outside to the parking lot.

Here’s to prompts that get us thinking outside the frame of our door!

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Aloof, Temporary, Whole

Obedient, Raspy, Somber

 grasses


Obedient to Nature’s call,
a raspy wind sweeps the landscape,
takes its breath away,
turns grasses from green to gold
in somber remembrance of rain. 

   

Written in response to two prompts—the three words that appear in the title, and this week’s photo challenge, Muse, in which we’re asked to consider and show a subject we keep returning to.  Besides lines and shadow, I most often return to leaves.  I never tire of the surprise I find in their variety—their shape, color, movement and what they “say” about time and season.  Leaves are my favorite muse.

I took this photo in my home state, California, still in its drought.  

 
 

Beautiful, desperate, hush

poem untitled

Closing light

afloat

Knock-knock. Who’s there?

 

. . . the American Bushtit !

I can now refer to its common name.  Notice minimus in its Latin name: Psaltriparus minimus.  I just saw one a minute ago—it looked like an adult—and its body was no larger than my thumb!

I don’t know the age of this one in the window, but several of these little birds appeared quite new to flying. Maybe they were just being acrobatic (as they are known to be).

One website referred to their coloring as “drab”!  Why use such a word? They more than make up for their monochrome coloring with their colorful personalities and antics—like playful tree monkeys leaping from branch to branch and hanging upside down.

I hope to post a mosaic of some of my favorite shots one of these days.

. . . 


Thanks to Julie, for identifying the bird.  She is studying bird photography in the field—very interesting!  I’m usually so far away to capture a clear shot of a bird. Being so near, just inches away, these little acrobats made it easier, except for how they were nearly always in motion. There were also many challenges to shooting through glass.

What’s your experience with bird (or through-the-glass) photography?

 

 

“Knockingbird”

The little featherball is back—shown here today in the rain at my window.

In reply to my inquiry yesterday, one blogger suggested this may be a  young Mockingbird, while another amusingly suggested it’s a “Nockingbird”.

As a consequence, in this new video clip of our feathered friend, I call it a “Knockingbird”. 

 . . .

By the way, can anyone look at these photos and not recall a pet who looked like this while asking for something . . . showing a posture and face that reaches our heart as they earnestly wait for us to respond?

 

 

Knock-knock Bird

Who is this just outside my window, about to knock?


Until I know its real name, see why (on my  video clip)  I call this a Knock-knock bird

It may help birders to know when and where this is: early April, Northern California, in a California Pepper tree.

Do you have any idea “who” this little 2-inch (5-centimeter) winger may be?  

 

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