Words. Image. Connecting.
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.
Desperate for rain,
there’s a hush awaiting
Written in response to a prompt—the three words that appear in the title.
our lives pass through time’s windows,
trailed by light of memory
The pout of the petals at the closing of day
and glance of the glimmering light
as a cooling caress and a quickening breeze
blanket a late summer’s night.
. . .
written in response to this Three Word Wednesday prompt: caress, glance, pout.
islands or treetops
what may define them hidden
below fog and ground.
. . . 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?
The little featherball is back—shown here today in the rain at my window.
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?
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?
The blur of something flying past . . .
The blur of speeding by . . .
Gone in the blink of an eye.
Composed in response to the prompt “Blur” and to photos from today and earlier.
Another stanza from the lyrics of “Waters of March”.
“. . . É um passo, é uma ponte, é um sapo, é uma rã
É um resto de mato, na luz da manhã
São as águas de março fechando o verão
É a promessa de vida no teu coração . . .”
There is no translation, per se, of this stanza. The entire song, in fact, has a unique English version, written by the composer (Antônio Carlos Jobim) in trying to retain its lyrical qualities and theme.
On the right I posted a modified “Google Translate” version, followed by one commonly sung. The lyrics vary from artist to artist.
“. . . It’s the wind blowing free, it’s the end of a slope
It’s a beam, it’s a void, it’s a hunch, it’s a hope
And the riverbank talks of the waters of March
It’s the end of all strain, it’s the joy in your heart.”
Having excused myself from the a self-assigned trek into deep waters and woods, I ended up there anyway. That can happen when you let your mind wander. Here’s what I found (and jotted down in a notebook):
. mixing widely-assorted colors of paint turns into something dark, even black
. mixing assorted colors of light turns into something white
. one cannot put the paint into a spinner—a centrifuge—to somehow separate the colors again
. one can do this with pure light, by directing it into a prism!
One can find shared “poetry” in seeming contradictions.
Like the ambient sound of a gentle trickling creek
that we feel but don’t quite consciously hear,
the waters of March flow, sometimes splashing an awakening
to a feeling or thought, especially with the theme of loss and gain—
to finding a way to see it or feel it with a sense of acceptance and wonder, even joy.
You may sense that feeling when you see and hear composer “Tom” Jobim and Elis Regina (considered the best-ever performer of the song) during this studio recording.
More or less (or nothing) tomorrow . . .
perhaps again . . .
until then . . .
Note: Viewing this page on a PC displays the lyrics (top of page) full-size (tiny on mobile devices). I apologize for any inconvenience.
“A stick, a stone, It’s the end of the road,
It’s the rest of a stump, It’s a little alone . . . “
Those are the opening lines of “Waters of March”, a song I adopted as a prompt to respond to in writing during my time “camping along its waters”.
That was my intention.
I’m now checking my “tent”—something I thought I could imagine myself into—the state of mind of a camper or hiker—
someone who has packed lightly, only with provisions for survival and maybe a notebook, sketchbook or something to read,
free from distractions and excessive input that distance one from their internal springs of energy.
I look forward to this but . . . I may leave it aside for another time and just go take a walk with my camera . . . right where I am.
It turns out that one’s plans are often like the weather—clouds in the sky that don’t necessarily bring rain.
Incidentally, those rains, so much part of the inspiration for “Waters of March” have not been showing up—there’s a drought in Brazil (like here in California)!
Rain, drought, whatever the season brings . . . I will keep my plans packed and ready to go (some other time).
Did any of this make sense or sound familiar to you? I don’t often reveal the tosses and turns of my own life, but I do want to explore, as “Waters of March” does in a down-to-earth listing way, life’s wide range of everyday: stick, stone, thorn in the hand, on and on, all that it is—loss and gain—when seen in its entirety, taken with a sense of C’est la vie*, acceptance, wonder and joy.
*C’est la vie is a way of acknowledging something less than ideal that has to be accepted because “that’s just the way life is.”
Until next time,
(Coincidentally, “March” or “Março” in Portuguese is pronounced “marso”)
On this last day of March I wish to share my plan for a series of posts dedicated to the song “Waters of March”, or “Águas de Março” in its original Portuguese, a well-loved Brazilian song composed by Antonio Carlos Jobim.
I’m calling this little excursion “Camping along the Waters of March”.
Today’s writing prompt invites us to imagine—in the making of a film would you rather be a director, producer or lead performer.
Yes—many parts—as director, producer, performer (and writer) . . . ticket taker . . . popcorn maker . . . on and on.
Though the prompt is multiple-choice question, it inspires me to answer in another way—a way that acknowledges how we are at different capacities throughout our days . . . our lifetime.
We often have to serve several roles at the same time.
For example, as I sit here writing, I realize
the show (the rest of this day) must go on . . .
which means I must accommodate my other roles
and like a Medieval Shakespearean jester, juggle them!
. . . .
Thinking about it further:
One may hear an urgency and tenacity in “the show must go on” that says “Rise to the occasion. The curtain is going up! Never mind that you’ve never juggled those many hoops and balls—here’s another. And another.”
It’s surprising how many stay aloft for as long as they do.
Here is the complete passage from Shakespeare’s “As You Like It”:
We know an ephemeral raindrop won’t last . . .
but we somehow expect . . . take for granted . . .
the lake will remain.
Photos taken last year when Lagoon Valley Lake went dry. It came partially back during the late fall and winter rains, but we expect it to disappear again this summer. Will it come back in the fall? California is experiencing a drought. No one is taking it for granted.
In the water of what we are
from the vapor of our breath
to memory’s deep sea that we call self,
a fluid mix of currents warm and cold,
north, south, east and west of who we are,
we wonder . . .
what remains the same
in our vessel-ever-changing.
The photograph above: an ephemeral moment of movement—posted “as is” straight from the camera.
“My petite little sweet,” he said to his young daughter, checking her gear. “A chilly good morning, my glorious snowflake!” he called out as she feathered down the ski slope through powder snow, cold air and hot tears streaking across her face, a smile as wide as the hills.
Written in response to this Three Word Wednesday prompt.
Pain, annoyed at being
hushed and ignored,
sent another message.
Written in response to this Three Word Wednesday prompt.
Like early motion pictures,
slits of light through slats of fencing—
passing bicycle seen as if through glass.
press through planks,
and let one’s life appear intact.
Always in disrepair, this fence,
warped or in need of hammer
Tree branches growing through
splits and cracks—
living woods mingling with
Drafted in response to a prompt described here, seeking a “common thread” running through three separate pieces.
When a mirror reflects in a mirror,
does it see itself any clearer?
Reflecting on a search for answers.
Looking through layers, glass and light
one sees a pattern, presumes it right.
In checking the answer, one finds a curve
and wonders how it may serve or swerve.
Checking again, there’s an outline revealed,
something in front and something concealed.
Hold it, move it, turn it around,
will it then mean that the answer is found?
Lift it, shift it, does it then mean
one alters the answer to change what is seen?
A poem in nursery rhyme style, written in response to a prompt described here.
Every morning a spring,
its budding light says
“Pull back the curtain”!
Clear sky or hazy, look!
Horizons hinting of hopes
written by heart,
beating anew with every step
that promise spring rain
or just spring,
fragility softly nestled
on rugged shoulders
as one looks for home . . .
feeling at home all the while.
Post written in response to the prompt “Fresh” and the photos taken March 14, 2015.
A Place for Awe
A walk through trees in blossom and a writing prompt has me on a writer’s spree about nature, science and awe—its place in our lives.
I’m daydreaming an approach to teaching . . . about “Wizards of Awe”, bringing excitement into students’ minds, hearts, imagination . . . and dinner table conversations alight with sharing things newly noted as amazing about nature and science.
We are beguiled by technology, whether it’s in the form of medical advances or entertainment enhancers. Even if it’s simply an app, we have a how’d-they-do-that appreciation.
Yes, science is one place we can still find cheer, hope, even high expectations that we long for. Why, then, when discussing sciences must we segregate emotive language? After all, one hears mathematicians describe equations as “beautiful”. Why not?
Here’s an example of an integrated circuit manufactured these days. Who can look at this and not find it beautiful?
Imagine establishing a place for “awe” in classrooms and everyday life. Imagine hearing “Today class, we’re going to study lightning, lightning bugs and light bulbs. Isn’t it awesome how they all came to be”?
It may be a stretch of imagination to include the light bulb with things of nature, yet it’s the study and application of nature’s laws and components that brought us this and other inventions. As such, one could say that inventions come to us through nature, because inventors—we, biological beings—are things of nature!
Sense and Explanation
When people look at something man-made—a gadget, app, high rise or work of art—and say “Wow, what’s that—how is that?” they don’t really want an explanation regarding the manufacturing or artistic process. They are more likely expressing their delight.
What would it mean to hear this emotion expressed in classrooms, in the company of friends and family, and in our own minds when noting something of science or nature that lights a beacon of curiosity?
Imagine finding wonder even in things often taken for granted. Imagine people pausing to consider nature with a kind of awe in their facial and vocal expressions that’s usually given to the latest man-made gadget. Consider flowers, consider one’s own fingerprints! Will we express awe, even with a simple expression of “wow”? Or will we turn to dry textbook descriptions and explanations?
A culture that supports integrating wonderment with pursuit of knowledge will enrich itself and enhance individuals’ sense of beauty even in pages of a textbook.
Recently, while I was waiting in my orthopedic surgeon’s office, I studied a wall poster of the human hand. It struck me how perfect it was. Perfect! “How is that”? No need to send me an explanation—I’m only sharing a sense of awe. May there be a place for it in everyday life. Every day.
|Vinay Leo R. on Obedient, Raspy, Somber|
|Marso on Obedient, Raspy, Somber|
|Anonymous on Obedient, Raspy, Somber|
|Noortje Russel on poem untitled|
|Elle on poem untitled|
|Marso on poem untitled|
|Elle on poem untitled|
|Marso on Beautiful, desperate, hush|
|harrienijland on Beautiful, desperate, hush|
|Marso on Chilly, glorious, petite|