Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Kayak Carousel

I climbed out an upstairs window onto the front porch roof and entered "the upstairs outside". The heat from the black roof invited me to sit and I did, then the sun and the blue sky and the river reflecting it all insisted I stay and I did. The river was full and glistening and moving fast carrying with it bits and pieces of trees that have traveled far from where they once were rooted along the riverbank.

I heard voices from an upriver houseboat, male voices, two, talking in the warm weather kind of way. The voices came then left and in that place they left a dog barked and then it's echo came. Music drifted from the houseboat, little bits of it reached me the rest fell into the river and drifted by. It sounded like the music carousels' once played, a wonderland sound. Then drifting into sight was a kayak with a person in it just going with the flow of the river, no paddling going on. The kayaker sat stiff backed...very good posture. Then the river brought the scene closer and I saw that it was a log with a branch sticking up and on top of the branch was a crow and it flew up and in a beautiful way I was terribly wrong about the whole scene which made it all the more beautiful. The crow landed back on the branch and was joined by another and then they were zipping by with the current and the carousel music.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

My Sister Said....

My sister and grandsons walked through tall grass and over an electric fence and stared down at the 'after' of a calves birth. I had seen a dot of white from the house earlier in the day and asked Dean if it was a calf and he said he thought so then later we saw two bald eagles at that very spot. The calf walked off with it's mother Dean said. But I hadn't seen this and I know I can always take Dean at his word but I needed to see for myself why the eagles had scared off the vultures and were intent on something in the grass. Before I left the house to see we watched from the window a cow run at one of the eagles and chase it away. The cow turned back and ran at the other eagle which flew and then landed not far away. The cow went on it's way then. And that's when I went out into the field.

My sister said, I can't believe you are touching it. But I had to; this amazing mass of veins and sinew and clear fluid and coagulated blood, I wanted to feel it; this which rested in the middle section of a cow and in it life grew; life that a moment after it was born was up on it's feet.
My grandson touched it and with his camera took photos of it. My sister said she would have liked to have touched it but she wasn't brave enough, she said this after we were back at the house and telling the others.

It wasn't that I was braver I realized, it was because of the chickens; I don't want to be separated from what is so close to me. The soft warmth of the chicken's body that I feel through it's feathers, their breath I hear against my ear as one snuggles against my neck. I don't want to just look anymore I want to feel.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

They Want Yesterday Back

It's what I said when I looked out the window and saw the chickens in the rain. Yesterday was sunny and warm and they lingered in the sun as would beach combers in the middle of August. Then I saw what they were doing and I asked Dean, do worms come to the top when it rains? The answer was yes. So they get the rain but they get easy pickings at the worms. In the afternoons the chickens like some still time; time when they're 'in' verses being 'out' and it's in that still that that I've often sat with them in their run and with one or two of them in my lap. I love watching their eyes slowly close; from the bottom up; their eye lids close up and not down. I wonder if that is because the need to be on the alert for predators; is it hard to fall asleep when you eye lids have to go up instead of down. While watching the rain and the chickens and feeling surrounded (while inside my house, not there's) by limbs of the newly leafed out branches of the American Elm that wrap around the back corner of my house like arms...it was then while gazing up from my book, (which I'll mention in a moment because I have to tell you about this book) that I saw western tanager, beautiful little bird with a yellow body and a pink head and then there are the Eurasian collard doves, two of them...where is it they are so often in pairs?. When I was with the hens in their run listening to the rain pitting, quite harshly really, on the roof of their run I watched a hummingbird sticking it's tongue in the little blossoms on the small vine maple that is in their larger run; I've never noticed these blossoms before and I've never seen a hummingbird visiting the vine maple. I have to say that it's because of the chickens that I see so much more in my own backyard. Take the barn owl for instance that was sitting up in the large birch, who's branches reach over the large run, at dusk while I was watching the last chicken come in for the night. Just before I saw the owl I was thinking this is not a good idea for this chicken to be dallying along because this is just when owls are probably getting ready for their day and I look up in the tree and there it is and in walked the chicken over the threshold of the run and into her house. It's said that backyard chickens that free-range don't last long because of predators. I keep a watch out and did you know that a chicken has a warning call with two parts to it; the first part warns that a predator is coming by air and the part warns of a predator coming by land. And we think we know chickens...?
The book I'm re-reading and studying is "At The Root Of This Longing: Reconciling a spiritual hunger and a feminist thirst" by Carol Lee Flinders. The spiritual side says be silent, be last, loose the self; the feminist part of cries out...I've never had a voice what do you mean be silent and I'm always last, or think I should be so what do you mean that I'll evolve spiritually if i keep this up? Carol Lee Flinders is an amazing teacher and I identify with the feminist and spiritual dilemma. Though as I've discovered there is no dilemma when I realize that it's all about choice; choice is key here with a capital K. When I realize I have freedom of choice and that I'm not being forced into silence or solitude; when I know in my truest of hearts (I do possess hearts that are only half true)why I am doing what I am doing and that I have chosen my actions well then my life makes sense if not it's like I'm at an amusement park without a theme and there are mice and dogs and things, larger than life, skipping around having a great time while I wait in line to be scared when I'm already thinking things are not as they're supposed to be. Well enough of my rambling here. I've let the chickens out after their quiet time in their run and now they're spread around, fifteen feathered ones, choosing what direction they'll go in next!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Changed the hay in the chicken house. The hay is kept in Dean's shop, which he made quite plain when we put up the shop ten years ago that nothing but his tools would go in there...well, that was before the chickens and before the guy next door was going to burn some older hay...Dean made the decision that we'd take some of those bales off his hands and so well, he also made the decision, which was the only one where they would go. So now every time he heads over to the shop he's trailing at least half a dozen chickens who know where the hay is kept and love climbing up on the bales and having a good chat at the same time. Oh, the difference things are when they are our own ideas instead of ideas put upon us. And I understand this I really do...I mean if I would have said, Dean we have to have that hay and it has to go in your shop it would have been like swimming up stream in the Columbia with the snow melt of winter with an outgoing tide.

It's a sunny warm day and we are out mowing and trimming and things. I love days like this; I can think my life is almost perfect on day like this, which is a good thing but then I don't like feeling like I'm like the weather, changeable to the extent on not being rooted. Now having said that I'm thinking of the bamboo that we transplanted today; it was a small stand of bamboo, taken from a large, one of the large stands of bamboo and so the roots wouldn't wander Dean surrounded the roots of the bamboo with metal sheeting so the roots couldn't spread but oh it was not a happy bamboo it was bamboo in bondage and last summer it wilted and I'd water it. Today we moved it and it's a happy bamboo stand now and will grow so my point is the bamboo in wind; it bends over a lot; I mean like almost parallel to the ground so what I'm getting at is maybe what I'm calling 'changeable' is really flexible. Now if I were an old oak or one of the ancient sequoias (one almost three thousand years old by the way) I wouldn't bend at all; not my trunk, oh my branches could sway and my leaves make wonderful sounds rustling against on another but I'd be standing straight and unmoving and I have to say that is a reason I like old trees; they're sold they well rooted. So, I'm thinking maybe I'm like bamboo, which is not a tree but really a grass....so I'm tall grass that sways in the wind and doesn't break. Now bamboo that is not well rooted will die off if not watered in a dry summer. It would seem them that I'm talking about roots; being well rooted is a good thing. I do believe it is. Of course you could be a tree in a contained and then way you could be moved about without possibility of root damage but then you'd be contained, but not well grounded. Oh, the thought that tumbled through you mind on a day like this with cut grass between your toes and a little sun burn going on. Love to all who dared to have read this long!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Bird, Purple Sky and Apple Tree

With my cordless keyboard on my lap I have my window wide open and my legs feeling the slight breeze of late day. I have heard by voice and written in words that this time of day is one of the lonlinest: when day is ending and night has not yet come.

And to make the ache or longing of it that much more the sun, which has been held captive by the low clouds has now broke free so that the shades of greens in the Willapa Hills are saturated with the brilliant light and now as I write this a cloud to the west, to my left that I cannot see has taken away the sun from the fields but not the hills.

In the distant pasture there the grass is still brilliant but here I am in the shadow. My feet are bare and like being out. Light is spreading toward my window, nearer now and now closer and now...almost here, the light is moving like wave coming into shore...but it did not reach shore, the sun withdrew.

A red tail hawk sits on a fencpost and the humming birds are busy buzzing from tree limbs to feeders. Ahhhh...the wave has reached shore: the sun is here. The thin narrow leaves of the bamboo splash into an instant lighter yellow/green in the late day sun. I think if I wanted to I could measure many things by the bamboo, which is said to be a form of grass: isn't one thing just a form of another?

At twelve pm this afternoon I sitting on the steps of my deck, next to my little row of flowers that I've planted in some old wooden planter boxes, a great flock of greese flew overhead, heading in a north eastly direction. They were flying low not quite as low as yesterday. My eyes traces the dark of their wings against the slate sky. They were not one complete v but three or four smaller ones; chatting all the way as they do. Oh, what are you saying?

I remained sitting there and a long minute or two after they passedbye I was awed by a feather floating down in front of me almost with reach: I knelt on the grass and stuck out an arm as Pippie thought I'd gotten down to play. For a moment I couldn't see the feather all I could see was grass and then there is was and I picked it up and felt pure delight: I held between my fingers an under belly feather of one of THEM. It's maybe close to an inch long with fuzzy down, and at the fuller end of the feather there is hint of iridescent green.

A mourning dove is sitting on the highest branch of the dwarf apple tree. Though I saw a pair of doves earlier, in the black elm whose branches reach halfway across the deck and halfway across this upstairs window, (I feel almost that I am in a tree house) they seem to appear more often in the early mornings and at THIS time of day; the exit and entry time of day. I love their voice, how it rolls and grows and fades. It's a soothing sound. I'm not sure how they got their names; mourning doves.

The orange, yellow, purle , green and red windsock is twirling. The dove has not moved. I threw seed out this morning. It's why they come. The sky is purple above the Willapas I love that with the contrast of the green of the fields. The dove has left the apple tree and flown down to where I through the seed, now it's joined by the other. I wonder if they mate for life, or love the one they're with? Crows I see in pairs too.

A rufus jummingbird sits swinging on the bowed edge of a small branch on the black elm. Its red chest catches the sun and the spectrum of light is a marvel. A jay has joined the doves. My feet are cold though I love them being out sharing the wind, with bird, purple sky and apple tree.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Singing Streams

Swans flew high this morning and I opened the window to hear their distinct voices. Oh, what are they saying? To know would make me feel less like a foreigner in the natural world. Two nights ago Dean was burning some rags from the shop and I added on some twigs and willed the fire to continue: it smoldered into smoke. I went to the woodpile and feltched pieces of bark and splinters of wood and Dean in the meantime had gone back into the shop and added to the smoking little pile of dampt twigs, some wood ends.

We coaxed flames and then sat around the fire as the sky grew dark. A wolf called out from downriver, from one of the islands. It was a longer sound than I normally hear when they are nearby in the field: this was one long wail and again, I longed to understand the words. A large flock of geese flew over low and I could the wind in their wings and the pounding drops on the metal barn roof of their droppings.

I said to Dean, I wonder if we'll be blessed: to have their droppings dropon us. Dean said (hoping it would not happen)...it would make us feel in touch right. Right, I said and meant it. So afraid we are oftentimes of getting stuff on us. Yesterdays rain was not cold and I cut some branches full of springs blossoms to bring inside the house: it was Easter afterall. I did not wear a coat and didn't mind my hair getting wet and it was such a freedom to move freely in the rain instead of dodgeing it as if I could.

I not longer want to edge around things, I want to walk thorugh them. I don't want things divided in my life by good or bad, or desirable or not desirable: more than ever I want to feel the wholeness of life. No more eating banana nut bread and picking out the nuts.
Am I feeling this way because it is Spring? I know that winter over my shoulder moving away, while ahead are the warmer days and the bluer skies. I am come now to seek color inside my home, to bring the brightness in.

The earlier rain has stopped now and islands of blue are cast about in the sky; the sky an ocean of white and gray. The fields are green and the bamboo green with glows of yellow. I like that the bamboo refuses to loose its leaves in winter. And oh, it's bending ways while a winter wind blows, throwing them forward and then backward. The black elm is budding out with leaves, as is the locust in the front of the house. The leaves on the locust are minitures of the mature leaf; they are waxy and shine and in them I see the life of the tree in motion. I see a moment of the trees' life. This tree that is one hundred years old. How many leaves have grown and shed and grown again on this tree?

Dean went into Lowes and talked with a woman who works there and lives down the road from us a mile. She said they had bought goats to eat down their grass in the field because they are tired of mowing and we wondered if one of their goat could be the dead one. Dean did not ask. So there is a suggestion of where the goat might of have come from but I cannot see a goat walking on Willow Grove Rd and making it a mile. It must have dropped off the back of the truck that was delivering them if anything.

The sun is shinning now and crows are whirling in the air: off as they always seem to be, to some planned pace. A great blue heron, it's large wings easily moving it's light body through the air has sailed by, gone now out of view. Think of all the lives that are going on out of view.

Think of a stream that is not seen and the life of it going on, on and on. How it flows over and swirls around the smooth rocks on the bed of the stream. It's a comfort to know there are singing streams even when we dream.