Winter Walk

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Walk with me on a sunny January day in the Rocky Mountains.

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Contemplate a place to meditate next to the creek. Think of spring when iris blooms over the grave on the slope. Think of summer when you sway in the hammock strung between the trees.

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Spy on unwary quail that live beneath snow and branches.

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Discover a chickadee’s pantry where it has stashed seeds from your feeder.

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Let it show you how it cracks a black sunflower seed open for lunch.

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Wonder if it was a fox or cat that left its tracks along the creek, up the hill,

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beneath the pine, across the field, over the show covered chair, under the Elderberry brush,

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across the puddle (those are my show shoe tracks next to the animal trail), between strands of barbed wire,

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into the forest.

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Breathe deeply along the creek.

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Feel like you are being watched.

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Take your time knowing a pair of Red Breasted Nut Hatches.

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Catch a bubble and float away.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Optimistic

 

 

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Optimistic

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Juvenile Northern Goshawk on garden fence post with faded prayer flags

Should Disappointment, parent of Despair,
Strive for her son to seize my careless heart;
When, like a cloud, he sits upon the air,
Preparing on his spell-bound prey to dart:
Chase him away, sweet Hope, with visage bright,
And fright him as the morning frightens night!

from “To Hope” by John Keats

This post is my response to the Weekly Photo Challenge:  Optimitic. You can read Keat’s complete poem here. I’ve been observing birds at my garden for a long time. This immature Northern Goshawk has been a visitor for about a week. Winter is hard for wildlife. Consider the predator that must keep optimistic to spy and capture its meal.  A predator at my bird feeder is not necessarily a bad thing. An oportunist, it takes advantage when it can to locate food. Predators are a necessary part of the food chain, eliminating the weaker, slower, less alert prey and thereby strengthening the gene pool of the survivors and reducing their competition when scavenging their food. I root for the predator and I root for the prey. They teach me patience and hope.

(I’m not certain of this hawk’s identification but it’s the best I can do with the sitings and photos I’ve had available.)

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Telephoto lens make the hawk look like it’s closer to the feeder than it really is.
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Quail tracks in my garden. A covey lives beneath the mass of Elderberry and Wild Cherry and Wild Current bushes nearby.
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Quail are among several types of birds that are optimistic at my feeder. I use only black oil sunflower seeds.
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American Gold Finches rest in the Elderberry branches next to my garden, and very near the feeder.
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Look in the center near the pine trunk for the Red Breasted Nuthatch. I have only 1 pair of these just now, and I would intervene to save them. This daring little fool darted to the feeder for a seed even while the hawk was on the post. It brings one seed at a time back to the tree to eat.
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See the fox tracks trailing from the tree, around the snow mounded on the “giant hands chairs” and under the brush? Bigger tracks are probably from my dogs.

Last night a neighbor and my dogs alerted me to the likelihood a mountain lion or bob cat is prowling our neighborhood. I’ll see if I can find cat tracks today. The moon has been full for a few nights.

 

 

 

 

strike

Strike

Sudden blow     bundle of muscles and feathers

A swift  punch                   a severe and  unexpected calamity

How I wish to collide violently with myself

The shock of the strike                  the assault or unexpected injury

Impact with vehement feeling or expression

Shoved in my mouth

When an electric current passes through all or part of the body

a talon in the chest wall                 stammering heartbeat

to create strong internal stress

A claw in the heart          limp corpse in the hand

And what is myself without wings

A means or instrument of flight, travel, or progress

Will you collide violently with me

Will you inflict a harmful and obsessive influence on the mind

Shove my blood into your mouth

A bundle              unwrapped and uninvited

The shock            jar          impact                 

Collapse

Strong blow to the sense of decency

And I want to root for the Beast

For it must live by plunder

Taken by robbery, theft, or fraud

It knows no other way                   seized and devoured

 

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About this poem

This morning I heard a bird hit the window. I looked for it and saw this hawk tangled with its prey in the deer netting strung around my garden. My camera was upstairs in the loft. I got two quick shots, then ran downstairs to get closer. When it heard me on the deck it had recovered, was resting, and then alarmed by me it flew away into the pines with its prey. I can’t tell if it took a quail or jay until I snow shoe to the scene and look for feathers. A jay and a pair of nuthatches in the pine were telling me all about the excitement.

I opened my e-mail and read the Poem a Day sent from Poets.org. Today’s poem is a new format for me, it introduced me to invoking and intervening using dictionary definitions in the text. Definitions are set off in italics. The inspriration came to me from here.

The predator and the daily poem, they just seemed to belong together and so inspired me to create this composition.

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Look below the branch this nuthatch is on and left of the trunk. It’s mate is peeking out.

A mind of winter

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Nut Hatch Near Winter Nest, looking over its shoulder at mate in trunk

The Snow Man,

by Wallace Stevens

One must have a mind of winter to regard the frost and the boughs of the pine-trees crusted with snow;

and have been cold a long time to behold the junipers shagged with ice, the spruces rough in the distant glitter

of the January sun; and not to think of any misery in the sound of the wind, in the sound of a few leaves,

which is the sound of the land full of the same wind that is blowing in the same bare place

for the listener, who listens in the snow, and, nothing himself, beholds nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.

 

Emptiness; Not even nothing exists

When your spirit is not in the least clouded, then the clouds of bewilderment clear away, there is the true void. – (Masashi 1974, 95)

from Simple Zen, A Guide To Living Moment By Moment by C. Alexander Simpkins Ph. D. & Annellen Simpkins Ph. D.

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Flower Circle

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I’m intrigued by this flower image in a circle. I saw it often in Transylvania last summer. This plate hangs on the wall in the dining area next to our host’s fish pond. We stayed at a family inn, MamaCozonacilor Pensiune  in Bran.

This image is another in my series of photographs from Horror Writers Workshop Transylvania 2015 for the weekly photo challenge:  circle. The circle challenge is awakening my urge to create something in this shape. I’m thinking of the circular septic tank cover in my garden under a couple feet of show. I want to paint it. Later.

Previous images in the Circle series:

Circle Faces

Dracula’s Emblem in the Round

Julia Hasdeu’s Ghost Peers Through a Circle in the Wall

Circle faces

I study round faces I found on masks and dolls and puppets in Sighisoara and Brasov, Romania last summer. Circles form the basic shape and eyes, nose, cheeks, and chin. Even eyebrows indicate circles. It makes a happy feeling. I’m ready to create masks and dolls and puppets, characters. Starting with painting circles appears easy, but will it be so? This little fellow’s hair grows around his face in a complete circle. What an enigma. I saw this hanging on a wall in a gift shop, just the face, nothing more. I think it would be a suitable face for Baby Brother puppet in a Baba Yaga play I am considering directing.

child face 2

A bowl full of angels. So cheery! This artist has it down, the circles, the faces. I don’t want to copy, but I think it would be a good practice for me developing my own style, to let it flow and see where it takes me. I don’t have to make angels, maybe I’ll make witches or Yule Boys, those mischievious tomten-like brothers who lick your spoons and bowls and slam doors and peek at you through windows at Yule time. I’m happy to wander through the creative process. Painted faces, can they be as espressive as 3 dimensional sculpted ones?

angel dolls in bowl

So simple, yet so effective. I like the pipe cleaners for arms and legs, adorned with beads.

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Circle

Dracul’s emblem in the round

Draco symbol

This cirlular emblem represents the Order of Dracul. I found it mounted on the wall in the house where Vlad Tepes, or Dracula, was born in Sighisoara, a town in Trnasylvania, Romania. Vlad’s father was the first in the Dracul order. In Romania adding “a” at the end of the name indicates the son of the original member. Only the first son adds the “a” and thereafter all the decendents use the name that way. So Vlad was the second in the Dracul line.

History about Dracula is interesting. I learned about him in The Horror Writers Workshop, Transylvania last summer. If you like horror literature, or want to explore the genre and visit inspiring places for writers, I highly recommend you take the week long workshop. For me, it’s unforgettable.

In addition to his title of “Impaler,” Vlad was also known as “Dracula,” which means “son of the Dragon.” Originally, this title came about because his father (also named Vlad) belonged to the Order of the Dragon, an order formed by the Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund for the purpose of defeating the Turks. The elder Vlad used the dragon symbol on his coins and went by the name “Dracul” (“dragon” or “devil”). Hence the diminutive “-a” on his son’s name, Dracula. As the younger Vlad’s talent for torture became known, however, the name Dracula came to be interpreted more and more as the sinister “son of the devil.” Read more about Dracula’s history here.

I’ve long wondered why so many family emblems are shaped in circles. Obviously they fit well on coins. But consider the circle, a line that continues when its end meets its beginning. Life is a cycle, a circle. It’s not perfect and they say no circle is perfect either. Today I will draft an image contained within a circle. It might represent a family or an order, or it might just be a fun exploration with cirles. Perhaps I’ll go out in my field in snow shoes and stomp circles in the snow.

Today’s post is another photo in the Weekly Photo Challenge:   Circle

 

Julia Hasdeu’s Ghost peers through a circle in the wall

Julia Hasdeu Castle in Câmpina, Romania, is haunted by Julia’s spirit, but in harmless ways. Even today museum staff notice her presence.

Hasdeu peep hole 1

Julia’s spirit peered through this hole in the thick wall to communicate with her father. He constructed the castle after her death according to her instructions. She had only lived 18 years.

Hasdeu peep hole 2

I peeked through the circle into the spiritualism room where Julia’s communication had been recorded by  cultured mediums using automatic writing directed by Julia to her father.

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Circle