Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

An overnight visit from my nephew and family culminated at the Chattanooga Aquarium.

My niece-in-law noticed the butterfly release time, and we headed straight to the top of the building.  A man opened a small box holding fluttering jewels, took them by their closed wings and offered them to us for release.  

The girls didn't want any butterflies.

But their parents did.  These are hands I love.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Fly Tying

My great-nephew shows off his first effort at fly tying.  I have encouraged this activity, with a Christmas gift card to his local fly shop, where I suspect he and his father have already been.
Next spring and summer, when I stalk dragonflies and damselflies at the ponds and lakes, I shall think of C and the beautiful trout he stalks with flies mimicking the very insects in my frame.

I shall love them all.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Scratching That Itch

Blue sky scudded (a trite term but true today) with fish scale clouds.  I went out to scratch the itch, two-fisting my cameras, and found someone else had been there first.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Light as a Feather

On Christmas, a Canada Goose family paddled Lake Gregg, their color-block-style feathers providing formal attire for dull weather.  I assume they were warm in the cold water on the cold day, as I sleep winter nights under a goose down comforter, head resting on pillows stuffed with goose down.
Right now, as I type this post (aimlessly paddling the keyboard and screen for a throughline), an unexpected Christmas gift hangs from my tensor light: a glass orb filled with soft tawny feathers.  When I first saw them, I thought "guineafowl," not so much because I am familiar with many of the living species (though I have seen them and tried to walk among them), but because a folk artist has made their "eyes" so familiar.
Guineafowl make great watch "dogs," I am told, because they are loud and fluttery.  Geese are pests, I am told, because they soil new mown grass with abandon.  Both are also beautiful, I know, and now they conflate in my mind because of the coincidence of a gift and a sighting.

I went again to Lake Gregg today, but the geese were gone.  Coupled for life and model parents, they provide the kind of feathered nest people might long for: attentive care of doting adults.  Just watch a gosling ride the wake of a parent's stroke, and you'll know what I mean.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Year-end Review

Everyone has favorites, including me.  After looking through and agonizing over my 2011 photographs, these still move me.

Piggly Wiggly parking lot, Monteagle

Convocation Hall

Question Mark butterfly at water's edge, Lake Cheston dam

Pink dogwood on Mikell Lane

Assassin bug nymph on car hood, Lake Cheston

Eastern Amberwing with mites, Lake Dimmick

 Blue Dasher at Lake Cheston

 Dewy female Calico Pennant, Lake Cheston

Autumn Meadowhawk at Lake Cheston

Gulf Fritillary caterpillar at the Community Gardens

 Path to the Forestry Cabin

Moss on the Perimeter Trail

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Saturday, December 24, 2011


Weathered by its maker before I bought it, the metal bird tree grows more beautiful as it weathers, cracking like dry earth, lifting rust into gray-blue, the color of winter sky.  People weather storms like this sculpture, surviving despite challenges, and folks sometimes feel under the weather, or "punk" as my father used to say.  Sailors weather obstacles by shifting course to avoid them, and according to the Oxford dictionary, falcons weather when they perch on their "block" for a long time.
Whether by storm (tempestas) or by time (kairos), we all weather like my bird tree, cracking and creaking and weakening over time, but look closely at old skin, and think of the storms it has weathered, and see its beauty.

Friday, December 23, 2011


This morning, my friend Greg asked, "Have you seen that folk artist down past Sherwood?"

"Why yes, I have," I said. "I've seen his work and compound grow over the years I've lived in Sewanee since I drive to Birmingham the back way."

And now I don't have to drive to Birmingham to enjoy his work any time I want to.  Thanks to Gay, this insect of welded nails, railroad spike, and corrugated metal has nested in its rightful home.

A merry Christmas for us both!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Winter Warmth:

tea with milk, 
limb's twisting last bits.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Dragonflies Don't Fly:

they float round the rim of the watery-blue bowl.

Thanks to my friends Mike and Dale for reminding me of their visit, our admiration of a Blue Dasher at Cedar Hollow Lake, and the dragonflies of spring, summer, and fall.

Ain't Christmas grand?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Happy Gardener

makes me happy.

Like many folks in Sewanee, she's seriously over-qualified for her profession, having been a doctoral candidate before picking up her clippers.  When she waters or plants or dead-heads The Lemon Fair garden, the dirt itself sighs like a tired and cranky client slowly relaxing on a massage table.

More of us should be like her: happy in the work we choose regardless of our credentials.

Monday, December 19, 2011


Everywhere today,
every thing 
I noticed
every time --
swirling dervishes
in stone,
in plant,
in water.
I wanted
to join
the conversation.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Creek:

the one
lit living
wending in
Abbo's Alley.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Mind for Fog


I told a visitor yesterday that one must have a mind for fog to live here.  He laughed, but I was serious.  I  imagine that our fog -- especially in gray winter -- could make some people mad, or nearly so.  

Me, I love the fog, making the light of home even more beautiful.

Friday, December 16, 2011

December Treats

The month of pansies and lights: lustrous jewels strung and hung from trees and ceilings and stemmed and up-jumped like  jack-in-the-box puppets, heads nodding and bobbing.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

If I Could, I Would

An hour ago, the horizon warned the day would turn gray and rainy, as it has.  

If I could, I would invent a winter machine that guarantees at least a little blue every day.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Old Camera Makes Me Miss the New (Broken) One

Mosses like emeralds green in the forest, pleasing me on a brown day as does Bruce Guernsey's "Moss."

Photos © Robley M. Hood

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Until Canon has fixed my camera, this blog is on pause.

Friday, December 9, 2011


one leaf
stone sing.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Those Pipes

Lately, I have been pining for something I don't have: a piano.

From the time I was 6 till I was 17, I took piano lessons.  I played what most folks play, I suspect, who studied as long as I: Bach inventions, plenty of Debussy (I especially remember "Golliwog's Cake Walk" for some reason), lots of old and some new classical music, old standards and popular ones, and plenty of carols at this time of the year.

The last thing I learned was Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue," and I memorized all 31 (as I remember the number) pages.  I played it with great feeling, over and over and over again.  (I pity my father for suffering through its repetition, though he was probably tinkering in the basement, out of earshot.)

My teacher also introduced me to her small Kimball organ, on which I learned the rudiments of key action, foot pedals, and stops.  I learned just enough to earn permission to play the pipe organ at church.  Some days after school, I'd go to St. Luke's, climb up to choir loft facing the cross my father designed and made, and play whatever fell open in the hymnal.  The swelling thrum was truly music to my ears and feet and hands and nose and . . . .

Yesterday afternoon, I walked in the new snow up to the campus and, as I neared All Saints', heard the organ.  I walked in quietly and stood in a side aisle, out of sight, I suppose because I didn't want to interrupt the player.  He stopped anyway, within fifteen seconds, and as I slid just past a column and watched, he walked casually out toward the offices.

I was disappointed.  I had wanted to feel that thrum again, just as I want to play the piano again.

The silence of my camera was deafening.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

In and Out

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.  

Inside, I print the children's books, and outside sloppy snow flies and slaps the windows.

The views make me smile.
Posted by Picasa
Two hours later, the snow is still flying!