Monday, January 31, 2011

Berry Pop

Like popcorn, only more colorful and more surprising.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Take it

one thing at a time.



Friday, January 28, 2011

Primary Colors

No one need lecture in Convocation Hall today.

The roof is doing all the talking.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Fire and Ice

I remind myself of what I have told students for decades: if you're not frustrated, you're not learning anything.

New camera macro: frustration.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

In, Not Out

I know why this bird sings,
and it's not to get out!

Carolina Wren

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

After Snow

water: reflection and reverberation.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Going with the Flow

Dizzy on waking
I spent morning
anchoring myself
then surrendered
to the drag

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Swim at Your Own Risk

Grounded by flooding sky.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Celebrate the Woodpecker(s)

How Is It That the Snow
by Robert Haight

How is it that the snow
amplifies the silence,
slathers the black bark on limbs,
heaps along the brush rows?

Some deer have stood on their hind legs
to pull the berries down.
Now they are ghosts along the path,
snow flecked with red wine stains.

This silence in the timbers.
A woodpecker on one of the trees
taps out its story,
stopping now and then in the lapse
of one white moment into another.

Downy Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Friday, January 21, 2011

In and Out

snow beckons,

change bells

foraging late.


light beckons,

amber silence

purring to sleep.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Flash Frame

I celebrate the Night of Sparkling Snow

wet, sticky,

Shredded doily
lace flies,
in black
air below,
salmon afar.

A storm
of tongue-melting

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sea Sky Evening

In Byrd Baylor's illustrated book I'm in Charge of Celebrations, a Native American girl celebrates the desert landscape. She says,

Friend, I'll tell you
how it works.

I keep a notebook
and I write the date
and then I write about
the celebration.

I'm very choosy
what goes in
that book.

It has to be something
I plan to remember
for the rest of my life.

You can tell
what's worth
a celebration
your heart will
you'll feel
like you're standing
on top of a mountain
and you'll
catch your breath
like you were
some new kind of air.

As for me, on January 7

I celebrate Sea Sky Evening,
blown in on a big wind
and out with a snow tail.
The sky roiled
an aqua/ultra/marine sea
with a seductive undertow.

Oh see
the Chapel lights:
floating phosphorescence.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Pastel of Me at 4

Every day I pass her twice, once coming down and once going up to my bedroom, but she's unrecognized, just another part of the wall.

Every now and then, though, I see the little girl's face, her blue eyes, blond hair, Mother-smocked dress.

Always, when I do, I am startled. Who is she?

I know it's me but it's not me. So little remains: pronounced chin and cleft gone to anatomical anomaly and surgery; blond hair turned golden-silver; eyes hidden behind glasses.

The happy child with a future ahead recedes into an ever more distant past.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Mad for Molecules

As a student, I served as a guinea pig twice: once in math and once in science. Both were successful tests.

In 8th grade, I was in the first group of students exposed to Algebra I. Someone selected us on some basis (I remember hearing nothing about this change), and we were separated from other students for a new program to see if 8th graders were ready for algebra. Boy was I ready. Having been bored for years with math, I loved the x's and y's.

Two years later, I participated in another educational test, this time to see how first-year biology students might respond to DNA. Again, the change saved my life. I became so fascinated with biology that I went into the lab during free periods to chat with the teacher and work on projects. When I went to university, I entered thinking I would become a molecular biology major thanks to the stimulation of that class. Unfortunately, first-year biology merely repeated what I had already excelled in, dampening my enthusiasm.

There are days when I miss the excitement of math and biology, and yesterday was one. This remarkable video brought back the joy of my youth when the concept of DNA was still only a decade old and when no one could have predicted such realistic mathematical/computer modeling.

Watch, and maybe you'll remember that rush of excitement, too.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Day for Red

Red heads and bellies announce green will come.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Friday, January 14, 2011

Early Light

When my cat wakes me before 5, as she did today, I don't mind.

If I had been asleep, I'd have missed the first blush of morning, the young deer picking seed out of the snow with velvet lips, the cardinals chitting in twisted vines.

I wouldn't have felt the still cold settle into my skin, sharp and
steady like a long needle; I wouldn't have held my chin over a cup of PG Tips, steam misting the air before my face, fogging my glasses.

Before the neighbors turned on their lights, even before the songbirds gathered in the redbud tree, I waited, patient for the light to rise, pink, then bloom robin's egg blue.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Today's Word Is

Blue. Enough said.

Not quite: a British friend said I enjoyed a "Queen's velvet" blue sky today. Love that expression!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Snowy Mind

All day, more snow flurried, fell in big soft flakes.

An afternoon walk to the college -- let me rephrase that, an afternoon slide to the college brought photo ops and danger.
I'm not sure why I decided to climb the up-the-down. Halfway up, I knew I'd made a mistake, but one can't turn around on the narrow winding metal stair, so up I went to the top, only to stay put in one spot, shoot a few pictures, turn, and head back down, clinging to the step and the rail.
After crossing at the one stop-light nearby, I got stuck -- literally -- in knee-deep snow, piled up by the university plow, then left to melt and freeze. Sucked in to my knee, I couldn't un-suck my right leg to move forward, so after some struggling and much laughing, I twisted, re-set my left foot behind, gained traction, and pulled. Success.

Then to Abbo's Alley, where at least two others have trod since the snowfall, but where I was the only human among many birds. Drifts of snow revealed deer and dog prints and evidence of low-slung creatures (possums? raccoons?); the creek ran and trickled under patches of ice; the fish lay low in the pond; and the sun broke through momentarily in long rays knifing through the forest.
Mikell Lane proved the true test of courage. It's hard to slide uphill, but today that's what I had to do. Mine is not a road that's salted or plowed, ever, stranding my neighbors on Oak Hill Circle, one of whom posted to the community email today, offering $50 to someone -- anyone -- who would come scrape the street. I'm not sure what difference the scraping would make since any driver would then have to climb up the skating rink in one of two directions.
There's this about snow: seductive silence and stunning stillness.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Feline Envy

I am writing this guiltily, aware that my cat lies, splayed out on the carpet next to me, before Our Lady of Perpetual Heat, where she has been since our latest snowfall.

I pet her, and she burns my hand.

Happily, she isn't human and can't read what I'm typing.

I am suffering from a peculiar obsession: I want another person's cat.

"Goldie, on extended snow/ice watch. Verdict: 'Nope, nothing yet.'"

"Goldie checks out the previous night's snowfall from underneath the shelter of the Buick. She says the white stuff looks nice, but she doesn't go for the cold/wet aspect, so she's back in by the fireplace."

"Goldie decides that monitoring the snow from this vantage point is preferable to the up-close and personal variety."

"Hmm. All the white stuff from yesterday is melting. Whatever that means."

Never have I felt this way, but never have I had such clever insight into another person's animal companion. Facebook has introduced me to the object of my obsession.

Goldie lives in west Alabama, a long way from here, with people I have never actually met. Because of multiple shared "face friendships," however, her human father and I have friended each other, resulting in my sinful desire.

When Goldie doesn't appear on my wall, I am disappointed. If she doesn't appear for several days running, I grow increasingly anxious. I access my page many times a day, looking for her. Once, I even asked about her and was pleased my question prompted a post.

Now all my other Facebook friends -- many of them "cat people" -- admire and comment on Goldie because I share her owner's posts with them. This is life in the 2000s: strangers flung far apart pine for their daily feline fix.

Curious, isn't it, and comforting? In cyberspace, Goldie comforts one friend facing cancer surgery, another who has lost her job, another whose favorite cat has just died, another who loves cats but can't them because a child is allergic, and . . . ?

Thanks, Dale, for sharing your feline companion with us all. I shall try to control my envy, but beware: I have Googled your address.

Monday, January 10, 2011

House Bound

my house perches
like goldfinches
puffed for warmth.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Intel Visual Life - The Sartorialist

With thanks to my niece whose gifts always surprise and please me:

Her link to this video introduces me to a kindred spirit who shares my obsession for responding to something I see each day.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

On My Way to Somewhere Else

the sky exploded. I sped up Florida Avenue to the football stadium, pulled over, jumped out, and started snapping. I know now what sunburst means.
I have no words but these: A woman and her two children striding by stopped. She said, "Remarkable, isn't it?" For a moment, we all stood, faced toward the west. Yes. Remarkable.