Sunday, July 31, 2016


takes many forms.

There are, of course, other Blue Dashers,
just as there are other people here and others to be here.

And, yes, I know that insects aren't people.

But still:

each one lost . . .

Saturday, July 30, 2016


Living on the campus of a private college, I often see the things others leave behind -- clothing, bicycles, furniture, expensive toys.

It must be strange to know that someone will replace lost items for you.

No matter the cost.

At least these abandoned goggles gifted me with unexpected sky.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Not All Old Women Wear Purple


Some eat cherries.

Like the lady pushing her cart across the Walmart parking lot toward me. She was clean and coiffed, slow-moving, her quad cane in her cart filled with bagged groceries.

I could have walked past her, straight into the store, but not in a hurry, I asked, "May I help you?" and did. Her car was in the closest handicap space. After she clicked, I popped up the trunk and let her instruct me about where to place what (milk and butter in the little white cooler, cat food cans between it and the tire wheel, perishables a safe distance away).

"Oh" I said, looking in one bag, "cherries!"

"Yes," she replied, "and they're still less than three dollars a pound."

"They aren't on my list, but I'll definitely get some." I added, "Did you see the blood oranges earlier in the season? Big ones and smaller ones like Little Cuties."

She answered, somewhat wistfully, "No, I missed them. Maybe next year!"

I waited till she was in the car, took her basket back across the crosswalk, and thought I really hope she sees next year.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

A Little Rain

fell today, off and on, slowly.

But not enough to amount to much (0.67 inches).

We need more.

Much more.

The fellow who maintains Sky Castle weather station posted this today on Facebook: "Week of July 18th had more 90º+ days (5) than the previous 3 years combined in Sewanee. 2 consecutive summers, 2013 and 2014, Sewanee did not reach 90º. 2015 had four 90º+ days. 2016 so far has had TEN 90º+ days. Thurs. July 21st was the hottest day in at least 4 yrs (94.8º). Sewanee Sky Castle weather station."

I have been thinking about the heat and drought on my walks and every time I look at my own yard and the woods behind.

The folks at the farm have been working hard to keep the crops going and the animals growing. Carolyn should know, since she's the Farm Manager.

She and her rotating crews (folks in the school years, folks in the summer, including 16 VISTA Americorps members for a time earlier with the University-led summer meal program for children on the mountain) work no matter the weather. During the school year and in breaks, she teaches students about farming and works alongside them, with their products benefiting a wider community.

Her enthusiasm and smile infectious. Her work, important.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Sock Hop

A Lake Cheston original.
Panasonic GX8 with 45mm Macro
Samsung Cell Phone
I'm well pleased that somebody has found a use for the discarded clothing on the beach.

When It's Just Too Dadgum Hot and Humid for a Long Walk

go to J's yard, where something exciting is bound to happen.

Like this.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Quite Challenging Indeed!

In answer to a question about cameras, a naturalist in one of my Facebook odonate groups wrote, " Macro photography is quite challenging and takes a lot of time to learn and master."

You got that right, I wanted to write but didn't.

The truth is that I like learning hard things, like my still-feels-new camera and still-newer macro lens. So far, both have outscored me in a contest of skill.

But today's morning foray and some cooperative odes provided a much more successful than usual shoot. I am beginning to think I should just use this lens and forget the other one. I am finally discovering the "sweet spot."

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Weird Things I Remembered in the Car Wash

"I think I can, I think I can, I think I can," Mother repeating as she leaned over the tub to wash my hair.

Discovering what I forgot when I read The Little Engine That Could as an adult: the little blue engine's female gender

Lazy Sunday mornings at the Tchoupitoulas Pig and then the Uptown Car Wash & Express Lube, watching my Mazda move through the long tunnel, enjoying the hand buffers' banter.

A poem.

One Boy Told Me
by Naomi Shihab Nye 

And I will be deep water too.
Wait. Just wait. How deep is the river?
Would it cover the tallest man with his hands in the air?
Your head is a souvenir.

When you were in New York I could see you
in real life walking in my mind.

I’ll invite a bee to live in your shoe.
What if you found your shoe
full of honey?

What if the clock said 6:92
instead of 6:30? Would you be scared?

My tongue is the car wash
for the spoon.

Can noodles swim?

My toes are dictionaries.
Do you need any words?

From now on I’ll only drink white milk
on January 26.

What does minus mean?
I never want to minus you.

Just think—no one has ever seen
inside this peanut before!

It is hard being a person.

I do and don’t love you— 
isn't that happiness?

Rocking in the wash and melancholia: an oddly pleasurable combination.

Saturday, July 23, 2016


Nothing, absolutely nothing, can be better than this

unless it's this

Friday, July 22, 2016

Poetic Reprieve

After the Dragonflies 
W. S. Merwin

Dragonflies were as common as sunlight
hovering in their own days
backward forward and sideways
as though they were memory
now there are grown-ups hurrying
who never saw one
and do not know what they
are not seeing
the veins in a dragonfly’s wings
were made of light
the veins in the leaves knew them
and the flowing rivers
the dragonflies came out of the color of water
knowing their own way
when we appeared in their eyes
we were strangers
they took their light with them when they went
there will be no one to remember us 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Old and New

My friend is old and hospitalized, thanks to a broken ankle.

This view off the plateau is old, but the approach is new.

The woods in Sewanee are old as is what grows there.

The balls in the woods that have been chipped of the golf course beyond the tree break are new.

Today, what's old is great. 

The new, not so much.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Hiatus Ended with a Day of Bugs

Before I even turned off my car in the huge Walmart parking lot, I noticed a hawking Black Saddlebags, high, behind my car. I got out, I watched, and I noticed passersby looking at me, puzzled.

Two hours later, I walked down a hospital corridor after a visit. About 15 feet from the doorway, I noticed a Green Darner banging the ceiling light for escape. To the man at the doors, I said, "Dragonfly!" He said, "Yes!" I walked past him, opened the door, and followed the dragonfly outside.

Walking into the kitchen to check on dinner, I noticed the orange-red antennae of the largest of two bugs on the deck post. I grabbed a camera and headed out.

On Facebook I posted, "Does this happen to everyone? I drove 18 miles to pick up a prescription at Walmart and before I could open my car door, I saw a Black Saddlebags cruising the lot, hawking. Then I drove those 18 miles home and visited an elderly friend in the hospital. When I walked down the corridor to leave, I saw a Green Darner in the hallway trying to get out. I opened the door and followed him. No pictures. Just a comment. Ever since I started noticing odonates some years ago, I see them everywhere." The first response, from the most famous American ode expert and author, read, "Indeed it does, Robley." Another watcher wrote, "Yes, and I am much happier for those moments."

Me too.