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Monday, October 26, 2009

zoom zoom


My b-i-l decided that some of the women in this household should learn to ride the scooter today, so we focused on the sequence: brake on, key on, push start button, lift off kickstand, throttle, brake... Yikes! I actually went zipping up this little dead-end road on that bright red two-wheeler and turned around without tipping over.
Deja vu : twenty-five-and-a-half years ago I found myself on a scooter in Bermuda, only the outcome was not so pretty. As I remember it, I was given no orientation. Following the hot shot ahead of me, I rounded a curve too fast and in a flash of uncoordination-probably grabbed the throttle instead of the brakes; smashed into some coral cliffs, and received not only serious scrapes on my knees but also grill marks from the exhaust burned into my legs.
Well, maybe I can try again only safer this time, in order to have transportation in case of emergency or necessity. To take inspiration from a post carder acquaintance in Minnesota, I should wear a long bright-colored feather boa while riding. Or something. "Hey world, look at me!" Sound effects: very large mosquito. Scooter 101 for Beginners: A-O-K!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A closer look

Outside my cellar window the Doodlebugs dwell, rounding out their pits, traps for the unwitting ant scurrying by... Yes, there actually are Doodlebugs, a.k.a. Ant Lions, and I've enjoyed watching their antics as they burrow and fling sand out of their carefully configured snares. Someday those ungainly creatures will sprout wings and fly away.

Today ladybugs swarmed through the warm sunny air and infiltrated the house. Their flight is so different from that of a bee, wasp or fly. It's kind of a loose weaving or wandering pattern. I didn't realize how many had made their way past door and window until I turned on a lamp against the encroaching darkness, only to find about twenty of them on the ceiling. "Ladybug, ladybug, fly away home..."

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sky Spectacular

When I was much, much younger, while we were visiting relatives, my cousins and I lay on our backs on the large open lawn in the dark, watching for the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis). The phenomenon gracing that late summer sky impressed me enough to be fresh in my mind over forty years later.

Glimmering green bands radiated from a central point above and shifted round and round. It seemed as if we were under an inverted bowl of shimmering fluorescent stripes. I can not describe it adequately, but I am so glad I didn't miss that experience. I wonder if they remember...

Tonight we have opportunity to witness a light show, as multitudinous bits of debris from Halley's Comet interact with Earth's atmosphere. The Orionid display is supposed to be most intense between 1 a.m. (Wednesday morning actually) and 6 a.m. I'm not so sure I could stay up that late or even wake up during the heaviest fall-out band, but I am reminded of another night when there was activity in the Leonid Comet trail. This is what I wrote:

Leonid Interlude
Comet trails across the sky:
fluorescent streak-marks way up high.
First one, then two, and then- a score.
Another one... 1-2-3-4!
Try not to blink for fear I'll miss
a greater show of sparks than this.
Head tilted back, mouth open wide,
I'm drinking in this thrilling sight
and watch for shooting stars until
cold dawn comes creeping o'er the hill.
Black velvet curtain slowly fades
as morn' with bleaching light invades.
My cheeks are rosy, legs like lead,
so I retreat to warmth and bed.
11/19/2001

Monday, October 19, 2009

today

This is the last day in my life when my age, my height and my birth year will all be the same. So much for that coincidence.

Looking back, looking forward

I am at a crossroads in my life, long story, maybe for another time. This place and time is a reprieve for me, a retreat not of my choosing. I finally realized that hiking in the woods and mountains is not only a stress-reliever, it is a restoration of my soul. I am so fortunate to be able to be here, near the mountains, near the rivers, near the Appalachian Trail along which I lived for almost four months twenty-nine years ago. As I retrace some of my steps, I ponder how life is different, I am different, even the Trail is different.

One of my "original" analogies is that life is like a room with layers of wallpaper. Experiences and years are laid over what went before, and we can't or don't usually peel back the layers to see what is underneath.

Having so many memories stirring makes me sympathetic to the stereotypical "old-timers" whose main delight is in rehearsing the past. There's a saying "You can't plow a straight furrow looking behind you" but what if the past is better than the present, and the future is so obscure we can not even imagine how it will play out?

This pondering would normally lead into sharing another poem, something about no blemish on tomorrow waiting unseen beyond the corner.(and trusting).. but most of my poetry turns around and points its finger right at me. That might explain why I'm not in the mood right now.

Just some mental meandering which I will probably delete next time I'm back here...

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Nip & Tuck

Today I joined some members of the MAHC doing maintenance on part of the Iron Mountain Trail which used to be AT (which I hiked in 1980). It was about 34 degrees with mist, snow, sleet, and ice shards falling on us but we all stayed pretty dry. I helped nip and trim rhododendron branches which were encroaching on the trail, and a troublesome vine-type plant called green briar. It travels underground only to resurface elsewhere and can trip up an unsuspecting sojourner.

A confetti-like assortment of yellows and reds carpeted the ground under the few sugar maple trees. Beautiful! Two purple gentians bloomed and the ferns were still green. The woods are so lovely in autumn. I enjoyed the day and hope to participate in more group outings like biking and hiking, as well as future trail maintenance on other mountains. I'm very tired, but it's a good kind of tired. Now for a cuppa' hot chocolate- mmmmmmm!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Inspired by The Little Things




Having just been refreshed and amazed by a visit to Bird's Eye View blog, I remembered a poem I wrote while propping my feet on a cabin railing, looking out over an Adirondack lake:

Every fine detail of the pine's needle,
every delicate vein in a bug's wing,
each hollow fiber of a bird's feather,
each sparkling drop of water in the sun-lit lake
all were ordained when God spoke the Word.
Creation fleshed out His Desire
and we are here, by no power of our own
to worship, praise, adore and return unto Him
just a small portion of the love
which He so freely gave to us.
8/30/91

Hanging On/Letting Go

"Some of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go." Herman Hesse.........................................................


All my life I have had to let go. Things have been lost or taken away. People have drifted in and out of my life. Relationships have broken. I've wanted something, someone to hang on to. Some sense of stability, continuity, security, connectedness. But maybe I hang on too tightly, try too hard, expect too much. Look in the wrong places. This year I'm experimenting with letting go, and hoping the lessons learned will strengthen me instead of destroying me. Maybe letting go requires the trust and hope that somewhere, sometime, something better will come along; as the saying goes 'When the Lord shuts a door, He opens a window.' Time will tell...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Buck Stops Here...

He came to the door this afternoon, soaked with rain. The young man in a camouflage suit said he had shot a large buck with his bow two hours previous and had been tracking it, and needed permission to search here. An hour later he found the arrow near the driveway, minus the point. Three hours later he and his buddy gave up the search and drove off in their pickup trucks empty-handed. Somewhere in the night- on the hill behind, in the brush by the creek bed, or on the mountain top, there is a wounded animal suffering and perhaps dying with no chance of recovery. Struggling for breath. Shuddering with pain. Next year it might be the little fawn we have watched grow up this summer. Sure, I eat meat. I just don't like the thought of animals being hurt for sport. But who asked me???

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

And on and on I go...











Today, the 13th, was my 12th day hike on Roan Mountain in NC. White froth whipped up in the valleys raced over the balds as I walked. The forests below are glowing with reds and yellows, burnished golds. Such a lovely patchwork of color.


Where clouds are born
and goats have fed
the cheerful bluet
blossoms still.
That's where I'll be-
out on the Trail
traversing each
dear mountain hill.

Blueberries still cling to the bushes, which are now mounds of fushia and burgundy. I've never lived anywhere where I could pick blueberries in October! What a treat...






I found evidence of bear along the trail Sunday, also heard and saw six ravens with their various calls, gliding, soaring, diving on the updrafts. In a muddy place what looked like wild boar tracks were sunken deep, as I had seen on the hill behind the house last week.


Mountain Balds
shrouded in mist:
dragons' breath
rising from some
primordial lair;
exhale of dinosaurs;
ancient snows' droplets
cling to grass and branch.
ethereal other-world
guarding secrets
yet to be revealed.

What a lovely autumn we are having and I am blessed to be here at this time.

Colors fading
leaves swirling
bold wind
takes them
where it will
leaving bare hope
of tender sprouts
after the cold
of winter.
and one more inspired by that magical place:

Whispers of memories
from yesteryears
echo off rocks,
wrap like wraiths
around tree-shadows-
curling, clinging,
shifting substance-
here and then gone.
Nothing to hang on to.
Why look back?

Friday, October 2, 2009

Herding Goats

I was intrigued to learn about the grassy bald restoration project and volunteered to help herd the goats off the mountain for the winter. Saturday's move was only a few hundred feet to a new, lower paddock. Clouds and mist gave way to a cold, sideways pelting rain which soaked me to the bone. The next Wednesday about fifty helpers showed up, again in the mist, to escort the goats down to a trailer at the road crossing. At least that's how I thought it would work. Actually, the goats ran the whole way following the goatherd with his jug of dry corn. Volunteers also ran, trying to keep the herd from fanning out or breaking up into smaller groups. With minor incidents, the event was successful. Afterwards, the sun came out and I took a break, resting on the rocks, having a snack and enjoying the view (see top of blog page). More photo's to follow...