Friday, October 30, 2009

For an unnamed 15 year old girl

I'm giving a trigger warning now.

Several days ago, I read a very horrific news article and I just can't shake it.  You can read about it over at Violet's place - she has several follow up posts about it. 

There are donations and cards being accepted by Richmond High School in Richmond, California at the address shown below, if anyone feels inclined to help this 15 year old girl and her family.

Richmond High School is accepting cards and donations for the victim and her family. They can be mailed to the school at 1250 23rd St., Richmond, CA 94804-1011. Make checks out to the Richmond High Student Fund.

UPDATE, 2 November - the funds can be sent here rather than what is listed above:

Donations for the Richmond High School rape victim may be sent to: Richmond High Jane Doe, account No. 041-30-1188, Mechanics Bank, 3170 Hilltop Mall Road, Richmond, CA 94806.

May this child be surrounded by Love and healing....

Flowing in silence


Every day
I try to expand my horizons
In silence.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Medusa revisited


Medusa says —

I was wisdom
black as night.

Now they call me:

So I hide
behind this hissing curtain
of hair.

little ones,
breathe easy;
you are free
to not see.

what is a lonely
old lady to do?

I still wait
for some daughter,
     some son,
so wounded by the world,
to seize these snakes
and part my locks wide.

I still wait
for some bold, tired
     wild child of mine,
determined to die
seeing what's reflected
in my unblinking eye.

~Ivan M. Granger~

Spiral Dance

The Cosmic Spiral Dance

Come dance with me the cosmic spiral dance
Come dance with me into a cosmic spiral trance

I'm your spiral sister
Whirling in and out of your galaxy
Twirling in and out of your cosmos
Swirling into the center of your universe

Come dance with me the cosmic spiral dance
Coming dance with me into a cosmic spiral trance

Whirl with me
Twirl with me
Swirl with me
Spin your love around me

Come dance with me the cosmic spiral dance
Come dance with me into a cosmic spiral trance

Spin inside Venus' cosmic whirl
Spin inside Mars' red sky twirl
Spin inside Saturn's nebular swirl

Come dance with me the cosmic spiral dance
Come dance with me into a cosmic spiral trance

~Savannah Skye~

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tulip tree - Yellow Poplar

Click on image to enlarge it.

This tulip tree lives in the back yard - I think she's quite beautiful.  She lost a limb several years ago - the ripping sound is something I won't forget.  There is another one right beside her and, when I was growing up, there was a huge one in the yard next door.  It was struck by lightning several times and eventually had to be cut down.  The stump remains and I am amazed at how large it is - one day, I'll take its picture and post it.

The leaves of the tulip tree resemble a - well, tulip (and sometimes to the 7 year old witch, it looks like the Hello Kitty face; she then proceeds to make a mask out of it after tearing pieces out for eyes!) and the flowers look like tulips.  If you click on the link to Wiki, you can see the beautiful flower the tree produces.

I found a lovely poem that mentions the tulip tree and so many other trees and plants of the beautiful deciduous forests of the East Coast.  It was written by Norbert Krapf and is found in his book Sweet Sister Moon.  I'm going to look more into that book - it sounds like it would be an interesting read.

The Figure in the Landscape

I found my goddess
in the lay of the land
I love, in the curves

of her rolling hills,
the rise and spread
of trees in her woods,

in the tangle of
weeds and wild flowers
that grow lush

in her fallow fields,
in the way she
opens herself to rain

and accepts the snow
and swells and heaves
in the hot sun.

When I tongue
the names shagbark
hickory and white oak,

sycamore and sweet
gum, beech, black
cherry and walnut;

prairie grass, Queen
Anne's lace, mullein
and blackberries,

sassafras, pawpaw
persimmon, pecan
and tulip poplar;

Dutchman's breeches,
bloodroot, May apple,
and wild geranium;

and voice the names
of those who came
before me and mine,

Miami, Piankashaw,
Lenape, Shawnee
Wea and Potawatomi,

I feel my goddess
listen and respond
to my naming

and know she
welcomes me back
to the land I love.

Note to self....


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Penguin - The Swordfish

I discovered Ruth's blog a couple of days ago and today, while going back a bit through the archives, found one of her funny posts that had a very cute poem which played with words.  It made me laugh because I enjoy word play very much and have so much respect for people who are real masters of it.

The poem above was written by a scientist/physicist by the name of Robert Williams Wood.  He wrote 2 books which I discovered when going to summer camp in Nova Scotia:  How To Tell the Birds from the Flowers and Animal Analogues.  This particular poem tickled me because I remember hearing both my mother and some of my teachers going on about how "the pen was mightier than the sword."  I actually memorized it when I was a teenager, so many years ago.

In the US, there is no copyright on this work, so I downloaded it and will be posting it over the next few weeks because it is so clever. I hope you enjoy the poems, too, and that they bring a grin and guffaw to you!  You can click on the image to enlarge it.

Rainy day opera

I know nothing about opera, only that I really love some of Puccini's arias.  I just heard this one on - Mirella Freni sings "Si.  Mi chiamano Mimi" from La Boheme.  Her voice really moved me and I think it is the perfect song for such a rainy day.


Baby pine cone

Click on picture to enlarge it.

I noticed this baby pine cone on the White Pine tree in the back - it's so cute!  I'm going to watch this one grow - they do get larger, unlike the ones produced by the Redwood tree.  Their pinecones are tiny, surprising for such a large tree!

One of the things I enjoy about posting pictures on my little blog is that I get to find poetry about whatever picture I'm posting.  Yesterday, while looking for a pinecone poem, I discovered that our pineal gland, our third eye, is named for the pinecone because it is shaped like one.  Something I didn't know.  That led me to photos of the brain in which I could see where the pineal gland is located and the shape of the area looks like the Eye of Horus.  Of course, that trip led me to Madame Blavatsky and the esoteric movement she founded.

Whew!  My little brain needed a rest, so I let it drift back in time when I was little and the family was on vacation in New Hampshire.  Lake Winnipesaukee to be exact.  Since my father was a photographer, we always had our pictures taken, both individually and the required family portrait.  We were outside for the family portrait and my sister Jane - normally not mischievous - decided to put a pinecone on her nose for that photograph.  I still smile at that memory.

And here is the pinecone haiku that I found - hope you enjoy it!

Pine cone

Scent of forest floor
Shades of brown, new life within
Reptilian scales

Monday, October 26, 2009


Clicking on image will take you to my Flickr page. 

Lunaria - commonly called Honesty, Money Plant, Moonwort, Satin Flower and Silver Dollars.

Moonwort?  How funny - wort means plant or herb.   Heehee, giggled the 7 year old witch as she went about finding a poem to match the mood of hearing the word "moonwort."

Child Moon

The child's wonder
At the old moon
Comes back nightly.
She points her finger
To the far silent yellow thing
Shining through the branches
Filtering on the leaves a golden sand,
Crying with her little tongue, "See the moon!"
And in her bed fading to sleep
With babblings of the moon on her little mouth.

For some reason I was unable to use the browse feature on blogger to upload my lunaria picture.  Well, it gives me a bit of practice blogging the picture from Flickr.  I'm not sure what will happen if you click on the image - it may take you to my Flickr page.  Plus, I decided to try the the new format for posting - I tried it once before and hated it, but that was when Mercury was retrograde. The jury's still out on it....ah, the learning curve!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Last of the mosquitos

Click on image to enlarge it.

Familiar whine in my ear
You settle on my forearm
Prepare to pierce my skin with your proboscis
I raise my had to strike

What if I let you complete the cycle?
You might feed the songbird
Who cheers my day.

You larvae might feed the minnow
Who feeds the fingerling
Who feeds the pike
Who feeds me.

You might be a meal
For the brown bat
Whose guano fertilizes
Tomatoes for my salad.

But not today.

~Deborah K. Frontiera~

Beneath the dogwood tree


When the trees their summer splendor
Change to raiment red and gold,
When the summer moon turns mellow,
And the nights are getting cold;
When the squirrels hide their acorns,
And the woodchucks disappear;
Then we know that it is autumn,
Loveliest season of the year.

~Charlotte L. Riser~

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Calming the Mind

Calming the Mind

Too much knowledge leads to overactivity;
Better to calm the mind.
The more your consider, the greater the loss;
Better to unify the mind.

Excessive thinking weakens the will.
The more you know, the more your mind is confused.
A confused mind gives rise to vexation.
The weakened will obstructs the Tao.

Don't say there is no harm in this;
The ensuing pain may last forever.
Don't think there is nothing to fear;
The calamities churn like bubbles in a pot.

Water dripping ceaselessly
Will fill the four seas.
Specks of dust not wiped away
Will become the five mountains.

Protect the branches to save the roots;
Though a small matter, it is not trivial.
Close the seven orifices;
Shut off the six senses.

Pay no heed to forms;
Do not listen to sounds.
Listening to sounds, you become deaf,
Observing forms you become blind.

Literature and art
Are but busy gnats in the air;
Technique and ability
A solitary lamp in the sun.

Those able and talented ones
Are really stupid fellows.
Discarding the pure and simple
They drown in too much beauty.

Consciousness is an untamed horse;
The mind is an unruly monkey.
If the spirit is overactive,
The body will sicken and die.

Wrong conduct ends in delusion;
Those treading this path become mired in the mud.
To regard ability as precious
Is called confusion.

To exaggerate clumsiness and covet skill
Does not lead to great virtue.
Of much fame but little contribution
Their reputations quickly crumble.

Merely reading books
Is of no lasting value.
Being upwardly proud
Brings the enmity of others.

Using speech
Or written words
To gain the praise of others
Is something most repulsive.

What common people regard as auspicious
The sage takes as evil.
The enjoyment gathered is fleeting
But the sorrow is everlasting.

Beware of shadows and tracks;
The farther you leave them, the better.
Sitting upright in the shade of a tree,
Neither traces nor shadows remain.

Worries of birth and distress of old age
Are products of your own thoughts.
If the mind's thinking is ended,
Birth and death are forever cut off.

Not dying, not born,
Without form or name,
The Tao is empty and tranquil.
The myriad phenomena are equal.

What is of value? What is cheap?
Where is there shame or glory?
What is excellent or inferior?
How can there by heavy or light?

The clear sky puts purity to shame.
No brightness compares to the brilliant sun.
Stable as Mount T'ai.
Steady as a golden wall.

I respectfully present this poem to all virtuous ones
So that this Tao will forever remain.

~Shih Wang Ming~
6th C., A.D.

I just finished reading an article one of my sisters sent from Slate entitled: Seeking: How the brain hard-wires us to love Google, Twitter, and texting. And why that's dangerous. If you're on my FB, you find the link there; if not, you can find the article here.

This poem, written so many centuries ago, ties in the with article, I think.

Click on image to enlarge it.

After the rain

It was so balmy this morning after last night's rain. The lighting was very special and fog was rising from the ground. I just had to get out, slosh around the back yard and snap a few on any image to enlarge it.

Japanese maple.

Autumn squash vines with deer fencing.

Leaf caught in deer fencing.

Moss and lichen on maple tree.

Base of another maple tree covered with moss.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fe2O3 - Iron Oxide

autumn catches up the colors of rust behind the shed

Fe2O3 - Iron Oxide. Requirements: iron, water and oxygen. Check!

I love outdoor hangings and ornaments - wind chimes, bamboo, stylized figures, hippie looking things, frogs, faeries and the like. Some of what I have are made made of iron or copper which have rusted over the years of being outside. I took my camera to them yesterday and saw just how interesting rust can be with the macro setting. Click on any of the images to enlarge them.

This figure traveled with me from California. It is cast iron - a petroglyph looking thing with bells on it. She hangs in the California redwood tree growing in NJ - still amazed that it is living in this climate!

Here is the cowbell looking thing that is attached to the petroglyph hanging above. It looks like a woven or felted basket to me in its current rusty state.

This hanging is made of copper and has glass spheres in it. The hanging rusted beautifully and the glass spheres look like they are being embraced by a serpent. You can see the camera in the green sphere if you look closely.

I love the rust color with the rust coiling.

Opaque sphere with a hint of blue on the left.

Shadow being...

sometimes the shadow seen
from the corner of my eye
as soon as i recognize
its presence

and everything
in the world
becomes crystal clear
for nothing
is what it seems
or pretends to be

being accompanied
by no one
is not outweighed
by the reality
everyone is near
just sleeping

and a figment
in my dream’s imagination
before I know it’s there

Poem is entitled
shadow being
written by jude forese
Click on any image to enlarge it

Thursday, October 22, 2009

What a beautiful afternoon!

I was going to put some color on my hair today, but it was so gorgeous that I decided to go outside and see what I could photograph. You can see from the thermometer above how warm it was. I was out for about an hour when I heard the scream of a hawk. I took some photos and wished I had a digital camera with a good zoom lens.

I'm always surprised when I take the photos off my camera - I never think I've taken so many shots! Today, the count was 125!! You'll be seeing more of them in the next few days...

I cropped both of these so that you can see, at least, the outline of the beautiful bird. Now that the leaves are falling, we'll be seeing more of the hawks - it's much easier for them to hunt when the trees are bare! Click on any of the images to enlarge them.

Mellow yellows - another study

It's so interesting to me that this yellow is so cool - I took the picture of the mums in the shade. I didn't see the color that way - I usually see yellow as deep, rich and intense. Click on any image to enlarge it.





Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Studies in red

Fallen leaf with visitor.

Virginia creeper.

Mum - a survivor from last season.

Dogwood berries.

Fallen leaf in yellow mums.

Click on any of the images to enlarge them - all pictures taken on Monday, a gloriously sunny day. Today is sunny and the predicted temperature will reach 70! Beautiful day to be outside - and that's where I'm headed!

Cool as a cucumber

Image from my altered book from Croneletta.

A friend of mine sent this list of "amazing" things that the cucumber can do. I tried to verify it and founds lots of blogs posting it, but no direct link to a NY Times article. I searched the NY Times and couldn't find this article, either - lots of recipes for cucumbers, but not this list. I'm always wary about any email that suggests that I "send it to everyone on your email list." I'm offering this as something interesting, maybe true and apparently harmless. Have fun with it!

And don't send it to everyone on your email list!

Update: here is a link that does have lots of information about the benefits of cucumbers.

The Amazing Cucumber

This information was in The New York Times several weeks ago as
part of their "Spotlight on the Home" series that highlighted
creative and fanciful ways to solve common problems.

1. Cucumbers contain most of the vitamins you need every day, just
one cucumber contains Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin
B5, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium,
Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc.

2. Feeling tired in the afternoon, put down the caffeinated soda
and pick up a cucumber. Cucumbers are a good source of B Vitamins
and Carbohydrates that can provide that quick pick-me-up that can
last for hours.

3. Tired of your bathroom mirror fogging up after a shower? Try
rubbing a cucumber slice along the mirror, it will eliminate the
fog and provide a soothing, spa-like fragrance.

4. Are grubs and slugs ruining your planting beds? Place a few
slices in a small pie tin and your garden will be free of pests all
season long. The chemicals in the cucumber react with the aluminum
to give off a scent undetectable to humans but drive garden pests
crazy and make them flee the area.

5. Looking for a fast and easy way to remove cellulite before going
out or to the pool? Try rubbing a slice or two of cucumbers along
your problem area for a few minutes, the phytochemicals in the
cucumber cause the collagen in your skin to tighten, firming up the
outer layer and reducing the visibility of cellulite. Works great
on wrinkles too!!!

6. Want to avoid a hangover or terrible headache? Eat a few
cucumber slices before going to bed and wake up refreshed and
headache free. Cucumbers contain enough sugar, B vitamins and
electrolytes to replenish essential nutrients the body lost,
keeping everything in equilibrium, avoiding both a hangover and

7. Looking to fight off that afternoon or evening snacking binge?
Cucumbers have been used for centuries and often used by
European trappers, traders and explores for quick meals to thwart
off starvation.

8. Have an important meeting or job interview and you realize that
you don't have enough time to polish your shoes? Rub a freshly cut
cucumber over the shoe, its chemicals will provide a quick and
durable shine that not only looks great but also repels water.

9. Out of WD 40 and need to fix a squeaky hinge? Take a cucumber
slice and rub it along the problematic hinge, and voila, the squeak
is gone!

10. Stressed out and don't have time for massage, facial or visit
to the spa? Cut up an entire cucumber and place it in a boiling
pot of water, the chemicals and nutrients from the cucumber with
react with the boiling water and be released in the steam, creating
a soothing, relaxing aroma that has been shown the reduce stress in
new mothers and college students during final exams.

11. Just finish a business lunch and realize you don't have gum or
mints? Take a slice of cucumber and press it to the roof of your
mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds to eliminate bad breath, the
phytochemcials will kill the bacteria in your mouth responsible for
causing bad breath.

12. Looking for a 'green' way to clean your faucets, sinks or
stainless steel? Take a slice of cucumber and rub it on the
surface you want to clean, not only will it remove years of tarnish
and bring back the shine, but is won't leave streaks and won't harm
you fingers or fingernails while you clean.

13. Using a pen and made a mistake? Take the outside of the
cucumber and slowly use it to erase the pen writing, also works
great on crayons and markers that the kids have used to decorate
the walls!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The seedy side of plants

Garlic chives. Click on image to enlarge it.

I was surprised to find that my garlic chives were in a seed stage - that is a first time for them. They are very pretty, I think. It brought to mind a wonderful PBS Nature program I saw some years ago entitled The Seedy Side to Plants which is very funny and wry. Or should I have written "rye?" I took a blurb off the PBS website about the program and I believe you can view it online by going to the video portion of that page. The link is here. It is worth viewing.

They fly, float, hitchhike -- and even explode. But the many clever ways seeds get around make sense: after all, a plant's life depends on finding fertile ground in which to grow. The quest for survival has even led plants to develop delightful and devious ways of fooling us into working for them as they send their seeds out to conquer new lands.

But the plants' master plan for world conquest is no longer a secret. NATURE's THE SEEDY SIDE OF PLANTS rips the husk off the many remarkable ways plants make sure their offspring are spread far and wide. Apples make themselves as red and tempting as possible to encourage us to pluck them and take a bite so the seeds inside can escape to new ground. An African melon has a mouth-watering method of convincing aardvarks to go to the trouble of tunneling deep into the earth to liberate a few tough pits.

There is no doubt that plants are one of the world's most successful life forms. Indeed, Earth is a planet of plants, with millions of kinds growing in virtually every environment imaginable, from the driest deserts to the wettest jungles. Even paved parking lots often display a few tufts of tough grass poking up through the cracks. But it didn't take a gardener's green thumb to design this global garden. Plants did it themselves, millions of years before humans ever appeared, by evolving countless methods of producing and spreading seeds. These tiny packages of genetic material have proven an almost unstoppable means of ensuring a species' survival.

At first glance, some seeds' designs make plants seem downright intelligent. Take apples, for instance. As THE SEEDY SIDE OF PLANTS shows, these sweet fruits have evolved to be bright and shiny for good reason: they attract people and other animals. Drawn in by their effective advertising, we do the work of carrying apple seeds to new territory where the species can gain a toehold and expand. Indeed, we like apples so much that we've planted orchards especially for our favorite fruit. The practice has prompted some biologists to ask who really is the boss in this relationship: do the apple trees work for us -- or do we work for them?

Similar examples can be found throughout nature, from fig-eating bats that become unwitting cargo planes for fig seeds, to squirrels and woodpeckers that unknowingly help oak trees spread their acorns. THE SEEDY SIDE OF PLANTS even includes the remarkable tale of an African melon that grows a gourd-shaped bladder of water deep underground. In the dry season, aardvarks sniff out the watery melons, digging deep to quench their thirst. In the process, however, the thirsty aardvarks also sip up a few pit-like seeds, which they later deposit inside fertilizing manure. It's hard to say who gets the better end of the deal: the melon or the mammal.

Both plant and animal, of course, get something out of these mutually beneficial relationships. Apple trees, for instance, didn't set out to fool people into picking their fruit. But somewhere along the line, certain apple trees ended up with a combination of genes that made their fruit a bit brighter or sweeter than all the other apples. Since we liked these apples so much, we began selectively planting the trees, and learned how to breed even sweeter varieties. In exchange for the tender, nutritious fruit, the trees get steady care and even protection from potential enemies, such as insects and browsing deer.

Evolutionary accidents may explain how other types of seeds developed, too. On the island of Mauritius, for instance, there once were trees that dropped their tasty fruits full of seeds to the ground. Then, a new bird arrived on the island. It loved the fruits, but the tree's seeds couldn't survive the trip through the bird's stomach. As a result, the tree was in trouble, since fewer of its seeds were surviving. Then, perhaps through a random genetic mutation, one tree, the calvaria, produced fruit with tougher seeds that could survive being eaten by the birds. Given this significant advantage, the tougher calvaria soon began to thrive. Eventually, they crowded out their ancestors completely.

As THE SEEDY SIDE OF PLANTS shows, however, evolution can sometimes produce a plant that is too reliant on a particular animal for survival. That's exactly what happened on Mauritius. There, some biologists believe that lonely 300-year-old calvaria trees await a bird that will never return: the dodo. In 1598, Dutch explorers established a colony on Mauritius. In the search for food to eat and sell, the settlers plundered the island's natural resources, killing giant turtles, lizards, and the huge, flightless dodo birds with abandon. When the settlers did in the dodo, however, they may have also put the death of the calvaria in motion. Some biologists believe the dodos ate the tree's fruit, and that the trip through the bird's stomach helped prepare the seeds for germination. But now that their partner in life is gone, only a few calvaria survive. They are silent reminders of a lost past, with their seed-bearing fruit littering the ground and inviting a feast that will never come.

Michael Pollan's book of The Botany of Desire - A Plant's-Eye View the World is written along the same lines. It's a great read and highly recommended by me. If you haven't read the book, I'm posting the first 2 paragraphs of a review. You can read the entire review here.

Before there were roses and lilies and sprays of lavender on the hills, before there were marigolds and morning glories, peonies scented like women and pitcher plants that smell like rotting flesh, before the landscape went through its great primordial color shift, from green and green to every shade of the spectrum, the world was a ''slower, simpler, sleepier'' place, Michael Pollan writes in ''The Botany of Desire'' -- an Eden, perhaps, or maybe just a plant factory. Then came the angiosperms, and a new principle was loosed on the planet. To reproduce, these flowering plants didn't just cast pollen to the wind or clone themselves; they lured animals to their seed and paid them to carry it away. Two hundred million years later, the lure is known as beauty, and the payment is agriculture.

Just why plants gave up their sleepy, asexual ways isn't clear; Charles Darwin called it ''an abominable mystery.'' But natural selection now favored the bold. The flashier the flower, the better its chance of enticing a pollinator, and as fruits and seeds grew more nutritious, they fed a scurrying multitude of warm-blooded mammals. ''Without flowers, the reptiles, which had gotten along fine in a leafy, fruitless world, would probably still rule,'' Pollan writes. ''Without flowers, we would not be.''

Coneflower. Click on image to enlarge it.

Drawing down the Moon - and Stars

These are shadows - well, they're unshadows, I think! The Sun was streaming through the patterns cut into my neighbor's outside fireplace, casting these unshadows on the slabs of stone.

This is a remnant of the wood that was burned. I liked the colors and textures of it - it also reminded me of a bird figure.

Good Morning!

Isn't this a great picture of Kylie? It was taken yesterday, early afternoon, by Jessica, a friend of my sister, Jacki. Both of them are very talented photographers. Click on their names and visit them over at Flickr - they have some beautiful works over there!

Be back later - we're off for our morning walk!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Studies in orange

After 4 or 5 days of rain, cold and dreary weather, it was glorious to wake up to a sunny day! Out came the camera and here is what I saw - lots and lots of orange! Click on any of the images to enlarge them.

Close up of a mum.

Who knew a pumpkin stem could be so interesting??

Changing colors.