Saturday Shorts

►I often thought, when looking up at a crop of walnuts, that it would hurt mightily to be hit by one of those things. I was right. A glancing blow and no permanent damage done, but this time of year, wear protective clothing in walnut country. You were warned.

►And there are a gazillion nuts just waiting–a heavy mast year, and the oldtimers would say, this tells all the critters it’s gonna be a hard winter. The Good Lord is making sure there’s enuff for them what needs nuts and seeds and the like. But at this point, not winter by a long shot.

►We still have tomatos growing in the garden in early October. Unheard of!

►Speaking of glancing blows, that seems to about all we should expect from the (by then) Tropical Depression named after our son, Nathan. We really, really need the rain so hoping for at least a few inches.

►Life with two dogs continues to offer its ups and downs. The downs tend to happen in the very wee hours; and when a car goes by. We have work to do in the dog training department.

[Update from the moment: Dingo just sat when he heard a truck coming. He was promptly rewarded for this happy accident.] Pity us that dog training is not the only arena where we have work to do, and there, we’re getting way too much help–when hanging clothes, gathering wood, stomping walnuts. Dingo insinuates himself into all arenas. After all, he IS family now.

►Back to walnuts by the gazillions: there are a couple off hundred off that number in the trees now, because they have been “stomped” in our gravel parking space. There, they await the upcoming rains to soften them for the several stages between busted up on the ground and meats extracted, dry and stored for cookies and cakes. This last step, my mother has actually requested–a familiar duty, from a long history of shelling bushels of peas and picking PEEcans.

February Snow 2005

At midnight  silence beckoned.

It told that snow had fallen. I rose to stand listening, fingertips pressed together at a windowsill alter.

Creeks flow, hushed and reverent. In a vast forest the size of cities, she and I are the only human souls that hour in a sea of unbroken indigo.

Ours,  the only breathings, our dreams alone hover over an immaculate complexion of winter. Be still, and know…

Amazing grace.

Spinning in Place For Want of a Word

I sat on the love seat watching the fire burn down, sat there much longer than the usual wait to close down the draft just so and get on about my work. My work. I sat there in the flickering dark because I understood so well that I don’t understand so well anymore just what my work is or ought to be.

So I sat there a little longer, trying to put that feeling into words–the better if there was one word that would wrap that complex state into a single breath. Or not. It is not really that important to make this happen, having lost the urge to plead my case to any other, and my one word, then, should include that solipsist inclination. Still…

With my second cup of coffee, Stumbler-ing across the interwebs, I find by chance (or not) “23 emotions people feel but can’t explain.” I would have said “can’t express” because it is often entirely possible to trace the above-ground branches back to their hidden roots. There are just no words in ordinary Everyman language to share with others, or to graps within the speechless moments of the ruminative word-seeker.

And this list at least lets me know that there are people–writers, mostly, because who else would do the work?–out there, in their own private dark, creating words like conjured stepping stones at the moment of need, to be able to get about their work, to take the next step.

It is a comfort to know these words describe experiences not unlike mine that have arisen in the lives of others. The obscurity of these odd words, however, will make them awkward to use in a conversation at the Country Store. Even so, the sum total of these selected few gives me a few pavers in the darkness of the day.

Liberosis: The desire to care less about things.

Nodus Tollens: The realization that the plot of your life doesn’t make sense to you anymore.

Exulansis: The tendency to give up trying to talk about an experience because people are unable to relate to it.

Ellipsism: A sadness that you’ll never be able to know how history will turn out.

Onism: The frustration of being stuck in just one body, that inhabits only one place at a time.

Anecdoche: A conversation in which everyone is talking, but nobody is listening

Vemödalen: The frustration of photographic something amazing when thousands of identical photos already exist.

Monachopsis: The subtle but persistent feeling of being out of place.

John Green’s tumblr • 23 Emotions people feel, but can’t explain 

Graphic created with WordItOut, since Wordle doesn’t play nice with Chrome–with some additional tweaking to distort text and overlay it against deep space. It is a kind of occupational therapy.

TIME AND A WORLD OF CHANGE ~ PART IV

Abraham Mignon - Fruit Still-Life with Squirrel and Goldfinch
Abraham Mignon – Fruit Still-Life with Squirrel and Goldfinch

Continued from Part III

The time-lapse episode I remember most vividly involved the delightful horror of watching a perfectly lovely bowl of fruit shrivel, go gray with mold and turn finally to a black liquid–a natural, everyday process of decay that took many hours, compressed into a twenty-second insight into the end of things.

About that time (maybe 1960?) in Look or Life or one of those glossy oversized magazines, I was smitten by a series of images of a family, taken in exactly the same position on exactly the same day of the year for 40 years running.

The eye tracked the frames of the series through changes of period-appropriate hair styles and clothes–and faces, or course–from before the birth of the first daughter, through the grade school years, until new babies appeared, grew and changed. Before the end of the series, the father disappeared from the pictures.

The message was not lost on me, not yet a teenager, that this chronology of portraits was just another way of depicting the fate of the bowl of fruit. Aging is time passing through us, and leaving us altered imperceptibly every minute, every season, every year.

The world of motion and of change swirls around us and within us, even as time moved ever so slowly from one Christmas to the next back then.

None–ripe fruit or mature grandparents or perfect newborns–would avoid entropy’s inevitability. But my grown-old self knows too, none should be indifferent to or ignorant of the beauty of the human and natural procession of birth and growth and senescence that the eye of the camera can show us from this grand buzzing, swirling, pulsing spectacle of life-in-time to which our eyes have grown dim.

This is the FOURTH excerpt from this topic taken from One Place Understood–a book in my mind only, maybe always, but at least until summer of 2018.

TIME AND A WORLD OF CHANGE ~ PART III

Image screen-captured from a video of earth-and-sky timelapse scenes.
Image screen-captured from a video of earth-and-sky timelapse scenes.

The first time-lapse segment I saw on Disneyland was the closest thing to magic I had ever experienced. Normally slow-changing objects or scenes were filmed over hours or days or even weeks with an umoving camera to reveal  glacially-slow and otherwise imperceptible changes of form or color. This was not Disney’s animation work but that of nature itself.

This was real and true just outside my door–a state of flux and motion happening every second of every day. I couldn’t see it with my own eyes, but I was made able to imagine and to know it, having been shown the existence of this grand motion and dance. In subtle ways, it gave me a new lens for seeing the world.

From this kind of photography came landscapes–desert or mountaintop or seashore scenes–captured over full light-and-shadow-shifting of dawn to dusk, daylight melting beautifully into the after-dark appearance of the Milky Way and wheeling constellations overhead against fixed and motionless objects in the foreground.

The spinning field of stars revolved majesticallyagainst the blackest heaven, slashed by bright streaks of high-altitude jets and meteors and sometimes stroked by the fast-moving squiggly red taillights of auto traffic in a city. The busy-ness and stir of a single day anywhere in this world was anything but ordinary!

This is the third excerpt from this topic of “seeing time” taken from One Place Understood–a book in my mind only, maybe always, but at least until summer of 2018.

Time and a World of Change ~ Part I
Time and a World of Change ~ Part II