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NOCTURE
I hear the evening cornbird calling, 
moonlight floods the fields of tasseled grain; 
wood smoke, drifting veils the distant valleys, 
summer evening’s joy is here for me.

I’m not happy yet no sorrow shakes me; 
but the dark wood’s stillness I would welcome, 
rosy clouds through which the day is falling, 
sleepy breezes from the blue-gray mountains, 
shadows on the water, meadow flowers; 
out of these my heart’s own song I’ll make.

I will sing it, summer hay-sweet maiden, 
sing to you my deep serenity, 
my own faith that sounds a swelling music, 
oak-leaf garland ever fresh and green.

I’ll no longer chase the will-o-wisp, 
happiness is here in my own keeping; 
day by day, life’s circle narrows, closes; 
time stands still now, the weather cocks all sleeping; 
here before me lies a shadowy way, 
leading to a strange, an unknown place.

Eino Leino, 1903 (translation by Aina Swan Cutler)

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My mind has been spinning lately.

(Yes, all brought about tangentially by the tv show Glee, though more specifically Chris Colfer. Shut up. He’s a ridiculously amazing person, grounded and wise for his age, playful, honest, and determined. Certainly plenty of amazing people in my own life share these qualities, but I can honestly say that there is no other public figure like him.)

What do I do when that happens? (Other than be up in the middle of the night, evidently.) I pull out my old personal journals, because I have been here before, and I know I'll re-find myself in the pages.

And sure enough.  Among tons of notes about life and love were these three gems:

“Beauty provides the possibility of a nature that is both sensuous and rational.” -Schiller
“Those who do not venture out beyond actuality will never capture truth.” -Schiller
“You are the only person I know who could have a picture of Disney’s Pocahontas *and* a chart of the stock market, on the same wall. And understand and appreciate both of them.” - from my dear, dear friend Emily

The thing that makes me who I am is this ability to encompass both the analytical and the ecstatic. And boy, do I get in trouble when I fall too far on one side or the other. My twenties were pretty much all about attempting to jettison the ecstatic, spiritual, emotional side of myself. Every existential quandary I have ever had has only been navigated by picking my way through the forest (often literally) to re-find that part of my character.

What do I want from my life? To leave the world better for me having been here. My work gives me a great platform to connect with people and help them be who they are. I’m not going to shy away from big ideas to make an even bigger impact. How, exactly? That’s where I’m not precisely sure. I’m sitting in openness, and as inspiration hits, I’m paying attention, and ready to work.
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So I ended up not looking at my 2008 ecological calendar as much as I'd hoped I would, yet I do love the seasonal play of color and light in words.

- celeste - sleet - bluster - trill - bliss - bloom - zenith - simmer - flourish - leave - shadow - ember - celeste-

Or the long version )
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And when they say that
The moon shone like day...
Well, I've seen it.
I've seen fields of silver
and forests of black velvet
I've seen mountains
cut against a deep azure sky
sprinkled with crystals.
I've seen mist
descending on the valleys
clouds cloaking the mountains
and snow
glow on the hills.
And there are lakes that
glisten like dark mirrors
reflecting that world
as though
The image were the reality.
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Art nouveau- art, beauty, design, craftsmanship, science, nature- what is not to love? 

A building I'd managed somehow never to see before: Giuseppe Brega's Villa Ruggeri in Pesaro, Italy, 1902-1907
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/86/236536615_284faa8e06_o.jpg

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- snowflakes

- crows gathering in the trees at dusk across the street from my office, until there are so many that the silhouette looks summer trees full of leaves fluttering in the wind.
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 ...and so I want mine to include the map shop in Hellboy II.  Which TOTALLY ROCKS.  (The map-shop building, not the movie. Maps are optional, though that'd be cool too.)  Seriously, B was cracking up because I had this sort of involuntary squee. 

Teh internets are not finding me a photo to show you, though.

Also, since I never have context to say this, can I say HOW ANNOYING it is that Alt-E / F on wikipedia puts your cursor in their loser-head search box, instead of in a real search box to search the page?  Standards, people, standards.
/tangent.

With wings

Oct. 9th, 2008 11:19 am
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Today I saw a raven or crow on top of a tall telephone poll, standing with its wings stretched out to their full length. It seemed like odd behavior - I've seen waterbirds do that to dry their wings, but today is a dry day - but it looked so majestic.

(tangentially related- I had wanted a few weeks ago to change my lj name to "withwings" or something but it was taken.)

Gentians

Sep. 24th, 2008 05:06 pm
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Gentians are like the last hurrah of summer, but in a positive way. In a "You thought we were done? Well, take THIS!" kind of way. They're like candelabras of blue flame, except cooler, because they are alive. They are like pieces of the night-time sky in the middle of a sunny, late-summer field.

Photo:
http://www.plantsystematics.org/Tompkins_main.html
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Alas, Tahquamenon Falls with [profile] otterkin     was not to be. So instead, I explored our *local* wilds: Waterloo Recreation Area and environs, under the theory that your vacation is what you make of it.  (I also cooked a smore for myself over a candle last night. Yes, true.) 

Highlights:
* Bog Trail (from the Discovery Center) - always a favorite of mine, mature forest, a boardwalk view to a bog, and tons of cool things to look at. It's *not* just about the bog, I swear. (But I would be lying if I didn't say that bogs are freaking awesome.)
* Park Lyndon North, the "Yellow Trail" - most of the trail is fine but doesn't really call to me, but there's an idyllic oak grove that makes the hike totally worth it for me.
* Lake viewing - trying to find which boating lakes could also support non-boating use - like a canvas chair and a book. :)  After looking at Mill Lake, Cedar Lake, and Doyle Lake, Doyle Lake wins! (less traveled, has a small pier)
* Oak Woods Trail (from the Discovery Center) - nice trail with views of lakes and marshes
* Cedar Lake Esker Trail - Yes, I *did* find the connector between the Cedar Lake boat access and the Discovery Center's Spring Pond Trail. Sweet! (I'm always excited when there's a slight risk of getting-lost-itudeness that is avoided - go me. I was also not hit by lightning while hiking on an esker as a storm blew in, so bonus-score.)
* Bog Trail to Cedar Lake - And yes, I found the connector between these two. Cedar Lake Outdoor Center has some good picnic spots w/views of Cedar Lake.
* The Waterloo Springs - Totally awesome & worth exploring, but not - repeat, not - while it is a complete mosquito-zone. Yikes. Note to self: Return in not-June.

Best gift, and you should get one, too: State parks pass, a whopping $24 per year, gets you access to all these fun places and more, and then you can just go on a whim!

What are your favorite nearby walks, hikes, and/or nature spots? 

 

 

 

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Glance at the sun.
See the moon and the stars.
Gaze at the beauty of earth's greenings.
Now, think. 

 -- Hildegard von Bingen, medieval Christian mystic
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t rying ... to ... focus...

Gack! Can't do it. The rest of the world is too interesting.
Here are some saw-whet owls:
http://www.owlpages.com/owls.php?genus=Aegolius&species=acadicus
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Our neighbor's magnolia tree is in bloom, and it is the most beautiful thing in the world. For this moment, at least.

Today, it's earth day, and though it's become a bit band-wagon-y of a day, it's still worth remembering that this place is our home. (Thank you, dalai lama, for that thought. Would you burn the furniture in your own home?) 

On earth day, please take 3 seconds out of your life and ponder one beautiful thing.  It could be anything.

Here are  some of mine: the smell of spring in the air; the green taste of just-picked asparagus; the miracle of half-shriveled flower bulbs, planted when they were past all hope, now shooting up flowers.

How about you?




(And, in relationship to the subject line, another thought that always gives me pause: The place where you are standing is holy.)
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One of the most amazing sights this weekend was the migrating geese.  In one short one-mile stretch of our travels, we saw Vs upon Vs upon Vs, thousands of birds and dozens of flocks, intermingling, re-orienting, splitting apart and recombining, setting off to summer locales.  My god. I almost cried. 

And I almost forgot, until otterkin pointed out this blog post to me:
http://ecomama.blogspot.com/2008/03/ebullience.html 

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Yes, I'm copying my friendslist's subject lines. I'm trying to see how many instances we can get up to. :)

Well, I have learned that it is possible to drive to Boston & back over a three-day weekend, and truly enjoy it, as long as you have awesome company on the way, there, and back again.  
*

[profile] pumaviking& Dr. Turtle are married!
* The ceremony was possibly the most beautiful ever, content-wise. I have this really bad habit of listening for things that I disagree with in religious ceremonies (I know, I know), and not only was there nothing, there were dozens of times where I totally was in awe.  Otterkin exclaimed, "Does it make you want to get married again?!"
* [profile] celtic_elkreally does have 11 1/2 hours of 80s music on his ipod.
* [profile] otterkin[profile] celtic_elk are excellent travel companions on what was, as Mr. Elk described, an Epic Road Trip.
* I did not turn grouchtastic on the roadtrip, which was a fear.
* The road trip success has B & I considering other weekend jaunts - Saugatuck, Traverse City, Tahquamenon falls, Niagara falls.  Sometimes it's fun to be on the road. 
* If I were a superhero, my two powers would be flying (including super-fast), and the ability to locally create seasonal-type changes (like blooms of flowers & such.)
* Massachusetts is very purty. 
* We saw zillions of hawks on the trip.
* [profile] grailquestion-- thank you for the chocolate! This one was particularly super-fab.

 

 

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 The snow today (at least at the time & place I was looking) is thick round disks, instead of the lacey, delicate kind. (That was last night.)  I also saw a couple that were symmetrical on 12 points, not just 6.

And I think I saw one of these snowflake "spools" - a first for me!
http://www.its.caltech.edu/~atomic/snowcrystals/photos/w031223d046.jpg 

Snow is cool! Working on a snowy Friday is lame!  :)
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