|:Call and Answer to the Bridge Between:|

Rain taking the nights, taking the days
~ Grey and grey and grey ~

Rain misting soft
~ billow light ~

Rain driving down
~ staccato rap rap rap sharp beat ~

Rain washing over the eaves
~ waterfall roar ~

Water settling in the low lie of the fields
~ corn stubble, sharp cut ragged, edge shallow pools ~

Ditches, creeks, rivers spilling
~ corpulent greasy flows thick with silt, tumbling bobbing bits of whatever blow in – fallen, from crumbling edges and banks ~

Awash
~ away. away. wait for the.  break.  between.  breathe. ~

 

BETWEEN

Awash
~ Awash ~ Awash ~ Awash ~

Hit The Road Jack (or Jill)

It’s -12°C right now (that’s about 10 °F for you Fahrenheit users). I think the coldest it’s been here this winter has been – 22°C. The drifts of snow are so high in my backyard that the dogs are having trouble finding spots to comfortably do their business. The cats act as if it’s a personal insult every time the kitchen door opens and a blast of winter air rushes in. It’s cold outside and I have ladybugs in my kitchen.

Ladybug ladybug

When the crop rotation behind my house is beans, come harvest time, we’re inundated with ladybugs. They cover the back of the house and creep in through cracks. You have to give the back door a good shake before you open it all the way or ladybugs will drop off the screen right onto you like nasty little assassins (despite the “lady” in the name they certainly aren’t ladylike – they bite). Because they range in colour from light brown to red, I accidentally ate one once thinking it was an un-popped kernel of popping corn. It wasn’t the worst thing I’ve ever eaten but it was pretty close.

Two weeks ago a big fat fly flew into my head. It ricocheted off and landed on the floor all winter sleepy and easy to catch. A couple of days later I watched one of the dogs lick a spider off the wall. It wasn’t even a regular house spider but one of those stilt legged monstrosities that lunge along like the alien machines in a H.G. Wells novel. The other night I was lying in bed and I thought I heard a mosquito. Maybe I was dreaming, or it could have been a delayed concussion from that fly whacking me in the head. On reflection it couldn’t have been a mosquito. It could have been the hum of a dying light bulb or a fly induced ringing of the ears. The alternative would be to have to wonder about the why/ how of a mosquito in my house – in FEBRUARY – in ONTARIO – CANADA. And I’m not willing to do that.

Fall is long past. It’s February which is the time of year that all the creepy crawlies and antennaed thing-a-ma-bobs should be hunkered down into whatever crevice they’ve opted for to avoid the deadly grip of the season. Having bugs around in winter is definitely something I could do without (especially the ladybugs). If I had my way the fact that it’s cold enough to freeze our pond outside should mean it is cold enough to keep the bugs down and out. Here’s the thing- Summer and fall it is warm so you put up with the bugs. Winter you put up with the cold so you shouldn’t have to deal with the bugs. It makes perfect sense to me. Now if I could just get the laws of nature to fall in line-that would be great.

Music for this post is Weezer- Go Away ft. Bethany Cosentino (Live Acoustic KROQ Soundspace)

Or if you prefer (in deference to the title of this post) here’s something from Ray Charles Hit the Road Jack

Spring Garden Views

It’s been a relatively cool and damp year so far which has been lovely for the flower beds but not so nice for the vegetable garden (which went in very late this year). I live in an old house and I inherited a very large amount of what grows in my flower beds (though I have made some significant changes). We’re located in a Carolinian region and I’m happy to see native species stake their claim in among the heritage varieties and garden center additions. We have a small pond that we stock with shubunkins to keep down the mosquito population. Unfortunately the damp spring has created other opportunities for mosquito populations to thrive.  Our home is located a 5 minute drive from the Lake Erie shoreline which means lake flies often swarm the yard in late spring. This year’s lake flies and mosquitoes have really discouraged weeding so the garden has run a bit amok but it is beautiful in its untamed state. I do have to admit I’m a bit concerned about the weight of some of the untrimmed hedges in regards to the trellises that hold them up. Hopefully they will hang on until the conditions are a little more amendable to yard work. I’ve attached an album of garden photos (a small selections of shots taken over the past couple of months) . We’ve not had a lot of sunny days. I suppose I could shoot RAW format and edit them afterwards but it’s not my preference. It might just be me but I find that RAW images tend to have so much “noise” that it’s distracting. I did edit the levels in 2 of the pictures. One was the Lily of the Valley photo as it was just too dark every time I went out to take a picture of them. The other was the picture of our cat Charlie (same reason). I included him because, though it might not seem that way, he is involved in pretty much any picture I take outside. If he’s not rubbing up against my legs, he’s butting me in the bottom with his head or actually walking into my shots. I usually end up with at least 4 or 5 pictures of his tail or his head whenever I’m shooting out in the yard. I thought he deserved his own photo.

The song for this post is Gillian Welch’s Acony Bell  for the spring flowers that brave a new season.

Point Pelee Padmasana

Early summer morning rises over the southernmost point of the Canadian mainland. It won’t linger long as somewhere to the west, at the same latitude, California waits for that very blush of rose. Point Pelee stretches out into the grey waters of Lake Erie. The Carolinian woodlands, home to over 300 bird species, run back to rest in the soft currents of marshland. A boardwalk winds through the cattails and the swallows gossip and fight under the observation tower taking turns heading out over the marsh to hunt for a bite to eat. A splash of water and ripples spread out in concentric rings as a bass takes to the air for its repast. Brilliant jewels propelled by the delicate filament of their wings flash in the early morning light as squadrons of dragon and damsel flies lead the way out onto the wooden path.

The water and the sky are full of comings and goings as the denizens of the marsh go about their business. Even though the air is full of sound, underneath it all, there is a weight and a silence that is the real voice of the marsh. The earliest recognized passage of man through this area is AD 600 so we know that it is at least several thousand years old. In the early morning light it isn’t hard to believe that it might be as old as the whole world itself.

The weather beaten ribbon of boardwalk demarks the green, twisting and turning through the sedge that towers overhead. Each curve is a blind step into the unknown. Breasting a slight incline I almost trip over a man sitting just on the other side in the hollow of the decline. Bare-chested, tan and slender, he is seated on the right side of the boardwalk in the classic lotus position. Beside him on the boardwalk lays an open notebook, the written worlds inspired by the morning and his meditation dark on the bleached white page. His voice is a soft grey green, a whisper like the waters of the marsh lapping the wood beneath him. The boardwalk rises up and curls away as I leave him behind to carry on interpreting the weight and silence of the water soaked land and endless blue sky. 

The blade of a paddle breaks the water as a kayak heads out through the channel towards the deeper waters of Lake Erie. The swallows chatter on and a heron wings its way out over the expanse of rushes and water.

Symphony

The Guelder Rose is green now in the final month of summer. The wind has swept up the blossoms and scattered them away like delicate flakes of summer snow. There beneath the Guelder’s green boughs, a small form lays quiet and still. Sodden and dark from the morning rain, the first hint of colour is muddied on the breast. The head reclines, one eye hidden, the other open to the sky. The gelid orb has frosted over a pale imitation of a ripening blueberry and a sudden glint of movement creates a startling illusion of life. Closer inspection reveals an ant making its way along the edge of the convex curve of that soft jewel.

 

The wind rustles the trees mimicking the patter of rain as the leaves brush against each other in the dark. The moonlight spreads across the night sky rippling the dark like sunlight on water. It leaks through the depths to find the hidden world below. The clouds are islands floating free overhead, the bottoms dark and the tops awash in platinum halos.

The rain and the insects have done their work, emptying out the fallen. The blueberry frost has been replaced by the vacuum of a blank socket stark against the white of bone. The delicate spine articulates a gentle curve of ivory jewels cradled in the soft bower of discarded feathers.

 

The terns glide across the surface and then hang over the water watching the waves below. Hurtling down they disappear beneath the green and then rise up, orange beaks full of flashing opalescent scales. A rust and green length of dead carp kisses the shore. The round hollow above the gill fills with the wash and weeps Erie’s tears as clasped in her bosom it gently rocks to an eternal sleep. Scatterings of diamond fossils, frozen in stone, line the path between here and there.

 

The waves hurry on towards the shore, cresting above the plane animating the grey expanse. Breaking on the rim, they breathe, expand and begin anew. Sinking into the sand, flowing back into the rhythm, forward under the cliff side and up into the air they change yet remain the same.