Sunday, May 31, 2009

Floating fast

"Remember to remember me
Standing still in your past
Floating fast like a hummingbird"
- Jeff Tweeedy / Wilco

Maybe my goal in life is to be an echo.

Somehow the spirit flows through me, like sound through a canyon, and comes out as...... These pictures I take, these words I write, these songs I sing. All reflect the world that swirls around and inside me. Nothing is ever quite the same, yet it is. A grain of truth, a glimpse of memory, it all comes back, somehow. Somehow it echos.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Rain, rain, go away

If ever your town is in the middle of a drought, there is a solution. Invite us to come camping there. I have tent camped through flash floods, tornadoes, thunderstorms, wind sheer... you name it. It just seems to be our luck. Same goes for float trips; they are a recipe for rain.

Once, on the Meramec River, while floating with my husband and his brother up from Florida, it was raining so hard we could not see and the canoe was filling up. We pulled off to a gravel bar, unloaded the gear, turned the canoe upside down and wedged on end in a tree so we could sit under it. The river rose. We moved the canoe farther up the bank. The thunder and lightening began; the boat was aluminum. We lived to tell about it.

A different trip took us to Petit Jean State Park in Arkansas. The campgrounds are lovely and shaded, down in the hollow. It's a cool and protected place to pitch a tent, unless there is a thunderstorm. Thunder echoed all night off the cavernous bluff walls. Rain pelted the tent, blowing from all sides. Water seeped in from below. Then the wind began to move the tent. It was beyond frightening, AND I had to go to the bathroom. Finally, the wind ceased and the rain turned to a drizzle. In the morning, we struck camp, rented a room in the lodge and went to the laundromat. "Did you hear about the tornado last night?" we were asked. "Went right over the park." Peachy. But we lived to tell about it.

So if it's too dry down your way, let us know. Be be careful what you ask for.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Doe a deer

They are so cute. They are so tasty. Yes, I love deer. However, I have not had to contend with them coming into my yard or garden and eating every carefully planted fruit, veggie and flower in sight. Some of my friends who live in farther suburbs have and they are waging war with the bambies. Some communities are having special urban herd culling seasons. Shoot, (pun intended) I'm all for it. Venison is lower in calories and fat than beef and more flavorful. I've got quite a bit in my freezer now from a family friend's lucky autumn hunt. There will still be plenty of deer for me to photograph and to oooo and awwww over. Just like this one. Look at those ears! So cute. Hmmmm.... yum.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Creek dipping

My home has been this river for the last five days. Every morning it was there to greet me, every evening it sang me to sleep. A short walk from my tent the fish jumped, birds reeled, frogs chorused and water flowed. Just knowing it was there calmed me. Despite a few evening storms and rain, it was a vacation full of adventure, wonder and relaxation. Days had a natural rhythm, no alarm clocks to rudely jar me from my dreams. Nights brought stars and firelight, with time to stare into the flames and sky, pondering simple existence. Time moved slower, air was sweeter, sleep fell deeper. Someday I will live by the water, not just visit.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Mystery of the Grape Pez Iris

Most iris share a similar familiar floral scent. Sweet, flowery, a hint of vanilla and lemon perhaps. But one particular iris, one small, lavender iris with a yellow and orange beard, it smells like grapes. Fizzy grape. Nehi grape soda or grape Pez, and not just faintly. No, quite distinctly and profusely. They parade up the side of my driveway and greet me when I open the door of my truck or home. As I work in the yard, planting lantana and coleus in the big, square planters, their candy-sweet scent wafts to me, tickling my nose as well as my fancy. What could be more playful? What could be more odd? I imagine some elderly botanist, snickering mischievously over the unexpected propagation result. Grape! Grape? This will confuse them! Yes, it does. But I delight in it anyway, perhaps more so.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Grandma's Poppies

To the right of the back door, past the cistern and pump
In a bed near bearded iris of purple, yellow and rust
Not as far toward the old coop as the vegetable patch
And left of the grape arbor's new shoots barely coming back
Bloomed my grandma's poppies without fail every spring

Crepe paper orange flowers bobbed on wavy graceful necks
I would pull each tissue petal singing he loves me, loves me not
Tossed into the breeze, they flew like butterflies escaping
Waving goodbye to the farm and to the country way of life
When I picked my grandma's poppies upon each visit in the spring.

Some days she would remember me, some days I was my mother
But she could still name every shrub, every herb and tree and flower
Then she wanted me to take some, digging beside me in the soil
Wrapping roots in an old dishtowel that she dampened at the well
To protect my grandma's poppies that I took home with me that spring

Two hundred miles of rolling highway driven over neighboring states
With jars of pickles, the last quilt, hollyhock and cleome seeds
They looked so wilted, so tired, as I quickly dug them in at midnight
But by the morning they were happy, just as bloom today so bright
My grandma's poppies are her memory, and she is with me every spring

Friday, May 01, 2009

Something about trains

A recent outing brought me face to face with many a train. I love them. There's a nostalgia, a romance, a je ne sais quoi about them. Our language is peppered with train-centric phrases. Our career might be derailed, your plans may be sidelined, or your life could be a train wreck. Which isn't always a disaster. I was on a train that wrecked. Literally. Somewhere between Springfield and Alton Illinois, the Amtrak I was on hit an abandoned car on the tracks. No one hurt, just a crunched car. Which begs the question, if your car just happened to run out of gas on the railroad tracks, why leave it there? What were you thinking? Insurance? Insanity. Accident not withstanding, I still find train travel to be special. Perhaps I'm just a hopeless romantic, or perhaps there's just something about trains.