Thankful reunions

They began to appear.

Brightly-dressed Finches were first. And then the haunting call of the Thrush. Frogs, Turtles, Fry, Newts, and Peepers followed in turn.

She waited for other friends, many of which she had not communed with since childhood. She hoped that some were already here and if they were, which would she see again after so long a separation?

And they came. Dog Tooth Violet, Spring Beauty, and Wake Robin. Her smile filled with gladness. Although satisfied, she hoped that others, perhaps Hepatica, Squirrel Corn, and Lady’s Slipper, would arrive even if fashionably late.

She has welcomed these reunions of spring, especially.

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Retrospective thirty-eight (April 2015)

Given the way in which blogs are presented, I am convinced that posts which reside more than a scroll or two behind the most recent are doomed to languish and be forgotten. Because I believe there is value in looking at contributions from days, weeks, and even months ago, I present a gallery of images from April of 2015. Hovering an image will reveal its title. Clicking one will take you to a carousel view and you can either move through the collection or click the links to read each post in its original form. This is the thirty-eighth in my series of retrospectives. If you missed any of the others, you can find them all by clicking Retrospective in the tag cloud in the sidebar. As a postscript, allow me observe that seeing these images this morning was poignant, for they document the very last spring lambing at the farm. We surely had a long, and successful, run.

A tacit deferment of the null

Chakras, crossroads of the subtle body.Arw

Meeting places of the nadi, pathways of the life force.

They say that chakra stones modulate activity at these places and that quartz will facilitate one’s connection with spirit.

Although I am dubious of the existence of chakras and of the efficacy of crystal healing, I considered it odd that we both thought to mark the place with quartz.

Arwen watched over those who watched over and protected the barns. She transitioned, recently, to that place near the Russell Hotel, the Heaviside Layer. She had a long life and was tired. It was an honor to have known a cat as Jellicle as she.

With thanks to messieurs Eliot and Webber.

POSTSCRIPT. At the risk of ruining the sentiment of this remembrance I must tell you that the Heaviside Layer does exist. It was theorized, at the turn of the twentieth century, by both Arthur Kennelly and Oliver Heaviside. It was subsequently shown to be a layer of ionized gas, forming part of the ionosphere. It reflects medium-frequency radio waves, thus allowing them to propagate beyond the horizon.

Retrospective thirty-seven (March 2015)

Given the way in which blogs are presented, I am convinced that posts which reside more than a scroll or two behind the most recent are doomed to languish and be forgotten. Because I believe there is value in looking at contributions from days, weeks, and even months ago, I present a gallery of images from March of 2015. Hovering an image will reveal its title. Clicking one will take you to a carousel view and you can either move through the collection or click the links to read each post in its original form. This is the thirty-seventh in my series of retrospectives. If you missed any of the others, you can find them all by clicking Retrospective in the tag cloud in the sidebar.

Legacy

Birch2We walked.

We talked.

She said I don’t want to.

You don’t want to, what?

To leave a mark.

I did not understand.

They say, to be successful, you must leave your mark.

Yes.

She turned to look at me. I don’t agree and believe quite the opposite.

I believe I will have been successful only if there is no tangible mark of my having been here.

I understood, deeply.

Incidental artist

His areas of professional interest were phycology (the study of seaweeds) and plant toxicology. In today’s rarefied world of science the names, habits, and habitats of plants and animals are of little, general, interest. It is fair to say that he belongs to one of the last generations of scientists trained to know and to learn about whole organisms. Well before we spoke of genomics he worked to answer questions such as does it have a name, which others of its kind is it related to, where does it live, what organisms does it interact with, and how does it function? It is rare indeed when similar questions come within sight of today’s scientific cutting edge.

Much of his time was spent in the field and with his camera. Years after retirement he decided that he no longer needed his teaching collection of photographic slides and passed them along. I made time, over winter, to scan them. I am glad I did.

In recognition of the work, and of the science, I felt it would be appropriate to post one of the collection of images. This shows Stongylodon macrobotrys (Jade Vine). What you see are the claw-shaped flowers of this leguminous perennial. The specimen was photographed in 1985 on Kaua’i and at the Pacific Tropical Botanical Garden (now, the National Tropical Botanical Garden).

Nice work Dr. K.

flowers

Once upon a dealion

We have passed it many times.  On the right on the way, and on the left on the way back. Because of a busy schedule or bad weather, we usually drive by. This time, however, the sky was clear and we were in no rush.

How unlikely that the stones should have settled in just this way. Then I thought, improbable events are just that, in the short-term. As time lengthens, what is improbable becomes probable and even certain. I remembered the made-up term, dealion, defined as the likelihood of a perfect deal in the game of bridge. The odds against this happening are 2,235,197,406,895,366,368,301,559,999 to 1. If you could deal a bridge hand every minute, you would expect to deal that perfect hand once in every 70,877,644,815,302,079,197 years, 74 days, 3 hours, and 59.98 seconds. That’s a very long time indeed, much longer than the entire history of the planet. But, does this unfathomable degree of improbability mean that the perfect deal will never happen? No. And, who knows, perhaps it has already. Improbable means neither miraculous, or impossible, or even unlikely. Turn your thinking around just a bit and consider the vast number of highly improbable events that occur each and every second of every day.

So, what does this fatuous ramble say about my cairn? It says that my initial reaction, that the arrangement was unlikely, was thoughtless. The Ice Age, here in North America, lasted three million years. During that period, glaciers advanced and retreated across the landmass several times. Think of the many millions upon millions of tons of stone that were locked into the advancing ice and then released as the glacier retreated. Some stones settled to the ground while some settled onto others. Given the extended time horizon, I am sure that the striking arrangement you see here occurred over and over again. So, try not to think about events you believe to be rare or unusual in only that way. Try to understand how it is that seemingly miraculous events can, and do, occur all the time.

To end this post, look at the photo again and consider the right side of the upper boulder. Do you see it? I didn’t, as I lay on the ground just outside Bennington. It wasn’t until we were home, and until she looked over my shoulder, that the Ursine visage came into view. I was glad to have photographed the cairn from several angles so I can report that the striking, and fortuitous, profile was caused only by the interplay between surface detail and light, shining from just the right angle. If you look at images taken from the right (and, looking directly into its eyes) there is nothing, even remotely, resembling anything but rock.

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