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Saturday, January 31, 2015

Winter Solitude

Winter solitude
in a world of one color,
the sound of wind.


(translated by Robert Hass)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Blizzard Brings Bohemian Waxwings

This blizzard brings many birds to our yard for shelter. I feed the ducks and the pheasants cracked corn. They eat quickly before it is buried by the snow blowing sideways. Chickadees, purple finches, goldfinches and starlings come to the feeders, and pick seeds from the stag-horn sumac cones. These are the usual guests.

Late in the afternoon, the tops of the maples and birches fill with Bohemian Waxwings, and one robin. The waxwings are infrequent visitors to my yard. As I watch them, they take turns flying down into the crab apple tree, to eat tiny frozen apples the size of blueberries.

The strong wind makes photos a real challenge. The branches are moving, their feathers are ruffling and they have their backs to me, facing into the gale. The gusts make the pictures blurry with grains of snow.

Still, aren't these birds lovely?  Their grey feathers hide them among the grey of tree limbs this time of year.  Their cinnamon crests and yellow terminal tail bands, their chestnut under-tail coverts and white, red and yellow wing markings give them away.

It is growing dark now, but I know they are still in my yard.  I can hear, over the howls of the storm, their faint, high pitched, quavering whistles just outside my kitchen windows.

And one lone robin
I'm glad they are finding some shelter from the storm and feel lucky to have been able to watch them this afternoon.  They are a gift from the storm. And company for the lone robin.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

When the Winter Comes

On every twig and rail and jutting spout,
The icy spears were adding to their length
Against the arrows of the coming sun.

Henry David Thoreau

Lines from Thoreau's poem entitled
Within the Circuit of This Plodding Life

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Writing the Uncomfortable

Writing slams me against uncomfortable situations. Sometimes an image I want to use in a poem comes from a dark place inside me. I struggle with myself about whether to haul it to the light.

It is hard to write if I favor only the good parts, happy times, moments of delight. I need to honor the times in my life when things don't go well, the times of bitterness and anger, times when I feel lost.

Writing provides a path and a place to acknowledge my darkness, secrets, fears, anger and pain, to come to terms with them and let them go.

I can choose to share the writing or not. But the writing itself is a catalyst to release what needs to dissipate.

In order to write, to be a poet, I need to bring all of myself to the page, the dark and the light. Both are parts of me. 

Together they make me whole.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

A Saturday Drive

These are photos from our drive today through Albert County, New Brunswick.  

It began with the view from our kitchen window, in the blue early morning light with the sun coming up over Moncton.  The snow pulled us outside; we just had to go enjoy the day.

The next photo is taken driving down Caledonia Mountain, looking toward Riverside-Albert and out over the marshes to the Petitcodiac River and beyond.

There are a few of the Harvey Bank and Mary's Point Road areas. 

It was a gorgeous day for meandering through the back roads. 
The air was clear and clean, the colours crisp and the snow pristine.

We are lucky to live so close to such beauty.

Friday, January 9, 2015

I Quit. No, Learn Instead.

On Facebook, I saw, "I quit." It was a post (not entirely serious) by a poet I admire and envy. She had just finished reading a selection of poems written by someone she admires and now, envies.

What happens to us as writers when we see work we appreciate, work we recognize as talented and finely wrought? We allow ourselves to be intimidated, to sense despair, if we feel we don't measure up. If we feel our writing career or our abilities lag behind the next writer's, we berate ourselves. 

What a waste of energy!

There is room in the world for all of our unique stories and poems, our varied abilities. We should allow ourselves to be inspired, expanded by the amazing diversity of voices, rather than diminished by it.

When we learn from writing we admire and yes, envy, our work becomes richer through exposure to another style and voice, this fresh way with words.

Our writing becomes better.

Saturday, January 3, 2015


    The moon-rise is caught in the clutch of trees before it floats free, clears the roof tops and sails into the darkening sky.

       I have trouble photographing the moon with my camera.  It's likely operator error and not the instrument, but I keep trying.

       There's something fascinating about seeing the first bit of moon appear behind the neighbour's roof and watching it hang in the branches, the tree tops. A fascination as old as time...

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year 2015

       What a quiet beginning to 2015! 

       We have family around but are unable to spend time with them as they have been dealing with the flu. They seem to be improving but now Gary has a head and chest cold. Save for coughing and sneezing, it has been a quiet end to 2014 and an even quieter beginning to 2015.

       Gary has been resting, as have the cats. And while no one was watching, the annual visitors to our yard have returned.  

       Now, we'll have ducks staring longingly at our kitchen windows every morning when we wake. They wait for Gary to feed them.

       If he's not better soon, that will be my job.

       Happy New Year 2015. Things change, things remain the same.