Friday, November 27, 2009

The River Styx, View #2

Here's a view of the actual river. I've always thought it very beautiful.

Remember that you can click the picture for a bigger view.

A Visit to the River Styx

Today we paid a visit to the River Styx. No, not that one; the one out near Cross Creek, where the blue flag iris grow in the spring--and the one named in the prophecy about my friend, Janis Nelson (search for "Mistress of Magic" on this blog).

Just to prove I'm not making this up, here's a picture of the sign at the river crossing.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Autumn Abundance

For some reason, nothing says "abundance" to me better than pumpkins—lots of pumpkins. So I was struck this year by a wonderful fall tableau outside a school in the small town where I work.

Here's just one part of the tableau, above, complete with an "autumn person" like those sold in the craft stores this time of year.

Somewhere there must be a heaven where it is fall all year long.

But then, wouldn't the season lose some of its sheen?

A (Semi) Vegetarian Thanksgiving

We decided not to eat a dead bird this year for Thanksgiving, but our meal wasn't completely vegetarian either--Forrest (the cook at our house) made a delicious crab bisque. Then we had a lovely salad of lettuce topped with bleu cheese, pecans, dried cranberries, and mandarin orange slices, topped with balsamic vinaigrette.

The main part of the meal, pictured above, was acorn squash stuffed with white & wild rice and assorted vegetables and topped with bechamel sauce, brussels sprout hash, cranberry chutney, and cornbread. Still to come: pumpkin pie.

And oh yes, we do give thanks. Many thanks.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Steve's Sycamore/Nearly Thanksgiving

This beautiful tree has shed enough leaves so that its "bones" are becoming visible; soon, it will be completely bare. I thought it looked particularly beautiful when I took this shot--about a week ago--its leaves rustling and almost twinkling in the gorgeous afternoon autumn light.

Remember that you can click on the picture for a larger view. Also, you can search the blog for "Steve's sycamore" and all the pictures of this same tree will come up.

Ferals' Progress, Part 7 (Hortie in Bed)

It's happened. Hortense, the tortoiseshell feral, has decided that a comfy bed is the place to be, even if it means letting your muzzle be stroked by a human.

I honestly never thought this day would ever come. However, Forrest--who earned the nickname "Chicken Jah" a few years ago for his rapport with some free-ranging near-dinosaurs--has managed to lure this most-feral-of-all-ferals to the futon.

Also in the picture: Bootsy, the trendsetter--the very first of these ferals to become a housecat. And Sake's tail; that's the grey blob between Bootsy and Hortie.

Can happy winter snuggling be far behind?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Goddess of the Springs

I am always intrigued and amused by the sightings of people—both holy and mundane, as in the Virgin Mary, Mother Teresa, and Elvis—in trees, office windows, food, and other various places.

What interests me is not so much that these images show up—because I know our brains are designed to find patterns in our surroundings, and also because I do believe that there are instances of spiritual energies that manifest in the elements for whatever reason—but how people react to them.

Several years ago in Clearwater, Florida, there was a stunning image of the Virgin Mary that appeared in the windows of an office building. Many people were drawn to the image to wonder and to pray. So many people came that the building was eventually sold to a local church. Unfortunately, a local high schooler decided to toss some ball bearings through the window with a slingshot, and destroyed the image. Too bad; I don't think that kind of destructive energy serves anyone well.

The cypress knee pictured above at first reminded me of the Virgin Mary, but since she's dipping a rather elegant toe toward the aquifer, I think I'll just call her the Goddess of the Springs.

Proto Canoe

This old log in the springs reminded me of a canoe.

I wonder if the sight of an old log like this inspired the creation of the first canoe?

Afternoon Light at the Springs, Fall 2009

This is my favorite time of the year for afternoon light, but unfortunately my work schedule doesn't give me many opportunities to get out and about at that time of day.

Here's a view of the springs near my house, taken one day last week when I did seize the opportunity to try to get some good shots. I think I was really about an hour too early to get the kind of light that I like—maybe I'll get another chance soon.

Pink Muhly Grass

In our search for pretty things that give fall color to the yard, we discovered pink muhly grass.

The grass is pretty spectacular when it catches the last rays of the setting sun, as it was doing last week--shown in the picture above. (You can click on the picture for a bigger view.)

And, best of all, muhly grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris) is native in Eastern North America from about Massachusetts down to Florida and then west along the Gulf Coast--so it's relatively easy to maintain.

Our grass benefits, I'm sure, from being in a part of the yard that gets watered by sprinklers during the hottest part of the summer months.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

This Body Is Not Me

This body is not me, I am not caught in this body.
I am life without boundaries. I have never been born,
and I shall never die.
Look at the ocean and the sky filled with stars,
manifestations of my wondrous true mind.
Since before time, I have been free.
Birth and death are only doors through which we pass,
sacred thresholds on our journey.
Birth and death are just a game of hide and seek.
So laugh with me,
hold my hand,
let us say goodbye,
say goodbye, to meet again soon.
We meet today.
We will meet again tomorrow.
We will meet at the source at every moment.
We meet each other in all forms of life.

-from "a verse that is drawn directly from a sutra written by the Buddha," cited in the article "Becoming Truly Alive" by Thich Nhat Hanh in Buddhadharma magazine, Winter 2009, p. 46.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Waiting for the Cranes

Usually around the middle of November, our area welcomes hundreds of sandhill cranes who arrive from up north to spend the winter in our marshy areas. We watch the skies, listening for the cranes' distinctive cries.

We have a small, year-round breeding population of cranes that live here, but their numbers mushroom every winter. We haven't heard any cranes yet, but we're watching the skies, and listening...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Creation Stage

Pushed by a strong intuition, I have created a new online group to explore the connections between Buddhism, dharma practice, and creativity; it's called Creation Stage, and you can find it here.

If you know others who might be interested, please spread the word. Thanks! -AWW