Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Speak, Tree

Open to its inner map of color and texture, this dying tree on my street longs to tell its story. There, to the right, is its crackled, knowing eye. In the words of Shakespeare's Macbeth:

Stones have been known to move and trees to speak.

-- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act III, scene iv.

While searching for this quote, I got hooked on the vivid language and eagerly traveled on, arriving at the following familiar and beautiful passage several pages later:

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act V, scene v.

And now, I suppose, it's time to revisit Faulkner's book and meander through those pages.

The photograph was taken 4/11/10 on my road. Click on image to enlarge.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Float the Earth

Up way too early, I decided to walk up to the pond to see what was happening. I relished that lovely stillness, all quiet except for a mourning dove's lonely call and the distant tapping of a woodpecker. One to lull you, the other to wake you and make you pay attention. Thrillingly, countless black polliwogs were wriggling through the water like three-dimensional commas, or resting on submerged leaves, tiny tails pointed. I balanced on two rocks to get a close-up photo of them, which obviously was just not that great. (At least this time I managed to escape without a shoe full of muddy water.) That beautiful eastern light illuminated the muted April setting, placed the sky in the pond's silver bowl, and set the reflections dancing.

Here are two fitting quotes from Walden by Henry David Thoreau:

"It is well to have some water in the neighborhood, to give buoyancy to and float the earth." -- Henry David Thoreau

Later in Walden he writes:

"There can be no very black melancholy to him who lives in the midst of nature and has his senses still." -- Henry David Thoreau


Click on images to enlarge. Maybe then you can see the polliwogs in the lower picture. Both photos taken 4/11/10.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Startling Little Brains

I was startled when I crouched down to take a close-up photo of skunk cabbage and saw this alien presence nestled inside. (It's actually the spadix, covered with minute flowers.) Like a cross between a sprouting potato and a little pink brain, it was just waiting to surprise me on a glorious spring afternoon this past weekend. Our paths happily intersected when I went for a hike with a dear friend at Macedonia Brook Park in Kent, Connecticut.

This image reminds me of a piece from my latest book, Stirring the Mirror. Here is the opening paragraph to the flash fiction piece/prose poem, "Brain in a Birdcage." To read it in its entirety, simply click on the preceding title and you will be magically transported to The Diagram, an unusual and wonderful online literary magazine. Okay, hang on to your chair, here we go:

The little brain looked like a gray walnut, splotched in places with pink iridescence. At the bottom of a rusty birdcage, it reclined on a balsam sachet, one with a picture of a bull moose foraging, and thought its wicked thoughts unencumbered by a body. If it had vocal chords, it would have cackled heh-heh-heh under its breath. It did have one good eye. The eye floated above the brain in a baby food jar filled with oil, perched on the bird swing, optic nerve connected to the brain by a coiled copper wire. Iris up, it swam back and forth, flashing opal then emerald, pupil dilating and contracting, scanning the dome of its prison for a way out. Its unused vessels, tied in a knot, swished behind the eye, like a red squid chasing a beach ball ....

If you didn't dare open the story with the link above, but now want to see what happens next, you may enter the story PORTAL HERE. Happy motoring ...

To see the true beauty of the spadix, simply click on the image to enlarge the photo.