I spent the weekend at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and have returned with the resurgent impression that it would be more fulfilling and about a million times more effective if I laid off writing fiction and computer code and became an angry environmentalist full time. At this moment I literally would rather sit around watching my garden grow than struggle with some story that progresses at an equally glacial pace towards far less bountiful fruition. Nothing I make will be as beautiful as that which no hand hath made. Were all I’ve made to disappear, who would care?
This is not meant to be bleak or mopy. On the contrary. Thank God there is still something other than the internet.
Angry, Environmentalism, Mountains, Summer, Transcendentalism | No Comments »
I have moved from the pasture to the townhouse, where the food is more abundant and delicious, the company more worldly, but ruder, and the cat more bold. I have returned like Prospero to Venice, like Orsino from Arcadia. I’ve left the greenwoods of Barnesdale for the cobbles of Nottingham, like Robin going to the party in disguise.
This is NC Wyeth’s classic endpaper illustration for the Paul Creswick Robin Hood of 1903, which is available in its entirety (except of course for shiny dustcover, lovely old-glue smell, cloth binding and old timey faux-cut pages) at Sacred Texts of all places–folklore passing into myth, myth into religion?
This is Boston from Peter’s Hill, at the south end of the Arboretum. In the middleground is the conifers section, I think: larches from Europe, Douglas firs, even a couple of dawn redwoods from China, mixed in with our local hemlocks and pines.
The availability of green space, to my surprise, is not all that much diminished. Instead of Mt. Sugarloaf, I’ve got the Arboretum. The Blue Hills replace the Holyoke Range. Instead of Mt. Toby, the Emerald Necklace. Of course, it’s all rather more well-traveled than I’m used to, and the forage isn’t nearly as good, what with all the groundwater being contaminated with oily city ick. But I’ll manage, I think.
I don’t get nearly as many weird looks as I’d have expected for walking around town with a big stick. No more than I did in the Valley, anyhow.
Art, Environmentalism, Summer, Trees | 5 Comments »
Maize God, like Count Dracula, can travel the world only with his feet planted firmly in a fragment of his native soil.
This is about half of what I potted and brought to live on my new front porch: basil, rosemary, sage, wormwood, lemon balm, lavender, and one habañero pepper.
Religion, Summer, Visions | No Comments »
Dolichonyx oryzivorus, summer plumage. Upland meadow, Graves Farm Sanctuary, Haydenville, MA
Birds, Summer | No Comments »
On a rotten hemlock log across a brook, Mt. Toby Reservation.
The new camera, for those who care, is this, not a digital SLR but a budget 12 MP Kodak point and shoot the first thing I did on which was reset the resolution to 10 MP. It has a big long zoom that, without stabilization, shockingly works not all that well, and a wide angle that lets me be 3 inches from the mushroom, which is old hat to most people but is new and wonderful to me. I’m still learning the semi-klunky interface, but it takes a nice picture when I let it.
Fungi, Summer, Technomancy | No Comments »
Time erodes all things, and new things, harder things, spring forth from their remains.
Old Maize God was made of orange-painted plaster. I bought him for a dollar from a wandering huckster kid at the Mayan ruins of Chichén Itzá and couldn’t work up the guts to toss him in the sacred cenoté. For three years, he guarded my garden from the likes of hungry wabbits, storm-felled trees and marauding bands of centaurs. But the winter of 2010 wormed its way through his plaster flesh, and he crumbled.
Young Maize God is carved from green-black jadeite, heavy and resilient as iron. I found him among the mazelike convolutions of market day in Chichicastenango, in the Guatemalan highlands. He’s done his best to take up the mantle of the old god—but come August, he and I must bid farewell to our much-loved little communal plot in the valley and travel east, back to the city, where fecundity will be restricted to a forest of pots on the back balcony.
Who knows what other change may come? Not I. Not he.
Altars, Guatemala, News, Religion, Summer, Visions | 5 Comments »
Mt. Toby Reservation, Sunderland, MA
These are smooth and soft to the touch, firm like a piece of cork. They grow pretty exclusively on hemlock—living wood or rotten. They’re inedible, but are ascribed medicinal properties when taken in the form of a tea or extract. Have not tried that yet.
I also read of one guy who puts it in his homebrew. Haven’t tried that either.
Before they get bigger, they look like this. This is from the other side of Mt. Toby back in May.
Fungi, Summer, Visions | No Comments »
Hale Reservation, Westwood, MA
What would happen if you opened it? And who has the key?
Summer, Trees, Visions | 4 Comments »
Elaphe obsoleta obsoleta
Bull Hill, Mt. Toby Reservation, dry hemlock and white oak forest.
Summer, Visions | 1 Comment »