Two aspects within the hour

August 20, 2018

Don’t let the blue sky with its billowy white clouds — that appear to be floating serenely on a sunny afternoon — deceive you into thinking you might want to sit down on the Dropstone Bench and meditate quietly for awhile in perfect equilibrium with Nature.

In truth there is a howling gale blowing and the temperature near freezing. Those clouds were flying past, straight out of the south and an Antarctic low. It is winter here, you know, even though the trees and shrubbery are evergreen and are deceptive in such a photo; giving false clues that green foliage means summer warmth.

I had to huddle behind a tree to take the photo such was the force of the wind.

Within a few minutes of brisk walking, I was in the shelter of my veggie patch and came across a lone tomato clinging tenaciously to last summer’s vine.

Death was all around, but the blood red passion of hope prevailed; metaphor for what will cycle around again.


The flow of life

June 25, 2016

Six months ago it was necessary to move the pump’s suction hose to the very middle of the dam in order to extract the last of its water.


That was January. In April, when only half an inch of rain fell, the dam was completely dry and I walked out to the middle to retrieve the hose and pump and bring them to higher ground just in case it ever rained again and filled the dam.

I wasn’t all that hopeful, to be honest.

But in May heavy rains saturated the land.

In June heavy rains continued and, with the land no longer able to “hold on” to the water, the water finally flowed freely into the dam.

full dam

Yesterday, I took the above photo that shows the newly filled dam. For the first time in over ten years, a stream is flowing into and out of the dam. Almost brings tears to my eyes.

The squishy sound my footsteps make when I walk on the land is a delightful sound.


New discovery

October 5, 2015

I’m sure people have seen the remarkable photos taken of planet Pluto as the satellite New Horizons zoomed past last month.

Before the flyby, the best image of Pluto was just a few pixels.


If you haven’t seen the newest photos, Google for them and be amazed. Isn’t science and technology wonderful with what can be done when money isn’t spent on defence budgets?

NASA is now sending the New Horizons spacecraft toward its next potential target, a planetoid within the Kuiper Belt that lies a billion miles beyond Pluto’s orbit and it will take over three years to get there.

In the meantime, little me has become inspired. In my backyard I have been focusing my attention on a very unknown small astroid circling somewhere in the vicinity of Pluto. Nobody has paid it much attention. Until now.

For several days last week, hard as I tried to focus, my little Kodak box camera wasn’t very good at getting a real detailed image of this planetoid,. Sort of like the early image of Pluto.


So I upgraded to a Nikon Superstar with “imaginative imaging”. Boy, am I happy I made the switch. Just look at this photo I took yesterday in early afternoon as the camera pointed up into the heavens towards my very own special astroid.


Brilliant, yes?

And what is that mysterious circular grey patch with wiggly ridges possibly thousands of feet tall. What made them? Signs of life?

And before NASA takes credit for this image now that I’ve publicly released it, I am going to claim naming rights.

From henceforth, this planetoid’s nomenclature will be: Lemonoid within the Compost Belt.


Wind in the Grove

August 11, 2014

My work for the day was finished. I showered, poured a glass of wine and went back outside to sit on the deck where I could look out across Storm Bay in the fading light. The wine poured was a reward for all the physical effort spent cutting down — at a distance from the house — first, a tree that had got hung up in another tree during the day’s wind storm, and second, cutting down yet another tree after I had unintentionally hung up the second tree in a third tree while dealing with the first tree. Wind in trees is always tricky.


Just to the left of the deck was: the ‘Old One’ — a silver peppermint eucalyptus tree one botanist said was “pre-european” indicating an age exceeding 200 years. Beneath one of its near horizontal overhanging branches was the “picnic table of fond memories” of lunches and candle-lit dinners. Or, even breakfast on a misty morning.


The wind was still gusting hard. Huge waves pounded loud as they broke into foaming masses of watery weight. The noise level was, as expected, many decibels above even a “high” decibel day. But, as always, exciting. Hence, the wine with the wind outside on the deck.

I love immersing myself with drink in wild nature.

And then I heard it.

Like the indigenous hunter who can spot the one tiny dark shadow of his prey in the midst of a thousand of other night shadows, I heard the faint sound of a sound through the many other more loud sounds. This departure from the familiar indicated, not food for the table, but danger; imminent danger.

It was a “cracking” sound and not the “creaking” sound trees make when they sway in wind rubbing branch against branch.

It was a warning sound: a desperate plea from this ancient elder telling me that it could no longer hold on.

My eyes zoomed over to the big Old One and picked out the tiniest of cracks running up the trunk dividing one massive branch away from the main body of the trunk. With each successive wind gust and resultant near imperceptible “crack”, it became evident that this tree was soon — within a minute or two — doomed to fall.

And fall directly onto my house.

What to do? I tried calling my neighbour Steve to come help, but he was an hour’s drive away. I thought maybe I should call the SES (special emergency service) crew to come help, but the light was beginning to fail fast and I didn’t think they would get here in time.


A bending tree is more than a bit tricky to cut down as its weight will surly shift in a counter-intuitive direction and drop heavily on the person beneath it. Without ropes and others helping to guide it to a less destructive landing, one takes a big chance doing it alone.

Yet, I had to take my chances as to do nothing would surely guarantee the house and chimney being crushed. Felling the tree intact before the branch over the house cleaved away from the others seemed the only option as the “bonded” weight of the still whole tree might just move the falling mass away from the house. I grabbed my chainsaw and took a deep breath.


On this day luck was on my side as it was the picnic table and not the house that took the direct hit.

Cleanup has begun.



Who is this shrouded companion to the sun who daily changes her shape from skimpy crescent to full figured roundness without embarrassment?


People would rather tan naked under the summer sun than bare their naked soul to the moon’s subtle rays. Yet more than the sun, the moon speaks to one’s artistic soul in a way few people ever fully understand unless they willingly venture out into the night during all her phases. Shall we say, “Walk willingly into the divine feminine?”

I view creativity as something most often shrouded in mystery, the intuitive and the vulnerable unknown; archetypal qualities associated with the feminine.

When walking under a blazing sun, the path is clearly seen, well defined, well marked. The artist knows, though, that the more challenging, dimmed half-lit, shadowy path offers more opportunity for discovery, for understanding, for reward.

Above, I photographed the near full moon rising on Friday knowing it had previously passed over Brazil and all the world’s soccer fans gathered there. One line in the song Liverpool fans sing is: “… don’t be afraid of the dark”.

And well they should not be afraid. I would also add: “Learn to love the night. Venture into the night with the moon. Learn to love the mysterious, felt energies that await your gentle footsteps come knocking at their mossy doorsteps.”

Below, I photographed the full moon setting during the halftime break between Brazil and the Netherlands.


With clouds obscuring/enhancing both photographs, it was a reminder that in life, as in soccer, the outcome can never be predicted. Just enjoy.

A song from the musical ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ begins “…sunrise, sunset, swiftly flow the days”.

Yet another reminder of our fleeting time on this earth could be: “moonrise, moonset, swiftly flow the nights”.

Let’s walk our dreams.


Blowing across the waters

January 6, 2014

Went to the Wombat Circle the other day to reflect on the comings and goings of the years, how they have made me who I am, and, what this present new year of 2014 might bring.


Water seems to have been a major shaper in my life. As a kid of four years old, I stood proud on the dock with my fish at Indian Lake in northern Michigan with my father and brother Jimmy.


I loved those long easy summers of swimming and sunning and remaining barefoot. All the while, though, and especially at night as I lay alone in my bed on the screened porch separate from the house, I would hear the lake waters lapping a message.

During these nights, the small rowboat (seen at the lower left of the photo) would tap out a Morse code against the dock — sometimes gently, other times more urgently when the winds were up.

“What is it saying?”

With hindsight, its message would have told of the many years I would be out, by myself, rowing, rowing, rowing.


Two days ago I went to the Drop Stone bench and listened to the wind howling a New Year’s message.

The little boy is still within me. Of this I’m certain.

Here’s a video that tries to capture this essence.

And the message? Who knows? Who can ever decipher what is blowing in the wind?

Just keep dancing, perhaps, and enjoy the years as they steadily move across the waters of time.