Saturday, July 31, 2004

End of month

I got a new rain guage for my birthday. I got one last year too - a pretty verde gris fairy holding a glass tube. I walked by it every morning on my way to the car. I just liked looking at it and I liked being reminded of whether or not I should be watering the plants. And in the fall every time I walked by it I thought to myself, "I'd better bring that inside before it freezes." But, sure enough, one morning the water was frozen and the glass broken.

So now I have a new one - plainer. It's been on the table on the deck since last Thursday and it has three and a half inches of water in it.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004


Okay.  So where did the month go?  I finished splitting and stacking the firewood and restacked the row that fell down - twice.  The barn is a bit cleaner, the compost is turned and I started clearing the bank where I want to start some rock building.

There's no way to say this without sounding trite, but I can't believe it's still raining.  I don't keep track but I'm pretty sure I've never seen the creek still full at this time of year.  So my major indoor project has been designing - if not actually building - improved lighting for the living room. I really need to create something like daylight there before the days get too short.  I think I can do it with flourescent lights concealed in a soffit over the window.  Then I keep complicating it by trying to include floor length drapes that cover the eight foot window when closed but don't cover any glass when open.  It would be great if they could pull one way so they'd cover the log wall to the left when open.  But that means a twelve foot span with no center support.  I can attach a track to the top of the proposed soffit but I'm not sure yet how much space I need for the track and the light fixtures.  Will it look terrible if it extends 6 inches out from the window?  I guess I just have to try it.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Last Week

Good grief! Where did the week go? Hmmm....

Well. The wood is nearly stacked. And the compost is nearly all turned. And I finally planted the new Japanese Maple. Last weekend we succeeded in opening a trail along the east boundary from the sugar maples to the bridge (which time had reduced to a single mossy beam.) And from the northeast corner of the garden, along the brook to the bridge. Last Friday Bill and I walked up the powerline right-of-way and cut east intending to come out on the trail we had opened up last week. But with repeatedly taking the path of least resistance we ended up coming out in the pasture -- overall about the most difficult route we could possibly have taken.

Bill just brought me the 3 pints of raspberries he picked. Shall I make more jam? Well, at least I'd better go visit with him a while.

Monday, July 05, 2004

Weekdays and Holidays

You wouldn't think there'd be much difference between weekdays and weekends - or between Monday holidays and other Mondays - when you're not going to an office to work. So, how come when I woke up this morning I thought, "Hmmm... Monday..." then, "Oh, good. It's a holiday." What difference does it make? But I know I'll give myself a little leeway deciding what to do today.

I just learned that Ray Schlather's daughter died in a car accident Saturday. She was 28 and a law student. I like Ray and Kathy. Strange thoughts come to mind. Like, how will they be able to bear driving past that spot just past the theatre? How will they ever celebrate the 4th of July again? Today is Michael's birthday. So I'm accutely aware of the struggle following the death of a child.
The sorrow for the dead is the only sorrow from which we refuse to be divorced. Every other wound we seek to heal- every other affliction to forget; but this wound we consider it a duty to keep open- this affliction we cherish and brood over in solitude.

Where is the mother who would willingly forget the infant that perished like a blossom from her arms, though every recollection is a pang?

Where is the child that would willingly forget the most tender of parents, though to remember be but to lament?

Who, even in the hour of agony, would forget the friend over whom he mourns?

….No, the love which survives the tomb is one of the noblest attributes of the soul. If it has its woes, it has likewise its delights; and when the overwhelming burst of grief … is softened away into pensive meditation on all that it was in the days of its loveliness- who would root out such a sorrow from the heart? Though it may sometimes throw a passing cloud over the bright hour of gayety, or spread a deeper sadness over the hour of gloom, yet who would exchange it even for the song of pleasure, or the burst of revelry?

Oh, the grave! – the grave!- It buries every error- covers every defect, extinguishes every resentment! From its peaceful bosom spring none but fond regrets and tender recollections.

… the grave of those we loved- what a place for meditation! There it is that we call up in long review the whole history of virtue and gentleness, and the thousand endearments lavished upon us almost unheeded in the daily intercourse of intimacy-

Ay, go to the grave of buried love, and meditate!

Then weave thy chaplet of flowers, and strew the beauties of nature about the grave; console thy broken spirit, if thou canst, with these tender, yet futile tributes of regret; but take warning by the bitterness of this thy contrite affliction over the dead, and henceforth be more faithful and affectionate in the discharge of thy duties to the living.

Washington Irving
From The Rural Funeral

Thursday, July 01, 2004


Every so often this piece of paper surfaces in my life -- a poem by Dick Lourie -- sent to me years ago by a friend. I could copy the poem into the computer. But I like the piece of paper. It's yellow and water stained and torn at the edges. It's got tack marks and old tape from the various places I've put it up over the years. It reminds me of Jean and gives the poem life.


and what about just those few hours each day
you said you would keep clear for writing poems
here it is sunset in upstate New York
all day good things : visits letters music
food but nothing at all in your notebook
no dreams no politics no loving
why didn't you sit down right away fresh
early morning coffee at the desk limber
and start to write now it's too late again

and in your bed tonight what will you say
to the legion of dead poets who walk
into your sleep like brothers and sisters
coming home and insist that tomorrow
might be your last day alive they say "hurry
soon enough you will have to be silent --
before that speak and speak we are listening"

Dick Lourie

The Moon!

Oh, my god! The moon last night, hanging over the woodland garden, was spectacular. For some reason I wasn't expecting it to be full so soon. I should do something about keeping track of that. But in addition to the moon, more fireflies than I've ever seen at one time looked like little bits of the moon twinkling all over the lawn and meadow about four feet above the ground . It was - well - spectacular.