Autumn Rose


One Day is there of the Series

One day is there of the series
Termed “Thanksgiving Day”
Celebrated part at table
Part in memory –
Neither Ancestor nor Urchin
I review the Play –
Seems it to my Hooded thinking
Reflex Holiday
Had There been no sharp subtraction
From the early Sum –
Not an acre or a Caption
Where was once a Room
Not a mention whose small Pebble
Wrinkled any Sea,
Unto such, were such Assembly,
‘Twere “Thanksgiving day”

-Emily Dickinson

I felt like I needed to get something posted before food coma sets in. It is a beautiful day today but still windy. But I took a chance and ran out the door with the camera and around the neighborhood where the most interesting thing I found was the ornamental roses still blooming away. I used the big camera without a tripod and paid the price but a little painterly treatment in photoshop made those fuzzy edges look just right.  I have to admit I always find Emily Dickinson a bit obscure but to me this poems speaks of how Thanksgiving is not just the one day we celebrate at present but the memory of all the Thanksgivings before and the memory of those who are no longer here to celebrate with us. This is particularly fitting for my family which has suffered several losses in the past few years. But on a happier note, all who remain will gather at my Mother’s house today.

Day 71 – Spirit Bear


Untitled Shaman Song

The great sea
frees me, moves me,
as a strong river carries a weed.
Earth and her strong winds
move me, take me away,
and my soul is swept up in joy.

-Uvavnuk (Iglulik Eskimo, 19th century) [translated by Jane Hirshfield]

I was going to go out for a camera walk but it was so windy I thought I would never get a good photograph because nothing would hold still. So I started looking around the house and decided to photograph some of my knick-knacks. I think I came by this Spirit Bear at Indian Market in Santa Fe one year but he has been with me long enough, I don’t really remember. I wanted to give him a more ethereal quality so added some textures and gave him a Georgia O’Keefe treatment in Topaz Impression (how appropriate!) Then I started looking for a poem. Not many poems about spirit bears and surprisingly few about bears, spirit animals, etc. I finally turned to gratitude in homage to Thanksgiving and nothing tripped my trigger there either. I finally found an anthology of Spiritual Poetry on the Poetry Foundation website and while Eskimos and spirit bears may not be a good fit, the Native American connection with nature and spirituality worked for me.

Day 70 – Autumn Landscape


Merry Autumn

It’s all a farce,—these tales they tell
     About the breezes sighing,
And moans astir o’er field and dell,
     Because the year is dying.
Such principles are most absurd,—
     I care not who first taught ’em;
There’s nothing known to beast or bird
     To make a solemn autumn.
In solemn times, when grief holds sway
     With countenance distressing,
You’ll note the more of black and gray
     Will then be used in dressing.
Now purple tints are all around;
     The sky is blue and mellow;
And e’en the grasses turn the ground
     From modest green to yellow.
The seed burrs all with laughter crack
     On featherweed and jimson;
And leaves that should be dressed in black
     Are all decked out in crimson.
A butterfly goes winging by;
     A singing bird comes after;
And Nature, all from earth to sky,
     Is bubbling o’er with laughter.
The ripples wimple on the rills,
     Like sparkling little lasses;
The sunlight runs along the hills,
     And laughs among the grasses.
The earth is just so full of fun
     It really can’t contain it;
And streams of mirth so freely run
     The heavens seem to rain it.
Don’t talk to me of solemn days
     In autumn’s time of splendor,
Because the sun shows fewer rays,
     And these grow slant and slender.
Why, it’s the climax of the year,—
     The highest time of living!—
Till naturally its bursting cheer
     Just melts into thanksgiving.


-Paul Laurence Dunbar


I normally try to choose shorter poems but I like this one and after reading about the author I was even more impressed. The poem was written in 1896. Dunbar was an African American born in 1872 to freed former slaves. He died from tuberculosis in 1906 at the age of 33 having published 7 volumes of poems. Why have I never heard of him before???? Don’t answer that, I have my theories.
The photo is from my trip to the Applegate Valley. I don’t shoot many landscapes but the trees and the clouds and the mountains and the horses and the vineyard…well, it was hard to resist.

Day 69 – Red Fruit with Raindrops


Rain Has Fallen All the Day

Rain has fallen all the day. 
O come among the laden trees: 
The leaves lie thick upon the way 
Of memories. 

Staying a little by the way 
Of memories shall we depart. 
Come, my beloved, where I may 
Speak to your heart.

-James Joyce

I’ve really gotten very sluggish using the rain as an excuse to not go for a walk. So, I made a deal with myself that if it was above 40 degrees Fahrenheit and not raining at the moment I have to go out. And since I’m out I might as well take the camera for a walk. And I did find some interesting things with raindrops on them to photograph. It did start raining again before my walk was over, but not too hard. Now I can enjoy a guilt free afternoon inside.

Day 68 – Teasel



When the trees their summer splendor
Change to raiment red and gold,
When the summer moon turns mellow,
And the nights are getting cold;
When the squirrels hide their acorns,
And the woodchucks disappear;
Then we know that it is autumn,
Loveliest season of the year.

-Carol L. Riser


I thought about going out and trying to capture fog this morning but after looking at the thermometer I decided I would rather not. So, I spent half the day working on this attempt to emulate an art piece in one of my Photoshop artistry lessons. I don’t think I quite captured the technique but I still think it has potential. Just need a little more practice.

Day 67 – Grape Leaves


Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.”
― Leonardo da Vinci

One of the challenges in a project like this is getting to day 67 or 78 or 93 and not repeating yourself. There are after all a finite number of subjects. Though there are an infinite number of ways to treat them. I almost threw this image out because it was a little overexposed but I really liked the blend of colors so decided to play with it in Photoshop and came up with something I at least liked better. I was thinking to find a poem about art or creativity but was not successful. However, I think this quote from Leonardo says it all.

Day 66 – Big Leaf Maple



November comes,
And November goes
With the last red berries
And the first white snows,

With night coming early
And dawn coming late,
And ice in the bucket
And frost by the gate.

The fires burn
And the kettles sing,
And earth sinks to rest
Until next spring.

-Elizabeth Coatsworth

I have to say I have been trying for, well, 65 days to find the right combination of weather and opportunity to get over to the Applegate Valley to photograph. I did find some good fall color today. Though the wineries were definitely past prime, the big leaf maples were quite showy. I ended up with nearly 100 images so you may see more from this trip down the road. I wouldn’t mind going back either. No one seems to be writing poems about big leaf maples but I like this one about November.

Day 65 – Flower


Flowers in a Vase

A bunch of flowers
Sat in a vase
Colourful and lonely
A mind looks at them
What is it they have to say
Are they a thank you
Or a gift of love
Are they an apology
Or given in remorse
Perhaps they are for nothing
Given to bring a smile
The mind looks on
Wondering for a while
The flowers sit in their vase
Unmoved by thought
Or the reason given to them
A little water at their base
To keep them fresh for a while
They are the end of the day
Just flowers in a vase 

-Matthew Holloway

Another busy rainy day. So I took the flowers I bought yesterday into the studio and played for awhile this morning. Then took the results into photoshop and added some textures and french ledger script for visual interest. All in all I think it worked out pretty well. And though it is only one flower in a bottle I thought searching for flowers in a vase might be more productive, and so it was.

Day 64 – Red Shouldered Hawk


The Hawk

“CALL down the hawk from the air;
Let him be hooded or caged
Till the yellow eye has grown mild,
For larder and spit are bare,
The old cook enraged,
The scullion gone wild.’
“I will not be clapped in a hood,
Nor a cage, nor alight upon wrist,
Now I have learnt to be proud
Hovering over the wood
In the broken mist
Or tumbling cloud.’
“What tumbling cloud did you cleave,
Yellow-eyed hawk of the mind,
Last evening? that I, who had sat
Dumbfounded before a knave,
Should give to my friend
A pretence of wit.’

-William Butler Yeats

On a tight schedule this afternoon I just realized I needed to get something posted now! So, I had to fall back on yesterday’s trip to North Mountain Park. When I saw this hawk all I could say is “I know you’re not a red-tailed but I don’t know what you are.” After consulting my bird book and looking at photos on line I could only conclude that he is a red-shouldered even though I couldn’t see his shoulders, the breast and tail colors all match. As for Yeats, I want so much to like him but I’m not sure I do. After the second reading I like this poem better than after the first because I realize there is some deep hidden meaning which may require a third or fourth reading and may not have too much to do with hawks.

Day 63 – Belted Kingfisher



Fisher sits; watches; waits;
Still as statue, the king;
Fish spied:
He dives.


Finally a sunny day. I was in the neighborhood of North Mountain Park so loaded up the big lens and went hunting for birds. I was pretty happy with the shots I was getting of Juncos and sparrows and mourning doves. Then this guy showed up and I knew he had to be the star today.  Lots of poems about Kingfishers, not many good ones. I liked semi anonymous Alys’ short poem found on Hello Poetry which would qualify as a Haiku according to my Haiku teacher.