Day 89 – Oak Leaf with Puffball

OakLeaf

The Old Oak

Brisk winds
rattle the season guardian 
of the western woods,
signaling a turned chime
of brilliant pigment. 

The old oak
gifts the green grass
with blankets of crisp
leafy yellow,
covering the worn 
forest trail. 

-Joseph Kushnir

One more from Touvelle. I still have a few ideas of what to photograph in the next 11 days but I admit I am getting a little burned out on the project and look forward to being done, or at least moving on to the next phases. At last count I have nearly 5000 images in my 100 days folder though some are duplicates from processing and such. Still I have also deleted a lot of second raters so I’m looking at a pretty nice body of work. The next task will be to winnow it down to the best of the best and create a web gallery. I’m also working on a scrapbook of the 100 daily selections plus a few other worthy entries. And then there will be plenty of art to create during the winter.

Day 88 – Mount McLaughlin

MtMcL

The Snow-capped Mountains

I want to be where the Snow-Capped Mountains are- 
Where the white snow gleams in the sunlight, 
Where the crystal-like sparkles penetrate the body 
And relieve every dismal thought you’ve ever had. 

I yearn for those Snow-Capped Mountains- 
Where the thoughts of today and yesterday are obsolete, 
Where you tower over every normative thought, every routine action 
And where idealism is actually within reach. 

But my arms are not long enough, 
To transcend these limits 
And my fingertips cannot grasp 
Those Snow-Capped Mountains gleaming on the horizon. 

-Cate Gooch

This was the view at Touvelle State Park yesterday. As a native Oregonian snow capped volcanic peaks mean home to me. They just do. And Mt McLaughlin is the most homiest of them all. It’s easy to forget it’s there. You have to be in the right place, somewhere north of Medford to get the best views. But every time I see it it takes my breath away. And I have been know to cry on spotting it from an airplane returning home from some exile far away.

Day 87 – Acorn Woodpecker

Acorn_Woodpecker

Woodpecker

Rhythmic tympani of woodland symphony,
His search for lunch in Quercus branch
Ads music to a forest glade.
Dawn’s chorus would the poorer be
Without his insistent cacophony

-Colin Tuckett

I hope you won’t mind another bird picture so soon. They do seem to be the most beautiful things out there to photograph these days. And with the leaves gone they are much easier to photograph. Long on my list of places I have never been but should go has been Touvelle State Park, on the Rogue River just north of Medford. With the gorgeous weather holding I decided today that there was no time like the present. Well, if I’d know the place was crawling with Acorn Woodpeckers I would have gone much sooner. I have also long wanted to get a good picture of their little clown faces. This one was so close to me I almost had to zoom out  a little to get him all in the frame. I love how you can see his little toes digging in to hang on to the tree.

 

Day 86 – Oregon Junco

Junco

Juncos

They operate from elsewhere,
some hall in the mountains–
quick visit, gone.
Specialists on branch ends,
craft union. I like their
clean little coveralls.

-William Stafford

Well, after all my moaning about the weather I had to get out and shoot today, an almost perfect day for December. But it was also a busy day. So, I threw the cameras in the car and took a quick tour around North Mountain Park between errands. I was surprised to see the sun go behind the mountains at 3:30 in the afternoon and even more surprised to see that this seemed to inspire all the birds to settle in for the night. I was gunning for a chickadee but the little rascal kept moving every time I got the camera focused on him. This Junco was more sedate and I really like the color coordinated leaf in the background.  I just got a new book of Mary Oliver poems but I said to myself, “Well, I’ll look for Junco poems but I probably won’t find one, so then I can turn to Mary.”  But darned if Oregon’s own poet laureate hasn’t written about Juncos. But don’t worry, I’m sure we will hear from Mary again before it is all over.

 

Day 85 – Applegate Valley

AValley

But I, Too, Want to be a Poet

But I, too, want to be a poet
to erase from my days
confusion & poverty
fiction & a sharp tongue

To sing again
with the tones of adolescence
demanding vengeance
against my enemies, with words
clear & austere

To end this tumultuous quest
for reasonable solutions
to situations mysterious & sore

To have the height to view
myself as I view others
with lenience & love

To be free of the need
to make a waste of money
when my passion,
first and last,
is for the ecstatic lash
of the poetic line

and no visible recompense

-Fanny Howe

So, the fog finally cleared, only because it is so windy it blew away and so it’s still impossible to do any outdoor photography. I’m not feeling too inspired for the studio either so I started backward through the files and got to November 17 before I found something I liked. A nice scene from the Applegate Valley. There used to be a huge white barn on this site but sometime in the past two years it just vanished. At least they left some of the old farm equipment. I got a couple of new poetry books today so instead of looking for something to fit the photo I just paged through until I found one I liked.

Day 84 – Fog

Fog

Fog

The fog comes 
on little cat feet. 


It sits looking 
over harbor and city 
on silent haunches 
and then moves on.


 -Carl Sandburg

I’ve been cursing the fog lately because it has been keeping everything cold and dark. But when I saw this scene as I was going out to get the mail yesterday I had to go back and get the camera. Of course I had to zoom in to cut out all the buildings and cars but it was the wispyness of the fog in the valley and the colors of the clouds that drew me in. This poem by Carl Sandburg is one of the first ones I was ever introduced to by a teacher in grade school. I have always loved the imagery of the cat sneaking in and looking around. Though our fog tends to stick around for days on end. Happily it finally cleared this afternoon.

 

 

Day 83 – Feather

FeatherRSw

Nostalgia

Remember the 1340s? We were doing a dance called the Catapult.
You always wore brown, the color craze of the decade,
and I was draped in one of those capes that were popular,
the ones with unicorns and pomegranates in needlework.
Everyone would pause for beer and onions in the afternoon,
and at night we would play a game called “Find the Cow.”
Everything was hand-lettered then, not like today.

 

Where has the summer of 1572 gone? Brocade and sonnet
marathons were the rage. We used to dress up in the flags
of rival baronies and conquer one another in cold rooms of stone.
Out on the dance floor we were all doing the Struggle
while your sister practiced the Daphne all alone in her room.
We borrowed the jargon of farriers for our slang.
These days language seems transparent, a badly broken code.

 

The 1790s will never come again. Childhood was big.
People would take walks to the very tops of hills
and write down what they saw in their journals without speaking.
Our collars were high and our hats were extremely soft.
We would surprise each other with alphabets made of twigs.
It was a wonderful time to be alive, or even dead.

 

I am very fond of the period between 1815 and 1821.
Europe trembled while we sat still for our portraits.
And I would love to return to 1901 if only for a moment,
time enough to wind up a music box and do a few dance steps,
or shoot me back to 1922 or 1941, or at least let me
recapture the serenity of last month when we picked
berries and glided through afternoons in a canoe.

 

Even this morning would be an improvement over the present.
I was in the garden then, surrounded by the hum of bees
and the Latin names of flowers, watching the early light
flash off the slanted windows of the greenhouse
and silver the limbs on the rows of dark hemlocks.
As usual, I was thinking about the moments of the past,
letting my memory rush over them like water
rushing over the stones on the bottom of a stream.
I was even thinking a little about the future, that place
where people are doing a dance we cannot imagine,
a dance whose name we can only guess.

 

-Bill Collins

 

 

Well, the sun is trying to come out but not having much success. Last I looked the temperature was still in the 30s. So, I finally decided to see what I could come up with in the studio. All summer, on my walks I was picking up feathers. I have quite a collection so tried out one with an old book. Then did some magic in the computer. I googled nostalgia poems and came up with this one which gave me a chuckle and decided to use it even though it is a little longer than I generally prefer.

 

Day 82 – Hydrangea

Hydrangeaw

Seeking Beauty

Cold winds can never freeze, nor thunder sour 
The cup of cheer that Beauty draws for me 
Out of those Azure heavens and this green earth — 
I drink and drink, and thirst the more I see.

To see the dewdrops thrill the blades of grass, 
Makes my whole body shake; for here’s my choice 
Of either sun or shade, and both are green — 
A Chaffinch laughs in his melodious voice.

The banks are stormed by Speedwell, that blue flower 
So like a little heaven with one star out; 
I see an amber lake of buttercups, 
And Hawthorn foams the hedges round about.

The old Oak tree looks now so green and young, 
That even swallows perch awhile and sing: 
This is that time of year, so sweet and warm, 
When bats wait not for stars ere they take wing.

As long as I love Beauty I am young, 
Am young or old as I love more or less; 
When Beauty is not heeded or seems stale, 
My life’s a cheat, let Death end my distress.

-William Henry Davies

I was thinking this morning about how easy it is to find beauty in early autumn and how much harder it is now. But perhaps the challenge makes it all the more worthwhile to keep looking. I had been out in my yard photographing raindrops on things when I noticed my hydrangea, while fading, was still blooming away. I added a couple of textures and some French script to give it a little more interest and came up with an image I just love. Who says you can’t do flower photography in December.

Day 81 – Old Barn

Barnw

Old Barn

There’s an old barn
not far from our house
that’s nearing the end of its days.
Its boards are scoured and scored
its roof sags
and there are yawning holes in its sides.

When it was raised
the neat lines of its frame
stood firm against the sky
and it was clad in clean young boards and paint.

Once workmen, with their laughter, came storing hay,
children played in its loft
and young people experimented there with love.

Once cows and horses sheltered between its walls,
and gave birth there to their young,
mice scurried along its beams,
swallows and owls nested under its eaves
and cats came to prowl and prey.

Now the barn is an empty husk
and the fields from which it gathered its hay
have reverted to scraggly woods and scrub.

-Richard Greene

Well, it looks like this murky weather is hear to stay. I’m planning an escape but my calendar doesn’t clear up until late next week. Still, it looks like they will be having nice weather outside the valley which will continue to be plagued by fog. And I have some new poetry books coming so lots to look forward to. This old barn was from yesterday’s excursion. I discovered it on a backroad not far from my house last winter. I often turn to barns when there are no flowers or birds or leaves to photograph. This one took a few trips through software to give it a more grungy, painterly look. And to add some interest to the flat white sky.

Day 80 – Bare Poplars

Poplars

Desespoir

The seasons send their ruin as they go,
For in the spring the narciss shows its head
Nor withers till the rose has flamed to red,
And in the autumn purple violets blow,
And the slim crocus stirs the winter snow;
Wherefore yon leafless trees will bloom again
And this grey land grow green with summer rain
And send up cowslips for some boy to mow.

But what of life whose bitter hungry sea
Flows at our heels, and gloom of sunless night
Covers the days which never more return?
Ambition, love and all the thoughts that burn
We lose too soon, and only find delight
In withered husks of some dead memory.

-Oscar Wilde

Who knew Oscar Wilde could be so dark. Well, it does fit the picture and the gloominess brought on by persistent fog in the valley. I was inspired this morning by a photographer I follow who blogged about how she loves to photograph the shapes of the trees as autumn fades into winter. So I decided what better way to put the fog to good use and drove out into the orchards to see what I could find. It’s hard to beat bare poplars for drama against the sky but the colors were so flat it seemed to cry out for a black and white treatment.