How Is It That the Snow

How Is It That the Snow

How is it that the snow
amplifies the silence,
slathers the black bark on limbs,
heaps along the brush rows?
Some deer have stood on their hind legs
to pull the berries down.
Now they are ghosts along the path,
snow flecked with red wine stains.
This silence in the timbers.
A woodpecker on one of the trees
taps out its story,
stopping now and then in the lapse
of one white moment into another.

-Robert Haight

Sibling Assignment #146: "Travel Without Traveling"

I gave the next series of sibling assignments which were taken from the book Visual Poetry by Chris Orwig.
"Travel Without Traveling" Without going more than 15 miles, set out to photograph your geographic context like it has never been photographed before. Imagine you are a foreigner and only have a short time to capture what captivates you. Create a set of photos. Share your photos with writing about your geographic context. I will connect my siblings' posts here. (Most of these photos were taken on the Nostalgia setting.)

OId Kettle Falls : Remembering Another Time, A Different Place
I spent time yesterday visiting what the locals call "Old Kettle".  When you visit this site today the land is redesigned for day use picnics and gatherings.
 One part is called The Locust Grove because the giant fragrant trees remain, surrounded by covered picnic areas, barbecue pits, and green grass.
 I imagined the place as winter in the early 1900s. The resort town was snowbound. The grand hotel was probably empty. People were  having a difficult time getting through the snow and keeping warm. It was ten degrees and the wind was blowing. One snow covered step remains. These are questions I would ask.
Did they walk to the nearest town?
 Did they even venture out toward the water in the freezing weather?
 Did they find beauty in the stark landscape?
 Did they realize that this place where the Colville River drained into the Columbia River would all soon be different?
Did they realize the building of the Grand Coulee Dam would change the landscape and add another reason they had to move and establish a new town? 
Could they imagine roads being built?
A railroad that was closer
and a bridge that spanned a much larger lake that buried their beloved falls?

Today I can enjoy the beauty of Lake Roosevelt, but also mourn their loss of a town, the falls, the gathering spot for fishing, and life as it was.

Top Ten Reasons Why Frigid Weather Is A Good Thing

10. I discovered you can make hummingbird slushies in the feeder I forgot to empty in the fall.
9. It makes the hot morning coffee taste better.
 8. It is easy to perserve kitten footprints for photo ops.
7. No mud.
6. We can always find Annie.
5. There is something to look forward to when you get up in the middle of the night... reading the thermometer or stoking up the fire.
 4. The cats are also easy to find.
3. No mosquitoes.
 2.It makes me appreciate the greenhouse.
1.I have a good excuse to curl up under a blanket with a good book and keep warm.

A Few Reasons I Thought Spring Was Coming

 I saw a robin last week. I hope he had a parka hidden away for the snowfall we had last night.
The hummingbird nectar that should have been dumped in the fall thawed out and is all ready for the spring birds.
 We gave Annie a haircut. Dogs hair is ready to cut in the spring. Poor Annie will need a sweater if this keeps up.
The dogs and cats were tracking mud into the house.
My coat needs dry cleaning and... I am tired of hat hair,chapped lips, and dry hands.
The egg tree has been put out and the house is in need of spring cleaning.

Old Man Winter... you are beautiful, but you have really worn out your welcome.

This is Your Hand

 You Begin
You begin this way:
this is your hand,
this is your eye,
that is a fish, blue and flat
on the paper, almost
the shape of an eye.
This is your mouth, this is an O
or a moon, whichever
you like. This is yellow.

Outside the window
is the rain, green
because it is summer, and beyond that
the trees and then the world,
which is round and has only 
the colors of these nine crayons.
This is the world, which is fuller
and more difficult to learn than I have said.
You are right to smudge it that way
with the red and then
the orange: the world burns.

Once you have learned these words
you will learn that there are more
words than you can ever learn.
The word hand floats above your hand
like a small cloud over a lake.
The word hand anchors
your hand to this table,
your hand is a warm stone
I hold between two words.
 This is your hand, these are my hands, this is the world,
which is round but not flat and has more colors
than we can see.

It begins, it has an end,
this is what you will
come back to, this is your hand.
-Margaret Atwood 

Variations on a Theme: Words

I have always been a collector of words. I remember when I was in junior high I would read quotes and poems I liked and type them on my mom's old typewriter and keep them.  I have folders of quotes I have saved, knowing I will want a good quote for something. I post them here, on Facebook, and up in my classroom. I love being surrounded by words. Today I took a tour of my house and made a photo collection of quotes. Here is one collection:

Finding a Single Focus

click to see larger

There Is Always Beauty

 home now

In the first blog post I created back in 2007 I wrote about the four seasons of the Inland Empire. When I was younger I always dreaded this end-of- winter- almost- spring time of year. Polluted smoke from the Bunker Hill smelter filled the already gray skies with a thicker gray and a dismal pallor hung over the skies of the Kellogg and the surrounding valley. The snow was dirtied by the slag used to give cars more traction. The sun didn't shine very often.
 I can't conjure up memories of anything beautiful this time of year from my youth. What I do remember as we marched slowly into a late spring was the absence of outside Easter egg hunts, white patent leather shoes covered with mud walking to church on Easter, and freezing weather the time our high school youth group organized an outdoor sunrise service. However I do recall the sweet smell of a blooming Easter Lily with a pot wrapped in pink foil and tied in a pastel bow.
 I paid attention when the lilacs bloomed in May, when we headed to Blum's greenhouse to get pansies and petunias, and the sight of Grandma's snowball bush blooming in her front yard in Spokane. I am sure there were other signs of spring before May, but I just didn't notice.
Now I notice the beauty of all four seasons each day. One reason is that I carry my camera wherever I go and have a visual history of the seasons in the Inland Empire. Another reason is that I try to be present and find beauty in every weather during every season. Today when I trudged through the mud in the driveway I looked at the beauty of the setting sun. The reflection of the frozen snow made me forget the broken branches and dead leaves waiting to be cleaned up in the flower bed by the front walk.
 I will notice beauty tomorrow also and the day after. I don't need a crocus blooming or forsythia buds swelling on the branch to have something to photograph. Tomorrow it may be the bare branches of the fruit trees awaiting spring. What I know for sure is I will have a record of it.
  You can find that first blog post here.

Faceless Portraits Part 2

  I am still experimenting with Faceless Portraits, but this series has a focus below the waist. It was interesting what my camera captured today as I roamed around my classroom while students were taking a test.


At home I continue to capture faceless portraits.

Blog Anniversary #4

On February 17, 2007 I did my first post on this blog. I created a post about the four seasons of the Inland Empire. After that first post I never looked back. I have now posted 1,451 posts and the posts  have varied from memoir pieces, recipes, sibling assignments, photos, gardening tips, poetry, life around our place, road trips around northeastern Washington state,our pets, family, and lots of lots of bouquets. Here are some favorite photos.
Kit right after he arrived to our house.
ice on the greenhouse window
plant starts in the greenhouse window

Annie: My Own Brown Eyes


In early youth I made a vow
That if to Cupid I should bow,
The one for whom he aimed the dart
At my desired, unclaimed heart,
Must have brown eyes; large, soft brown eyes.
Time came when eyes looked into mine;
Large, soft brown eyes that seemed to shine
With intellect. Did I succumb?
Oh yes! for though the lips were dumb,
Those lovely eyes I deemed a prize.
Within their depths devotion shone,
And as they gazed into my own,
They seemed to say, "My love is thine.
Please let me know that I have thine."
And Oh! I knew his heart was true.
My arms his snowy neck entwined,
And I rejoiced a love to find
So worshipful, so constant, true.
How oft they've thrilled me through and through,
My collie's wise, large, soft brown eyes!

by Mrs.S.L.Dempsey 
 ( although mine is a springer spaniel, I still love the poem)

Found Art: Hearts

 As I toured around with my camera yesterday I searched for hearts and created a few new ones also.

 Happy Valentine's Day early!