Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Sighing, Wailing and More Rain

Sighing, wailing and screeching echo through the woods as the wind pounds trees against one another branches flailing wildly. A tree came down during the night the sound unnoticed in the tempest of the wind and rain.

Rising sun is hidden behind layers of clouds and shifting fog that thickens as the ground begins to warm.

The earth is saturated with the rain. With each step water squishes over my feet as I stroll out to the boggy meadow taking pictures of the sun and fog. Rain-wet leaves and mosses glisten in the misty morning light. Raindrops clinging to the white pine needles sparkle and shimmer as the sunlight breaks through the fog.

Nothing that is can pause or stay;
The moon will wax, the moon will wane,
The mist and cloud will turn to rain,
The rain to mist and cloud again,
Tomorrow be today.

- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


A rainy day is a good time to continue gathering information about the history of our area:

Along the Upper Delaware River where the present boundaries of the states of New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania meet is the Town of Lumberland. Part of Ulster County before it was divided, the Town of Lumberland came into being March 16 1798. Ulster County was one of New York’s original divisions organized in 1688.

On December17th, 1743, a precinct was formed called Mamakating. Some historians say it was called Mamacotten. It included Lumberland and all of what is now Sullivan County but was at that time still a part of Ulster County. Lumberland was organized in 1798 then Sullivan County was formed in 1809 The first Supervisor and Town Clerk of the Town of Lumberland, Daniel Bush, was appointed on June 4, 1798. Lumberland was bounded on the east by the Mongaup River on the south and west by the Delaware River; on the northwest by Delaware County; and on the Northeast by what has become the Towns of Neversink and Rockland.

The land was covered with rich forests of oak, chestnut, white and yellow pine and hemlock. Many of the settlers living in the Delaware River Valley were engaged in cutting timber hence the town name of Lumberland.

By 1800 the population of Lumberland was approximately 733 persons.

Prior to the revolutionary war, a man named John Showers lived near the falls of the Mongaup. He kept a tavern and sold or traded whisky; black powder; fabric; food staples and various and sundry items to the trappers and other travelers who passed.
Lumbermen and tanners are among the first settlers in the area. That is where Lumberland gets its name. During the early 1800`s there were several hundred tanneries in Sullivan county.. The leather from these tanneries was of superior quality and during the civil war was used to make many of the boots, saddles and other leather goods used by the Union Army. In fact Mamakating tanneries, in the year 1850, produced 29,000 hides of leather from five water and horse powered tanneries. Historian James Eldridge Quinlan wrote: There’s an old saying, “The Civil War was won with the boots tanned in Sullivan County."

Quiet Time

The house is silent and empty for the first time in days. Everyone is off to his or her differing tasks and appointments in the city for the week.

Fog and clouds creep in as the sun comes up. Well I guess the sun came up…. There is light but the fog surrounds the clearing; clouds block the sun and these few acres of land seem cut off from the rest of the world. Warm winds have set the trees to motion. Not a sign of ice or snow is left. Thermometer on the deck reads 58° at seven am. Wave after wave of clouds billow across the sky.

Our retreat is situated on a side hill. Only half an acre of the seven acres is cleared; the rest are wooded and provide protection from the winds and storms as they pass up or down the Mongaup river canyon.

There is a constant whoosh of air, the sound nearly melodic as it accompanies the winds as they push trees to and fro. Wind eddies traveling up the hillside pick leaves from the ground lifting them high above the treetops and fling them down to fall again in new patterns to cover the woodland floor. At times the air is so filled with leaves that it is like a blizzard swirling around the clearing. Mid-day the rain begins; wet leaves now stay on the ground. By early evening there is a constant drumming of the rain on the roof. The birdbaths are filled with rainwater; any small depression in the earth has become a small pool; water is beginning to form into small rivulets that race down the hillside.

On this day in history Louisa May Alcott was born in Germantown, Pennsylvania on November 29, 1832.

Monday, November 28, 2005


Watched the changing cloud formations as the sun came up — changing light patterns continue for over an hour. String after string of Canada Geese passing overhead. Did you know that it takes 12,000 muscles for the Canada goose, to move its feathers?

by William Wordsworth
Happier of happy though I be, like them
I cannot take possession of the sky,
Mount with a thoughtless impulse, and wheel there,
One of a mightly multitude whose way
And motion is a harmony and dance
Long before I could see them, the sounds of a passing flock of crows drifted through closed windows. Soaring in, they would stop for a moment in a pine or hemlock, drop to the ground, patrol the clearing, pick at a seed or other tidbit and back into the air. Couldn’t count them… Black is their color yet light playing on their glossy feather brings an array of iridescent purple, green and blue. The clouded sky provides a perfect backdrop to watch their aerial ballet. I have to admit that I am glad they didn’t stay long but I did enjoy their short visit.
“Here in central New York, they are among the few birds that are obvious in the depths of winter other than chickadees at a feeder. But for all their familiarity, most people don't have a clue about the complex and interesting lives that crows lead”. Kevin J. McGowan

Got most of the yard tools cleaned and put away for winter, rolled up hoses, covered mowers, swept the decks and now we just have a few more bulbs to plant and a lot of pots to stack and store until spring. Most of the yard chores are finished --- ok, so we will have to shovel the walks and drive but otherwise….

We are directly across from a Bald Eagle Preserve. Last winter we counted well over five-dozen eagles while searching along the Mongaup River and the Rio Dam area. In trying to learn a bit more about the eagle preserve I became interested in learning more about the history and ecology of our area, more about that to come in future postings.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Cold and Gray

Stars seemingly close enough to touch when we go to bed, are covered with clouds by morning. Just before dawn, sharp barking from the neighbors’ dog draws me to the window. Normally, he rests quietly on the deck; when he barks there are usually visitors in the yard. A burst of high-pitched rapid barking followed his deeper woofs. I didn’t recognize the sound of the new voice but now I was certain --- something is in the yard! At first nothing was visible in the darkness - then I saw some movement near the storage shed. The yard lights came on just in time for me to watch a red fox rapidly cross the clearing and pass quietly over the bank then out of sight as he headed back down to the river. Cold and gray --- the combination slows things down in the woods. Cold temperatures held the light covering of snow through the day—Only the slightest sprinkling of snowflakes whirled around the rooftop this morning. The somber gray skies continued until darkness fell. Through the stillness the sound of water splashing against stones in the river travels up to the house. The action today was from the birds coming to the feeders. There are fewer cardinals and woodpeckers than in the past couple of years. Usually the cold brings them to the feeders. Two brilliant male cardinals could be seen in the thickets behind the house and a single downy woodpecker came to the suet feeder today. Even the bravest of the chipmunks did not come out to face the chill nip of the wind .

When Winter fringes every bough
With his fantastic wreath,
And puts the seal of silence now
Upon the leaves beneath;

When every stream in its penthouse
Goes gurgling on its way,
And in his gallery the mouse
Nibbleth the meadow hay;

Methinks the summer still is nigh,
And lurketh underneath,
At that same meadow mouse doth lie
Snug in that last year's heath.

And if perchance the chickadee
Lisp a faint note anon,
The snow is summer's canopy,
Which she herself put on.

Fair blossoms deck the cheerful trees,
And dazzling fruits depend;
The north wind sighs a summer breeze,
The nipping frosts to fend,

Bringing glad tidings unto me,
The while I stand all ear,
Of a serene eternity,
Which need not winter fear.

Out on the silent pond straightway
The restless ice doth crack,
And pond sprites merry gambols play
Amid the deafening rack.

Eager I hasten to the vale,
As if I heard brave news,
How nature held high festival,
Which it were hard to lose.

I gambol with my neighbor ice,
And sympathizing quake,
As each new crack darts in a trice
Across the gladsome lake.

One with the cricket in the ground,
And fagot on the hearth,
Resounds the rare domestic sound
Along the forest path.
--- Henry David Thoreau

Friday, November 25, 2005


"May you grow still enough to hear the small noises earth makes in preparing for the long sleep of winter,
so that you yourself may grow calm and grounded deep within.
May you grow still enough to hear the trickling of water seeping into the ground,
so that your soul may be softened and healed, and guided in its flow.
May you grow still enough to hear the splintering of starlight in the winter sky and roar at earth's fiery core.
May you grow still enough to hear the stir of a single snowflake in the air,
so that your inner silence may turn into hushed expectation"
--- David Steindl-Rast Couldn't sleep this morning. Perhaps the moonlight shimmering through my window enticed me up to the loft where I could enjoy the patterns coming through the skylight.

Early light touches winter barren branches and lightly frosted roofs - gentle puffs of steam rise from chimneys and vents. The world is waking up. Wisps of fog linger in low branches draped like a scarf across outstretched arms.

Crunching my way out through the frosted grass and leaves, I stir up dozens of small birds gathering grass seeds. The water is still dripping in the birdbath --- in spite of the cold it is attracting chickadees for a quick drink or dip. The cold temperatures bring more birds to the clearing and to the feeders. When I move slowly, the birds seem nearly tame.

Another light dusting of snow midmorning and clouds play overhead the rest of the day.

Thursday, November 24, 2005


Ben Franklin On The Turkey As National Bird
"For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly. You may have seen him perched on some dead Tree near the River, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the Labour of the Fishing Hawk; and when that diligent Bird has at length taken a Fish, and is bearing it to his Nest for the Support of his Mate and young Ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him and takes it from him.

"With all this Injustice, he is never in good Case but like those among Men who live by Sharping & Robbing he is generally poor and often very lousy. Besides he is a rank Coward: The little King Bird not bigger than a Sparrow attacks him boldly and drives him out of the District. He is therefore by no means a proper Emblem for the brave and honest Cincinnati of America who have driven all the King birds from our Country....

"I am on this account not displeased that the Figure is not known as a Bald Eagle, but looks more like a Turkey. For the Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America... He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on."
--Benjamin Franklin --- In a letter to his daughter, written from France on January 26, 1784

Light snow began our day. Large feathery flakes drifting through the yard. They lightly frost the trees. Snow changes to rain, washes off the frosting and in an hour or so, it begins to snow again.

Put out extra seeds for the birds, corn for the squirrels and enjoyed a delightful day. We were able to get the last of the plants tucked in for the winter. Shared a day with good friends fellowship and food. I guess in part that is what Thanksgiving is all about.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Dawn to Dusk

Clouds dissipate and a waning three-quarter moon sends fingers of light tracing patterns on my walls and covering my face with a blanket of light. Daylight comes in softly; tints of color slowly increase. Sunset is often vibrant and bold but this morning light is softer than a cloud drifting in on silent wings, so soft I can scarcely tell just when the darkness changed to light. The sprinkling of snow that fell early last evening disappears in a whiff of mist as the sun rises
From the moment my eyes can separate shapes and make out anything at all, the cardinal and the fox sparrow are already at breakfast. They are soon joined by the goldfinch, titmice and chickadees. It is barely light enough to see who they are. A goldfinch huddles close to a feeder, soaking up the warmth from a nearby window.

As the light increases, a downy woodpecker and white-throated sparrows arrive. Then the squirrels and nuthatches come in like whirlwinds taking over the entire yard. I was interested to discover that in 1749 Pennsylvania paid bounties on 640,000 gray squirrels - and we thought there were a lot of gray squirrels in our neighborhood!

Frosted leaves crunch under my feet as I work my way up the hill into the woods. My path takes me through bright green ferns and past bright yellow wilted witch hazel blossom. The glossy deep green leaves and scarlet berries of the wintergreen nestled just above the ground sending out a minty fragrance when I brush against them as I pass by. Some last minute chores take us to the library and on to town. On our return we drive above the Rio Dam on Plank Road watching for Bald Eagles in the wildlife preserve. Although we searched carefully up and down the trees along the river, we found no eagles this evening. But coming over a rise we found refreshment for our soul. There is really nothing special in a few weeds and a bit of water until touched by the light from the lowering sun --- we delight in pausing to watch the reflection moving across the waters as the day wanes and the light fades.

I returned home with my treasures ---- a new drawing journal and new pencils. Some of my friends tell me that blank paper is a roadblock, for me the fresh clean paper is a source of inspiration and an invitation to wander new paths.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." -- John Fitzgerald Kennedy

A moment I will never forget took place forty-two years ago today. Time stood still for us when we heard that John Kennedy had been shot in Dallas. Only a few other events are etched as deeply in my memory.

A few days ago, as I was collection thoughts and ideas about thanksgiving and gratitude, I clipped the quote from JFK and thought I would include it in my journal during the days leading up to thanksgiving. Last night, I recognized that this is the day to include his words. What is it about overcast skies that weaves a sense of mystery into the scene below? Dark clouds against white-clad mountains or gray fog whispering through city streets: the real practical message is “its going to rain” or storm. But in the mist, when observed from a warm dry room, there is a nearly romantic sense of something behind the mist: something exciting will come out of the gloom. I sit at the window unconsciously waiting for “something.” A brilliant shaft of light breaks through the clouds painting fantastic illusive scenes before my eyes --- there is “something more.” “Something” unseen but nearly real – a presence almost felt. A misty day can do that --- to a listening, aware imagination….

“I cannot believe that the inscrutable
universe turns on an axis of suffering;
surely the strange beauty of the world
must somewhere rest on pure Joy!”
--- Louis Bogan

As if a switch has been turned, there is no longer sun mixed with rain, but heavy dark clouds driven by wild winds, whipping the trees with angry fury as though doing battle with the earth. Howling up from the river, whipping around the corners of the house, setting the house and the tall trees to creaking and complaining. Pine branches are broken from the trees and brought by the wind to rest on the deck --- the air is refreshed with the scent of pine wafting into the house. Fallen leaves are picked up and blown so fiercely through the tumultuous air that the yard is nearly cleared.
Temperatures drop rapidly; the day is ending in a tempest. Birds flee to thickets and find refuge by huddling close to sturdy tree trunks. Along with the birds, we prepare for the approaching storm.

The setting sun catches the edges of the clouds and momentarily fills my view with glory as it gilds the rapidly darkening sky.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Small Things

"I do not think of all the misery, but of the glory that remains. Go outside into the fields, nature and the sun, go out and seek happiness in yourself and in God. Think of the beauty that again and again discharges itself within and without you and be happy." -- Ann Frank

As the first light of dawn touched the clearing and the small birds began coming to the feeders the Sharp-shined Hawk made a dive-bombing patrol of the area. Immediately the littler birds dove for cover and blue jays and crows raised their voices in raucous disapproval of his presence. After waiting in a Hemlock branch for a while, he lifted from his perch, made a long gliding turn and soared out along the river to search for his breakfast.

Hidden in protected areas we can still find a few growing things. A stroll around the edges of the clearing revealed several different kinds of mosses, mushrooms and lichens.
Although I am somewhat familiar with mushrooms in other areas of the country, many of the ones we find around our yard are still new to me and I enjoy them for their beauty without yet knowing their names.

The leathery little leaves of the trailing arbutus are beginning to appear. They are promises, although we will see nothing but leaves for months, they are reminders that the earth is preparing for spring. The white and pink flowers appear fragile and delicate yet they are some of the first blossoms to appear and survive the late snow showers.

Green hair cap moss, and club mosses carpet the outer edges of the clearing, showing a bright contrast against the cinnamon brown of the ferns. Scarlet mushrooms decorate the brown woodland floor.

Preparations continue for our family time together; a delightful fragrance results from the days labors.

“The king and high priest of all the festivals was the autumn Thanksgiving. When the apples were all gathered and the cider was all made, and the yellow pumpkins were rolled in from many a hill in billows of gold, and the corn was husked, and the labors of the season were done, and the warm, late days of Indian Summer came in, dreamy, and calm, and still, with just enough frost to crisp the ground of a morning, but with warm traces of benignant, sunny hours at noon, there came over the community a sort of genial repose of spirit - a sense of something accomplished." --- Harriet Beecher Stowe

Cold rain this evening with the weather people promising us snow tomorrow.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Thyme, Sage and Memories

Apple, cinnamon, nutmeg, sage, thyme and a variety of other spices and herbs blend with baking sweet potatoes, celery and onions. The scents waft through the house and out into the woods. Good food, home, fellowship, family; holiday preparations redolent with a sense of Thanksgivings past. I stop for a moment to think of the abundant blessings we experience each day.

Reflecting on these things brings me to the very special blessing of the serenity of our hillside retreat. This morning we went into a near by town to pick up groceries and supplies. There is still a small town feel, people are friendly, not a taxicab or limo in sight. There is parking along the street, no parking meters, even a flea market in a vacant field. It is great to have the bounty available in the supermarket and department store yet what a relief to return home to our woodland refuge after the “rush and hassle” of shopping.

The busy city is no longer part of my daily life. How easy it is to forget the dirt and smog saturated with the cacophony of thousands of people going about their daily tasks.
Instead of the clank and clunk of garbage trucks, squealing brakes and honking horns, I now awake to the whisper of the wind through the pines and the chatter of Blue jays, Crows and Canada Geese.

Aren’t animals that hibernate supposed to find their way into their dens when it gets cold? Icicles hang from the birdbath and coat the grasses but a small chipmunk is out gathering seeds until his cheeks are about to pop, racing away for a few minutes and then coming back for more.

We seldom see cars stopped along the highway but the flash of taillights through the trees caught my attention. Just at the bottom of our drive several cars stopped to watch another late forager searching for his last meal before heading for a long winter’s sleep.

Saturday, November 19, 2005


"Two sounds of autumn are unmistakable, the hurrying rustle of crisp leaves blown along the street or road by a gusty wind, and the gabble of a flock of migrating geese. Both are warnings of chill days ahead, fireside and topcoat weather." --- Hal Borland

Seventeen degrees at sunup. Not a cloud in the sky.

The clearing is literally covered with leaves that have fallen during the past week. Playful breezes snatch up leaves from the ground and whirl them up above the treetops before setting them down on the opposite side of the clearing or even far down the hillside.

I saw old Autumn in the misty morn
Stand shadowless
like silence,
To silence.
--- Thomas Hood, Ode: Autumn, 1827

The silence is broken by the drumming and calling of a Pileated woodpecker chasing grubs deep in a tall snag standing along the power easement.

How cold it is! Even the lights are cold;
They have put shawls of fog around them, see!
What if the air should grow so dimly white
That we would lose our way along the paths
Made new by walls of moving mist receding
The more we follow. . . . What a silver night!
That was our bench the time you said to me
The long new poem -- but how different now,
How eerie with the curtain of the fog
Making it strange to all the friendly trees!
--- Sara Teasdale, A November Night

The deck railing is decorated with small birds; chickadees, goldfinches, titmice and nuthatches all vying with one another for the seeds left overnight. I put out a few more hands full of seeds thinking there would be enough for each bird to have its share. Soon they were joined by juncos, blue jays and gray squirrels each jockeying for a place in line. Every perch on the feeders has birds coming in like jets into Kennedy Airport on a holiday weekend. The large feeders host purple finches and an occasional cardinal or rose-breasted grosbeak.
I emptied the birdbath of its saucer of ice and filled it with warm water. In less than half an hour ice was beginning to form again.

"I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape - the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn't show." ~Andrew Wyeth

Friday, November 18, 2005


Light pouring across my face awakens me. Moonlight floods the house and clearing … stars close enough to hang along the roof.

Moon still brilliant to the west as the purple night fades into azure in the east. A peaceful dawning, purple and blue warmed by tints of apricot, floods of sun-gold glowing and shimmering through the woods.

Frosty enough to make my nose tingle when I stick it out the door. The chill air penetrates even my down jacket, seeming to creep under every loose edge, chilling enough to induce me to watch the sunrise from the living room windows.

Geese rising high overhead are calling encouragement to one another as they begin their morning journey

The wild gander leads his flock through the cool night,
Ya-honk! he says, and sounds it down to me like an invitation:
The pert may suppose it meaningless, but I listen closer,
I find its purpose and place up there toward the November sky.
--- Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass, 1855, I Celebrate Myself

Crystal clear blue skies dotted with clouds thrown in by an artistic hand, air filled with sparkles.

My internal clock tells me that this is the day we moved from fall to winter. The thermometer on the deck read 19( at first light. I looked it up --- for 2005-2006 Winter officially begins on December 21, 1:35 PM and doesn’t end until March 20, 1:26 PM but when the leaves are gone from the trees; frost covers the windows and the ground and the birdbath is frozen --- I think it’s “winter.”

The cooler temperatures have sent the birds and small critters in mass to the feeders.

Seeds and crumbs dropped by the birds seem to have tempted a couple of deer. We have seen few deer in the yard this season. Most mornings we can hear shots from across the river where hopeful hunters brave the early chill I am surprised to see the deer feeding peacefully when the hunters are so close.

“A few days ago I walked along the edge of the lake and was treated to the crunch and rustle of leaves with each step I made. The acoustics of this season are different and all sounds, no matter how hushed, are as crisp as autumn air.” --- Eric Sloane

Thursday, November 17, 2005

For the Birds

Frost patterns on the windows, frozen bird baths and ice crystals covering the grasses tempt me to slide deep under the down quilt and wait for a warmer day. Finally beguiled by shimmer of early light on the trees my feet took me to check the thermometer --- 32°…

“…Frost this morning; all the meadow grass and some of the pine needles sparkling with irised crystals. --- flowers of light . . .” John Muir, My First Summer in the Sierra.

Birdfeeders have to be set back out. Until it stays really cold they have to come in each night or the bears will destroy them. I don’t mind sharing with the bear but I don’t like what he does to my feeders.

I grab my camera as I head out with the feeders. A bit of bright gold and orange at the corner of the deck brings my camera to focus on the last of the summer flowers. Although I cover the tender plants each night, the heavy frost will take its toll. The tansy will simply turn brown but the Nasturtiums and the beauty they have brought all summer long will likely be gone by tomorrow.

The clearing is filled with bird songs. I spread a few sunflower seeds on the deck railing. Chickadees, goldfinches and nuthatches begin snatching seeds almost before I can get the feeders hung.

“… And how soft and lovely the light streaming through this living ceiling, revealing the arching branching ribs and veins of the fronds as the framework of countless panes of pale green and yellow plant-glass nicely fitted together --- a fairyland created out of the commonest fernstuff.” John Muir “My First Summer in the Sierra

Luminous light penetrates the fall leaves … Oh, where are the paints and the words to describe them.

The abrupt cessation of bird songs grabs my attention. Diving silently past me a Sharp-shinned hawk homes in on birds cowering behind a feeder. With a sudden cacophony of sound and a flurry of feathers, goldfinches, titmice and passing crows turn on the slender hawk. The aerobatic show is on: Up and down through the clearing, swooping and turning the hawk attempts to avoid the irate darting defenders. This time the predator looses… Taking refuge in a tall white pine, he pauses for a moment before his swift wings take him far down the river and out of sight.

Following the light as it plays through the clearing, I come upon new treasures to add to my collection of memories for this day. I store away the colors that I have no words to describe of persimmon leaves and a Blue Jay feather.

Mid-afternoon I was back outside chasing light patterns through the woods and around the edges of the clearing.

Gliding low above the trees a mature Bald Eagle traversed the clearing. Although I pointed the camera his direction,--- How could I miss? The closest I have been to an eagle in the air and --- I missed. My reward was watching him climb toward the clouds, circling and soaring overhead for nearly five minutes. Surprisingly, the small birds ignored his presence and continued snatching tidbits from the feeders.

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike.” John Muir - The Yosemite (1912), page 256.

Reading today: --- You guessed it “The Mountains of California” by John Muir

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

A Place Apart

A Place Apart

Mist rises from the clearing; fog swirls in from the hills, slowly drifting through the woods, winding around the cottage to enclose us in an enchanted shroud creating a barrier, however soft and permiable, from the world beyond these secluded walls.

Fleeting glimpses of vivid royal blue flash through the mist drawing me to rocky edges of the woods. Hidden in the midst of dried ferns and grasses, reached only by a precarious track through waist high goldenrod and brambles, Monkshood is blooming.

Nearly stepped into a lush clump of “British Soldiers” lichen and some small taupe mushrooms. Haven’t been able to identify the mushrooms yet. The Monkshood is very difficult to photograph. Once the logistical problems have been surmounted for some reason the camera does not pick up the lovely deep purple/blue color.

Reading today: The Secret Man: The Story of Watergate’s Deep Throat by Bob Woodward

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


Soliloquy: Talking to oneself when no one else is present: a discourse uttered with none to hear.

The yard is filled with fallen leaves — Rain patters on the roof. Outside temperature is 37
A wonderful day for being inside. Cosy and warm in my loft retreat.
Today is the day I will begin to blog!

Rainy Days
According to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
"The day is cold, and dark, and dreary
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
The vine still clings to the mouldering wall,
But at every gust the dead leaves fall,
And the day is dark and dreary. ..."
He has a point — but for me — This particular rainy day is a time of opportunity, a time for reflection, for cleaning out the corners and for "new beginnings..."

Rainy days
are good for new beginnings...
and for
searching out
the unfinished
sorting the bits and pieces
the remnants of my life
hopes and dreams
Bringing them together
starting afresh
new beginnings

Wanted to use "Soliloquy" as my blog name --- it has already been taken.

Searched my mind for words that might not yet be in common use and remember one that stumped me a few days ago "endment"

Endment: Small remnant, or end of a bolt of fabric. (definition found in "Language of Fashion: A Dictionary and Digest of Fabric, Sewing, and Dress" by Picken, Mary Brooks, New York and London: Funk & Wagnalls, p. 52.)

So "Endment" it is... The remnant of my thoughts for the day...
Endment is appropriate for the musings of retirement. Thinking about ways to use the end of a bolt of fabric. Boxes of colored fabrics fill my drawers and shelves. Soft vibrant silk velvet; crisp tissue taffeta; softest cotton batiste, bits of lace and ribbon, a kaleidoscope of color, remnant of past visions that have not yet begun to grow but rest dormant waiting for new inspiration and vision.
Tracking the word "Endment" was an adventure in itself. I discovered the word as part of a contest from The Costume Gallery, Having delight in the lifelong adventure of finding new words — I began my search with gleeful anticipation. I searched my old unabridged dictionary and found — nothing. Internet searches brought up only computer generated misspelling of the word amendment. After reaching out to my internet friends, I asked a legal research librarian, requested illumination from a professor at Andrews University, requested help from several New York City resources and even a research librarian at Duke University. — Several days past and messages and phone calls came in with — nothing. I contacted an acquaintance who works with the costume department of a large museum and they also came back with — nothing. Anxiously checking the results of the contest, winners were announced but the answers didn’t show up on the site. My curiosity kept me searching but I had to continue waiting until finally the definition and source came up on the web site. Voilà! An addition to my vocabulary but even more a word that seems to represent the present state of my world.... Remnants.