Sunday, July 31, 2011

farewell to July, so long River

In the scheme of things, having a nose like Jimmy Durante isn't all bad. I mention this dubious insight because for the past couple of summers more and more Pelicans have been visiting the lakes nearby. I love watching them glide in the air, usually in pairs, and meander slowly looking for fish. Its easy for me to identify with the beak, being Italian and all. Having spent a large part of my life wishing I looked like somebody else in one form or another, it occurred to me that even though by our societal standards a pelican is homely, therefore not valuable,  blather the fact that they aren't pretty doesn't seem to matter a bit to them.
My last stone I'm skipping across the river is raised in honor of these fish-eating, beautiful birds who don't seem bothered by how they look. In fact, the only thing on their mind is fish at the moment. Its all good!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Forrest Gump-ing along

July is quickly exhausting itself and I am left with two small stones that have been hiding in my pocket. Namely sublime and ridiculous.
This is my Aunt Yolande on the left at her wedding reception in Idaho. That was mid-century and just last Thursday she passed away. She was in her 90's and was the last remaining member of her family of 5 brothers and one sister. Imagine how I looked up to someone so elegant who had been in New York City learning to model at the Barbizon, who always wore pretty clothes and sat with her left hand in her lap whenever she was eating. The only magazines she had in her house that I remember were Vogue and Harper's Bazaar. She was my Godmother, who studied opera and raised three adopted children, never missed Mass and continued to be the matriarch of the family after her parents died. As in every life, there was plenty of good and a lot of close calls, prejudices, feuding and exclusion. I remember it all. The last time I saw her she told me she was afraid to die, mainly because she thought it must be so painful. I'm hoping not.

Now for that little scratchy pebble called Ridiculous. . .I stopped to take this photo last week because I've seen a lot of things growing out of this topiary dog, but never a squirrel masseuse.  Maybe he's just asking for directions. 
Maybe its the heat and I just thought I saw this. This is one for Camera Critters.

'stupid is as stupid does'

Thursday, July 28, 2011

open season for Orbit

This is what summer days should look like. A calm lake, blue skies, a fishing pole and

and a dog that can fish the bank for you. This guy, named Orbit, was 'walking' quickly back and forth in the shallow water looking for fish. His owner said he loves to fish. He didn't catch any while I was there.
Skywatch Friday where you can see the catch of the day!

a stone's throw from the lake

Yesterday was hot and humid, [surprise]--with a really warm wind. I went for a walk in an older neighborhood. This lovely house with a ecclectic front porch and these lacy curtains caught my eye. They seemed to have a life all their own, celebrating the breeze off the lake.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

b for blue, me for you

ABC Wednesday's letter du jour for Round 9 is B and for me that usually means blue. Today I give you my glass totem in blue. On our way home from our trip to Winnipeg last month we meandered through the historic town Fergus Falls, along the Otter Tail River, where along a boulevard in front of a lovely old house a collection of these handmade 'totems' were for sale. The artist uses all  manner of old glass, molding them together atop an upside down bud vase. They easily slip over an electrical conduit pipe and voila, a light-catcher in my flowers. 
Visit ABC Wednesday, Round 9 for more B's

Sunday, July 24, 2011

small stones buzzing

I am reminded of the tireless industry of insects, birds and animals during the dog days of summer. The yellow Common Mullein blooming now always seems to have some insect buzzing around or a bird resting on top.
Again this season bees are struggling with more viruses causing major colony collapse across North America. I overheard two beekeepers at the local farmers market saying that many beekeepers are 'sharing' bees from each other's hives, trying to keep the hives balanced. So, I was happy to photograph this bee and wishes it well on its journey back to the hive..
To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,
 One clover, and a bee,
 And revery.
The revery alone will do,
If bees are few.
Emily Dickinson
Visit Today's Flowers.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

sweet smooth stones

A tough, hectic week leaving me feeling inept, childish, sweaty...these sandpipers must have been sidestepping the pebbles like the ones that had lodged in my shoes.

Their message: keep moving and notice that your shadow moves with you.

Thank you, dear feathered sages and I guess I'll be grateful to those irritating pebbles.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Skywatch blues

To see the summer sky is poetry.
Emily Dickenson

After five days of record breaking heat index numbers today dawned cool and breezy with bright blue skies--not those heavy, yellow things full of humidity. Ah summer. . .at Snail Lake today.
See more skies from all over our dear planet @ Skywatch Friday.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

like a rock

This morning I was clocked on the head by a big pointy rock--instead of the usual smooth and warm stones I've been collecting.
Rounding the bend around the lake I saw two little creatures, seemingly in repose at the edge of the road. By the time I reached them and got my wits about me I realized that they were two very young racoons both hit by a car, likely following mom or dad back from a midnight drink in the lake.
Heartbreaking. indelible. image.

Sighing, I have thrown this rock stone back in Owasso Lake. 

happy Wednesday

ABC Wednesday begins anew with the letter A for Alcea, or better known as Hollyhock. I don't see them in gardens as much as I used to--I took this photo in Chicago visiting Audrey last year. And a black one at that.

Monday, July 18, 2011

riddle me this:

What do you see first:  a 1956 Chevy BelAir or the Pizza Man?
Me too!
Looking for more red? visit Ruby Tuesday.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

when is a stone not small anymore?

Yesterday when I schlepped up the stairs to the baggage claim to meet Dave's flight I heard the unmistakable sound of live piano music. At the top of the escalator an upright piano lives next to a sign saying, 'I'm a piano. Play me!' The reason I love the piano and don't play is a topic for another lifetime day but suffice it to say that I stopped and stood listening to a young woman sitting straight backed on the very piano bench, wearing flip-flops, weaving a lovely melody for at least ten minutes. Then she stopped, looked at her hands, rose, put on her backpack and I saw her walk away pulling her roller-suitcase behind her. I did thank her because she had indeed stirred my week-weary soul.

Redemption comes in strange places, small spaces
Calling out the best of who we are
 [lyrics from Sara Groves' Add to the Beauty]

Happy weekend, fellow stone gatherers!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

gathering of days

stones in a pile:

the light coming through the birch trees
standing like soldiers

rain, rain, and more rain leaving a heart-shaped bit of fungus growing on my deck

lacy light patterns on the shady walkway

put your small stones one on top of the other and see what they say to you

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

ABC Wednesday zips along

If you have men who will exclude any of God's
 creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.
St. Francis of Assisi  
Z is for zinnia. The National Garden Bureau has chosen Zinnias as their Flower of the Year. Visit their site for 53 colorful views of different zinnia varieties.On a local level I planted these to attract butterflies or hummingbirds.
Z also  marks the end of the alphabet for Mrs Nesbitt's ABC Wednesday. To every alphabet the end must come.

Monday, July 11, 2011

weekend stones in my pocket
the moment I caught sight of the first gloriously blue morning glory to bloom 
the lovely black obelisk for this plant to wind itself around, given to me by a neighbor on the move who had no room to grow things anymore, finding a sunny spot on my 'new' deck
today's smooth stone
the memory of our recent trip to Winnipeg, seeing our friends' car a block away from our hotel, their arms waving out of the windows, and honking their horn in greeting

A scene from the St. Paul farmers market where horses are clopping relays from distant parking lots to the market proper. I never know quite how to feel when I see horses in the city on pavement, in the heat. The market was colorful with rhubarb, radishes, annuals and brown eggs. And red abounds the town.
See more red at Mary's meme, Ruby Tuesday.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Saturday stone

Love your self's self where it lives.
Anne Sexton
Though it sounds a bit Hallmark-y something has taken up residence in my heart that feels a bit like self-acceptance. I think I am essentially the same person I've always been, in spite of a mounting stack of calendar pages.
As I toss this stone across the river, I wonder where it will settle?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

small stones and skywatching

This awesome view was taken from the motorcycle as we were heading home along the Mississippi. The sunset seemed to have a Gypsy's life of its own behind us which I tried to capture in spite of our speed. More captures @ Skywatch Friday.

Listening to the Brubeck Quartet today playing Take Five for possibly the hundredth time I relived the 1960's in just under five minutes. A perfectly smooth small stone skipping across the river.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

word-less Wednesday and one small stone

Jerry Van Amerongen

throwing a small stone in the river today
The lumbering Great Blue Heron flying along next to my car and then above so I could see his curved neck and feet neatly folded. Slow and deliberate with breakfast on his mind.