Friday, December 18, 2009

winter, majestic

deer in winter

The winter can be carried majestically.

Find your majesty, en JOY .

Monday, December 14, 2009


Mergence has been a motif in the last few blogs, and also memory. Winter often blurs the land and the sky; snow can make the sky and land snow. Of course. These snow-made mergences can make a still scene moving.

The images here are mostly pastel, many-layered, on paper.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

JT's gift

Here is a wonderful work by JT, a quiet, small, bright good-friend.
in those rare moments,
      of unexpected clarity
when we and what we see merge,
and we cannot later describe the sensation,
      not even to ourselves,

in those transient moments--
      the iris, the sunset, the ocean wave
      and we become one--
we glimpse the center
from which we have fallen away.

no act of courage or kindness
      can restore us to our home,
only longing--the common stream
      where our thirst was born.


Thursday, December 10, 2009



We are in the midst of a blizzard here. Autumn, any vestige of its color, is gone.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Lorrie Moore writes, with some passages of woman-bird transmergence, about a breakup at the end of her story, "Willing." Haughty, distressed Sidra gives up on a waffling Walter. The tawdry scene is relieved for us by the words themselves. Gosh.
She sat down on the piano bench. Something dark and coagulated moved through her, up from the feet. Something light and breathing fled through her head, the house of her plastic-wrapped and burned down to tar. She heard him give a moan, and some fleeing hope in her, surrounded but alive on the roof, said perhaps he would beg her forgiveness. Promise to be a new man. She might find him attractive as a new, begging man. Though at some point, he would have to stop begging. He would just have to be normal. And then she would dislike him again.

He stayed on the sofa, did not move to comfort or be comforted, and the darkness in her cleaned her out, hollowed her like acid or a wind. . . .

. . . he was saying. But she was already turning into something else, a bird--a flamingo, a hawk, a flamingo-hawk--and was flying up and away, toward the filmy pane of the window, then back again, circling, meanly, with a squint. . . . and she was gone, gone out the window, gone, gone.

Lorrie Moore's book of short stories where "Willing" appears is titled Birds of America.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

albino bird, sparrows, and red-headed woodpecker

albino bird among sparrows

Some birds are more special than others.
Red-headed woodpecker, whenever he appears in our yard, stops me cold, for a good long time I watch.  Fred Astaire in a smartly tailored tuxedo and bright red fez of the bird world. Simply stunning.

For the second year, albino bird has come into our yard, flitting and pecking around the feeders in the company of sparrows. Albino is slender and slightly dun on the head, blackless on the primary featheres and tail--surely not a Bunting then, and probably a female. Probably a "partial albino," because her eyes and beak are not red or pink. She is not bullied, as some odd birds are; she seems to be another sparrow. Except that she is a special bird. My eyes go to the sparrows around her only to compare: is she slightly larger? does she feed, does she move in the same way as the sparrows? I look for her in the yard, and when weeks, months, go by I wonder if she is lost. My spirit hops when she reappears.

Here is a little painting I have done of albino bird (white sparrow) among the sparrows. It is gouache and graphite and pastel on paper.

Sketches of Red-headed woodpecker and white sparrow are in the next (previous) blog entry. These sketches are lost, try as I might to find them. At least I have the photos. Still, I will have some bit of joy to see the originals again, if they reappear.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

lost and found backyard birds

To be explained tomorrow, these sketches of a Red-headed woodpecker and a white sparrow?. Come again?