nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Archive for June 2015

in the shelter of the covered bridge – love stories

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Moores Mills Covered Bridge (Trout Creek #5) – one of New Brunswick’s 60 existing ‘kissing bridges’

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A covered bridge is also known as a ‘kissing bridge’ – a place where a couple can steal a caress in privacy.  A covered bridge has always been a good place to leave a message about affection for one another.

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During our covered bridge visits over the weekend, we saw lots of examples of these messages …

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At least two notations of love in the MacFarlane Covered Bridge (Ward’s Creek #2) …

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Ron and Trish, 2014 and WR and EE, years ago … MacFarlane Bridge 2015

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And another way of linking two sets of initials in the Marven Bridge (Belleisle Creek #2) …

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A heart links J G and CW on the Marven Bridge 2015

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‘Just Married’ in chalk in the Moores Mills Bridge (Trout Creek #5) …

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a chalk message in the Moores Mills Covered Bridge 2015

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And, back in the MacFarlane Bridge, an incomplete notation.  Who did LANA love?

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LANA + in the MacFarlane Covered Bridge 2015

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Copyright  2015  Jane Tims

 

 

Written by jane tims

June 24, 2015 at 7:40 am

in the shelter of the covered bridge – messages left in the bridge

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On our latest drive to see the covered bridges in the watershed of the St. John River, we visited four bridges near Sussex.

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The Urney Covered Bridge (Trout Creek #4) is a relatively small bridge (20.1 meters in length) built in 1905.

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The Urney Covered Bridge (Trout Creek #4) in Kings County. New Brunswick

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The water of Trout Creek is clear and cold – at one end of the bridge is a small sandy beach. The bottom of the stream is mottled with bands of pink bedrock.

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sandy beach along the Trout Creek, at the Urney Bridge 2015

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When my husband and I visit a covered bridge, we look for three things.  First, we look at the structure of the bridge (is the roof sheathed in metal or cedar shingles? what is the roof type? do the timbers show signs of damage?). Next, we look at the plant life growing in, on and around the bridge, and any signs of animals using the bridge.  Then, we look at the markings on the bridge.

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The roof of the Urney Bridge is rafter construction with a ridge board. The roof is sheathed in metal.

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Markings tend to be of three types: carving, paint and chalk.  To me, some of these markings are more destructive than decorative – spray paint in various shades of fluorescent paint is more and more common.  Carvings made in the wood with knives or other sharp instruments seem more decorative to me.  Chalk is more ephemeral. All have historical statements to make.  I think the spray paint is a commentary on ‘modern’ times – a tendency to choose the quick and easy.  Carvings take effort and are characteristic of a less time-constrained age.  All these ‘tags’ tell a story.  The stories I like the best include initials, an indication of relationship and a date (J. T. + G. T. 2015).

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A symbol in spray paint on the Urney Bridge.

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Some of the messages left in a bridge are unique.  I like the simple carving below. Perhaps it is meant to represent a house or the covered bridge itself.  It looks unfinished, as though the carver was interrupted, or meant to return to finish the carving.  To me it is a portrayal of the importance of shelter in all our lives.

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simple carving of a shelter on the Urney Covered Bridge 2015

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Copyright  2015  Jane Tims

 

Written by jane tims

June 22, 2015 at 7:17 am

walk on the shore

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ignition

Sea-rocket (Cakile edentula Hook.)

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clumps of Sea-rocket

are splashes of lime on sand

missiles from lavender flowers

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pepper to tongue

pungent breath of Cakile

cardamom and caraway

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flavour our laughter

giggles of gulls cross sober sand

intervention in sluggish lives

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launches from Cape Canaveral

moon-walking on the beach

splash-downs in Sargasso Seas

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most days are moth-eaten –

paper cuts, missives, e-mails to answer

problems, resolutions without teeth

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the seawind smooths its sand

begs for someone to take a stick

scratch out a love song

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Copyright 2015  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

June 17, 2015 at 7:35 am

summer on the river

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St. John River, south of Fredericton

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drinks on the patio

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the setting spins

on the river

golden while the mayflies dance

with gilded wings

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this is conversation!

a cold glass

singing ice

white wicker

umbrella shade

the hills

wistful beyond the gauze

of mayfly dancing

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you are dazzled by the play of sun

and words on water

your voice

your smile

who cares what you are saying

as long as the lines are long

and the tone is light

and the mayflies stir

the air above the river

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I listen

with a nod of my head

a flutter of my hand

the corners of my mouth lift

to smile

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my ears and eyes

have better things to do

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the sunlight slides on cobwebs

spun across the river

our voices slur

while the mayflies dance

the rise and fall

of their glass bodies

and your laughter

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liquid on water

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St. John River, south of Fredericton

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Published as ‘drinks on the patio’, Pottersfield Portfolio 17 (3), Spring 1997.

Copyright  2015  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

June 15, 2015 at 7:47 am

washday

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A few years ago, we took a vacation to les Îles de la Madeleines, also known as the Magdalen Islands, in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and part of the Province of Quebec.  We loved the ferry rides to and from the Islands, the endless white sand beaches, the artisans, and the demonstrations of wind sailing.  Most of all, I loved the colourful houses.  I always planned to try to capture the beaches and those houses in a painting.  I finally completed my tryptic called ‘washday #1’, ‘washday #2’ and ‘washday #3’.

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June 9, 2015 'washday#1' Jane Tims

June 9, 2015 ‘washday#1’ Jane Tims

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June 9, 2015 'washday#2' Jane Tims

June 9, 2015 ‘washday#2’ Jane Tims

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June 9, 2015 'washday#3' Jane Tims

June 9, 2015 ‘washday#3’ Jane Tims

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And the three together:

June 9, 2015 'washday'  Jane Tims

June 9, 2015 ‘washday’ Jane Tims

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Copyright  2015  Jane Tims

in the shelter of the covered bridge – hummingbird hawkmoths

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At one end of the Benton Covered Bridge (Eel River #3) is a large Lilac bush.

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Lilac by the Benton Bridge

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Since I was looking for wild life in the vicinity of the bridge, I was delighted to see what appeared to be bumblebees or hummingbirds busy gathering nectar from the Lilac blossoms.

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moth getting nectar from the flowers – you can see his orangy body and dark antennae

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As we approached, we realised these were not bumblebees or hummingbirds, but a type of ‘hummingbird hawkmoth’.  They behaved like hummingbirds, darting among the flowers, backing up and slipping sideways.  Their transparent wings were a blur, they moved so fast.  Their bodies were striped in gold and black and their bodies were very hairy.

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hummingbird hawkmoth, his wings a blur, gathering nectar

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Although my photographs are not very clear, with help from the New Brunswick Museum staff, I now know these are Hummingbird Clearwing moths (Hemaris thysbe).  Although I listened carefully, I could not hear the sound their wings made, since the rippling of the water in the river was so loud!

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There were hundreds of moths in the Lilac bush.  The hummingbird hawkmoths shared their feast with a group of very nervous Canadian Tiger Swallowtail butterflies (Papilio canadensis).

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The Lilac scent was overwhelming, thick and sweet.  If that scent was a room, it would be a Victorian parlour.  If it was a textile it would be deep-purple satin.  If it was weather, it would be a sultry August evening.  If it was a light, it would be a Moroccan lantern … and so on.

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Copyright 2015 Jane Tims

 

in the shelter of the covered bridge – Stonefly nymphs

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These days, I am having a great time visiting some of the covered bridges in New Brunswick. I have visited many of the bridges before, but mostly to learn about their history.  Now I am planning a project to look at the plants and animals living in or around covered bridges, so I am trying to get a feel for the subject to see what species I am likely to meet.

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Benton Covered Bridge (Eel River #3)

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This weekend, we visited the Benton Covered Bridge (Eel River #3) in west-central New Brunswick.  Benton is a small community on the Eel River.  The bridge, 31.9 meters long, was built in 1927.

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Benton Bridge on Eel River showing part of the community park on one side

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The Eel River is a pleasant shallow river.  When we were there, people were fishing with rod and reel.  We noticed a digger log had been installed in the river, often done as a way of encouraging the river to dig deeper pools and improve fish habitat.

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Eel River – a digger log has been installed in the river, the long line of flowing water above the center of the photo, running from 8:00 to 2:00 – the log causes the water downstream to dig a deeper pool and simulates the action of fallen trees in a natural river

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My search for wild life in and around the bridge was rewarded by the discovery of Stonefly nymphs clinging to the wooden walls of the bridge.

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Two Stonefly nymphs on the wall at the end of the bridge – the cerci are hard to see – they are a pair of extensions at the end of the abdomen, pointing upward in the photo, between the hind pair of legs – the cerci are almost as long as the insect itself

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Not particularly beautiful to me, the nymph is a life-stage on the way to the adult form.  Stoneflies (Order Plecoptera) are identified by their narrow bodies and the long pair of cerci at the end of the abdomen (cerci are long appendages on the rear abdomen of many insects).  I was never any good at insect identification when I worked in the field of water quality, so I am not certain which Family of the Order Plecoptera they belong to.

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There were Stonefly nymphs all over the bridge walls, inside and out.  I was happy to see these insects because they are an indicator of good to excellent water quality.  Anglers love to see these insects in a stream or river because it usually means good fishing.

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inside the Benton Bridge

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I nudged one of the nymphs with a pen and he did not budge a millimeter.  In spite of his inaction, I am certain he will be the hero of a future poem about life in the shelter of the covered bridge!

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Copyright  2015  Jane Tims   

 

Written by jane tims

June 8, 2015 at 7:23 am

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