Archive for the ‘above the ground’ Category
the space: the surface of the power pole in front of our house
the beautiful: the pattern of shadow through bug-eaten leaves
The power pole in front of our house is habitat for a vine of Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia (L.) Planch.). also known as Woodbine. I brought the vine home about thirty years ago, as a slip collected from a plant in the park beside the St. John River. Over the years, it has struggle against the winds, determined to blow it from its perch, the power company, unhappy with its use of the pole, and the lawn mower as it snips away at the horizontal tendrils.
This year, it has a new challenge to overcome. An insect has chewed the vine full of holes… probably not a severe problem for the plant.
On Friday, I caught the shadow pattern created by the bug-eaten leaves as the sun shone at the right angle for a moment… a new way to see the consequence of belonging to the food chain!
© Jane Tims 2012
This week, as Red Maple (Acer rubrum) flowers bloom, the woodland blushes scarlet. In the driveway, a tree-shadow of blossoms has begun to form, as the flower clusters reach their peak and then drop to the ground.
Each flower is a puff of reddish-pink bracts surrounding the male and female flower parts. The stamens (the male part of the flower) consist of a thin filament topped by a dark anther where the pollen is formed. The pistil (the female part) is made of a style topped by a stigma; once fertilised by pollen, the maple seeds will form here. Red maple flowers may have both stamens and pistils, or may be only male or only female. The flower looks like a tiny fireworks, the burst-effect created by a bundle of stamens or stigmas.
When I went to Dalhousie University in Halifax, I always loved the flowering of the Norway Maples (Acer platanoides) in spring. Their flowers are green and most people mistake them for new leaves. I used to wonder what the ecosystem consequences might be if the flowers were bright orange or purple instead of green.
red maple blossoms
across brown sky
strontium bursts of bright
© Jane Tims 2012
the space: above the roadway, at an intersection, in the fog
the beautiful: green, yellow and red traffic lights, seeming to hover, like jewels in the fog
Traffic lights!!! Beautiful??? Perhaps you will never agree. But I think those lights, when seen on a foggy day, suspended as if from the sky itself, are as beautiful as jewels. Emerald, topaz and ruby.
Copyright Jane Tims 2012
The most frequent denizens of the pine are a pair of Bohemian Waxwings (Bombycilla garrulus). They prefer berries for food and so are in their ideal habitat. Our property must look like a big dinner plate to them, with its orderly presentation of wild strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, hawthorn and winterberry.
Another bird who stops to rest in the pine is the American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis), also known as the Thistle bird. These are seed-eating birds who fly across the fields in a distinctive pattern of loops. They are also one of the most common birds at our winter bird feeder.
we fly kites
to learn the field and sky
set copper whirligigs to spin
yellow flirt crosses blue
potato-chip potato-chip potato-chip
we build our cabin
with 2 by 4s, boards and trusses
woodscrews and spiral nails
woven grass and birch
bark rim and spider silk
you fill walls with fiberglass
I quilt curtains for windows
goldfinch waits while his female tucks
her nest with thistledown
tufts of cattail, puffs of dandelion
© Jane Tims 2011
Of all the birds, I like the American crow (Corvus brachyrynchos) the best.
For one thing, they seem to me to be full of personality. I also know that crows are intelligent – research shows they can distinguish humans from one another by facial features. Crows also stay in family groups (parents and fledged offspring) for a few seasons. I feel sorry for crows; they seem to have a bad reputation and are treated poorly as a result.
If you want to learn more about crows and their habits, have a look at Michael Westerfield’s new book “The Language of Crows: The crows.net Book of the American Crow,” available at www.crows.net/crowbook.html .
A group of crows is known as a ‘murder’ of crows. The term ‘murder’ refers to the ‘observation’ that a group of crows will kill a dying cow. Some people are advocating for an alternative, since the term ‘murder’ perpetuates the notion of crows being malicious. Alternative names for a group of crows are presented in http://www.crows.net/mjw.html Michael Westerfield’s Crow Log: The Crows.net Project. I think this is an opportunity for a Poll!
in the morning
dew soaks the grass
belongs to the crows
the croaking of ravens
the cawing of crows
backdrop to Canadian dawn
in Canadian film)
in a conversational rattle
discussing gold and letters
a two syllable scream
haunting the fields
throned at the top
of a tamarack
black wings bruise the air
he calls an alarm
screams to his mate
the love of his life
with only the fall of the dew
for an answer
silent is the shroud of black feathers
strung by the feet from a pole
beside a garden
where she braved the flapping man
and dared to pull new corn
in the morning
Canada belongs to the crows
Published as: ‘Morning Song’, Spring 1995, The Cormorant XI (2)
© Jane Tims 1995
This time of year, the lost leaves allow a new observation of sky. The bare branches remind me of pen and ink on paper.
these leafless trees / brush against /a linen sky / ink strokes /on rice paper
(from ‘requesting the favor of a reply’ in the post ‘hidden in the hollow heart of an oak’ August 19, 2011, under shelter)
perhaps this sparse oak
colored the pale sunrise
palette, faded autumn
even loaded, lean branches
lay only brief color
on canvas sky
brush more suited to calligraphy
a few abbreviated strokes
a terse ‘good morning’
© Jane Tims 2007