nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Archive for the ‘above the ground’ Category

Butterfly Etude

with 4 comments

I have not played the piano for years. Not a great tragedy as I was never very good and playing made me nervous, afraid to fail. But there are some bits of music I will know forever because I learned to play them. One is Chopin’s Butterfly Etude (Etude Opus 25, no. 9). A difficult piece, full of octave stretches and staccatos. And it perfectly captures the erratic whim-of-the-wind flight of most butterflies.

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butterfly

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Etude Opus 25, No. 9

Chopin’s Butterfly Etude

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cloud to clover

graceless flight path

earth to sky

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wrist staccato

octave stretches

disarticulated flight

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flirt and quiver

tip and stumble

clouded sulphur

butterfly

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all my best,

Jane 

Written by jane tims

June 4, 2018 at 3:42 pm

Safe place for a nest

with 3 comments

No surprise to me … a robin has built a nest in the eaves of our house. Eighteen feet above the ground, this is a safe place for a nest. The robin does not think so. When I sit on the deck for my daily cup of tea, the robin sits in a near-by tree and scolds me. He gives a single annoyed chirp. If a robin could scowl, he is certainly scowling.

Written by jane tims

May 28, 2018 at 7:00 am

alternative energy

with 2 comments

On our recent trip to Ontario, we were intrigued to see how much use is made of alternative energy sources.

Especially in the windy area of Lake Huron, there were many wind turbines.  Watching the blades turn is quite mesmerizing. We saw at least one protest sign about wind energy in a farm-yard, so we know there is some resistance to wind power or the way it is managed.

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Solar power is also being used throughout southern Ontario. Many farms had large solar panels and we saw one extensive installation with hundreds of solar panels. These panels are mechanized so they “follow the sun”!

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I know there are economic, environmental, and social issues with use of wind and solar energy, but my thoughts are these:

wind turbines and solar panels alter the look of the landscape, but so do houses and other buildings

diversification seems to me to be a secure approach to ensuring energy for the future

if our society demands energy, there are consequences — we should be willing to use wind and sun as sources and work out any problems

careful evaluation of the environmental and social costs should be part of decision-making

I am so proud of human innovation when it comes to solving our problems!

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Copyright Jane Tims 2017

Written by jane tims

October 16, 2017 at 7:57 am

a moment of beautiful – bug-shot shadows

with 13 comments

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

maple blossoms

with 14 comments

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.

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red maple blossoms

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across brown sky

strontium bursts of bright

sparks bloom

against dark

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©  Jane Tims 2012

Written by jane tims

April 23, 2012 at 6:42 am

a moment of beautiful – traffic lights

with 8 comments

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

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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.

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Copyright Jane Tims 2012

Written by jane tims

March 14, 2012 at 6:50 am

witch’s broom

with 8 comments

In the Balsalm Fir tree over our shed is a strange growth, like a dark mass of short deformed branches.  This dark mass of branches is known as a ‘witch’s broom’.

A witch’s broom is a common term for an abnormal growth caused by the action of an agent such as a mite, virus, insect, or fungus.  The agent causes a branch of the tree to grow from a single point, resulting in a mass of twigs and branches resembling a nest or broom.  Many kinds of plants can have a witch’s broom deformity, including many tree species.

Animals, including the Northern Flying Squirrel, use the witch’s broom as a nesting place.  The Northern Flying Squirrel is the big-eyed squirrel invading our feeders every night  (see ‘spacemen in our feeder’ under the category ‘competing for niche space’ for December 23, 2011).

Witch’s brooms occur frequently … we have at least three in our grey woods.  They lend an air of mystery to the woodland.  People used to believe a witch had flown over the place where a witch’s broom grew.

If anyone knows of another name for the witch’s broom, please let me know.  Years ago, we visited a small farm museum in northern Maine and an example of a huge witch’s broom was displayed in the shed, labelled ‘horrah’s nest’, but I have been unable to find this term used elsewhere.

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wood witch

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burdened by snow

a tree falls

tumbles a witch’s broom

the witch set free

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a hex on the snowfall

slate where the dog walks

cuts her feet

soft rubies in every track

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a hex on the room

cold as I left

now warm

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too warm

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© Jane Tims  2001

 

Written by jane tims

January 2, 2012 at 9:08 am

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