poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘Nancy Drew

windy October drive

with 9 comments

On Monday, I went on a drive to Cambridge Narrows, to visit an antique store and a roadside market.  My goal: to buy some Nancy Drew mystery books for my collection and some pumpkins for Halloween.

It was a blustery day, windy enough to put some whitecaps on the St. John River…

The wind was especially evident along the former Trans-Canada Highway, where dry leaves have gathered in all the ditches.  Since only a few vehicles use this older highway, the leaves blow into the roadway…

The day had a luminous quality, in spite of the wind.  Most of the reds are gone from the trees, leaving the yellows of the poplars, the rusty-orange of the oaks and the gold of the tamaracks…

I had a successful day.  I bought some small pumpkins at a roadside stand…

three little pumpkins from the roadside vegetable stand (the faint eyes in the background are the amber eyes of our owl-andirons)

I also added five books to my collection of Nancy Drew mysteries…

five new mysteries for my collection… enough ghosts and glowing eyes for a spooky Halloween





wrought owl with amber eyes

perches on the hearth

hears a call in the forest

six syllables and silence


Great-horned Owl, light gathered

at the back of his eyes,

and the oscillating branch

after wings expand and beat


iron owl longs for a glimpse

of the sickle moon

the shadow of a mouse

sorting through dry leaves


in this cramped space

night woods are brought to their essence

fibre and bark, sparks and fire

luminous eyes



Copyright  Jane Tims 2012

hidden in the hollow heart of an oak

with 7 comments

Hollow trees create mysterious spaces in the woods. 

When I was young, a hollow in a tree was a secret hiding place for treasures, and one of my favourite books was a Nancy Drew mystery –  “The Message in the Hollow Oak”.   In the story, a hollow tree is used as a secret mailbox between long lost lovers.

Carolyn Keene 1935 The Message in the Hollow Oak   (a later edition, probably around 1965)
The best use of cavities in trees or logs is as habitat for insects, bats, owls and other small animals.  Hollows are good locations for foraging.  They also create shelter, and provide a place for nesting.  Animals who use hollow trees or logs for habitat are called “hollow-dependant”.

a hollow log in the woods

Cavities are usually found in mature trees.  Their importance as habitat is a good reason for protecting older, mature trees in the woodlot.  When my son was young, we made wooden signs saying “DEN TREE” for the older hollow trees in our woods, so we would remember not to cut them down. 

Do you know a hollow tree and would you reach into the cavity to retrieve a letter???



requesting the favour of a reply


these leafless trees

brush against

a linen sky

ink strokes

on rice paper


penned at midnight


hidden in the hollow

heart of an oak

afraid to reach in

to feel only

curls of bark

desiccated leaves


these trees

all seem the same

empty envelopes

parchment ghosts


branches tangled




black spruce scribbled on sky



Published as: ‘an answer in silence’, Spring 1995, The Cormorant XI (2)


© Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

August 19, 2011 at 6:54 am

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