nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘spring

an intelligent world of blue

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Yesterday, we went on a drive along the Saint John River from Oromocto to Jemseg. We hoped to see some birds or other wild life. But we didn’t even see a crow!!!!

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However we did see the world painted in a sweet-toned shade of blue … the ice on the river, the long shadows on the meadows and the sky. I was reminded of Douglas Adams and his tribute to hooloovoo ‘blue’.

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A Hooloovoo is a super-intelligent shade of the color blue.

― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy    

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Copyright Jane Tims 2017

Written by jane tims

March 3, 2017 at 7:57 am

a muse takes over – telling a story through the seasons

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In New Brunswick, the passage of time is measured in part by the seasons. Right now we are in winter, in the midst of another snow storm and taking a lot of care when walking on all the ice. Soon it will be spring with crocuses blooming on the lawn and water in every hollow. Then summer, days on the deck and keeping cool. Finally, my favourite season, autumn, colourful leaves and starry nights.

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Since I am a writer embedded in the winter-spring-summer-fall cycle, it’s natural that changing seasons are an important part of my sci-fi novel. Although weather is often a factor in story telling, I find many books ignore the changing of the seasons.

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Seasons on planet Meniscus occur in a cycle of four, as in the northern and southern latitudes of Earth. On Meniscus the seasons are the result of a changing heat regime as once per ‘year’ one of the twinned suns slips behind the other. Whether the physics of this makes much sense, I can’t say. “I’m a biologist, Jim, not a physicist!”

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Book One, Crossing the Churn, begins in summer. Foraging for food is easy. As the days pass, leaves begin to fall and soon the characters wade rather than walk through the forest.

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Book Two, South from Sintha, finishes in autumn, as the days grow colder.  New characters in Book Two are looking for a home before winter sets in.
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Book Three, Winter at the Water-climb, takes place in a world of ice. The plot focuses on the coming of cold weather and shorter days. Foraging for food is difficult since everything is hidden under snow drifts.  Survival depends on what has been put into storage.

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Book Four, The Town in the Themble Wood, celebrates the coming of spring and the vibrancy of summer. The Slain and Odymn scout the Themble Wood for a town-site and help the other Humans establish a new community.

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Book Five, so new it has no name, will take the characters back into autumn. In many ways this book will be a race against time as winter approaches and the Slain must find Odymn and other characters who have been lost after a crisis.

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Including seasons in my story adds to the possibilities for describing setting. The cinnamon scent of trees in the autumn Themble Wood, tracks in the snow of the new town, and melting water-springs add to the sights, sounds, smells and tastes my writing can explore.

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The progress of getting my first book into CreateSpace has been hampered this week by the appearance of ‘The Blue Screen of Death’ on my computer. It is fixed now, but I am sure the folks on Meniscus have never faced such a challenge!!!

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Copyright 2017 Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

February 8, 2017 at 7:04 am

songs in the grey woods – ovenbird, over and over

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This week we had a meeting of our writing group Fictional Friends. We are trying something new – dedicating our whole meeting to one person’s writing. The writer ‘in the spotlight’ talks about writing goals and the problems they encounter.  Then they describe their current project, giving a synopsis. They read and the group provides constructive comments. We found this first session helpful for everyone present and we plan another session, with a focus on another writer’s work. I think each member of the group learned something applicable to his or her own writing.

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This session was held at my house. I left the back screen open, to let in some air. More than air comes in – at a meeting last month, the sound of our next door neighbour’s rooster crowing provided a backdrop to some reading about rural themes. At this week’s meeting, an Ovenbird decided to start singing in the woods behind our house. ‘Teacher, teacher, teacher’ he said, over and over. Perhaps he was making a commentary on our particular way of learning.

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The Ovenbird is a large warbler, olive-brown. He reminds me of a thrust because of his streaked white breast. He has an orange crest, a white ring around each eye, a white throat and a dark line below his cheek. My drawing is from a photo by Ann Gardner, used with permission. http://www.anngardnerphotography.com/

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Do you belong to a writing group? What methods does your group use to help one another?

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Copyright 2016  Jane Tims 

Written by jane tims

June 10, 2016 at 7:07 am

songs in the grey woods – northern parula

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A friend, a knowledgeable wetland biologist, has been helping me learn some new bird songs. Last week, I identified the song of the Northern Parula. This is a bird I have never seen, though I scan those tree tops with the binoculars until my arms ache. I have heard its song so many times and always wondered what it was. The song is a long whirrrrr, flowed by a short, upward flipWhirrrr -flip. Whirrrr- flip. This morning it was the first song of the morning bird chorus!

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May 20, 2016 'Northern Parula' Jane Tims

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It drives me crazy to hear him sing, be able to find the tree he is perched in, but not see him. My painting is how I think he must look, based on descriptions on the net.

The Parula is a blue-grey bird with a yellow throat, and a yellow and white breast. He has a white crescent above and below his eye and two white wing bars. A bright and beautiful bird! He has an association with a lichen I love, Usnea subfloridana, Old Man’s Beard. He uses the lichen to build his hanging nest.

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Usnea subfloridana on the snow

Usnea subfloridana on the snow – usually found hanging in our maple, spruce and fir trees

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Copyright 2016 Jane Tims

 

Written by jane tims

May 27, 2016 at 7:00 am

songs in the grey woods – ovenbird

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He can be a bit monotonous. A bit of a scold. He reminds me of a rusty hinge. He says teacher-teacher-teacher, repeating his song through the woodland. He is the Ovenbird.

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His scientific name is Seiurus aurocapilla. Seiurus (which I remember as ‘serious’) is from the Greek meaning ‘tail shake’, a reference to the characteristic upward flip of his tail. The name aurocapilla means golden-haired referring to his crest of orangy feathers. The Ovenbird is olive-brown, with a streaked white breast. He has a white ring around his eye, a white throat and a dark line below his cheek. He looks a bit like a thrush, but is a large warbler.

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His serious nature and his call of ‘teacher, teacher, teacher’ make me think I’ll include a poem about his ways in my project about one room school houses in New Brunswick. This is how my poems usually begin, with a whisper from nature.

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May 20, 2016 'Ovenbird sings teacher, teacher, teacher' Jane Tims

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Copyright 2016  Jane Tims 

Written by jane tims

May 23, 2016 at 7:00 am

songs in the grey woods – black-throated green

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Our grey woods are noisy this week. White-throated sparrows, nuthatches, ovenbirds and chickadees. Loudest of all is a black-throated green warbler. He says, in his raspy voice, at intervals of about ten seconds: zee-zee-zee-zee- whee-zee, also a more musical dee-dee, dee-dee, doo-dee (the doo a note lower than the dee). He perches near the tops of the tamarack and red maple trees.

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May 14, 2016 'black-throated green warbler in tamarack' Jane Tims

 

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I sat on our deck a long while, and finally caught him as he paused in a red maple. He had a bright yellow head and looked back at me over his white wing stripe before he flew away. I also get an occasional glimpse of him as he flies from tree to tree. His best features are his yellow head, the two white stripes on each wing, and his black throat.

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May 19, 2016 'black-throated green in leafing maple' Jane Tims

 

 

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a view of the tamarack trees and spruce where the black-throated green warbler is singing – the red maple is just starting to leaf-out

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Copyright Jane Tims 2016

Written by jane tims

May 20, 2016 at 7:00 am

apple orchard after the ice storm

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On Saturday, we went for a drive to see the results of last week’s freezing rain storm. Every tree sparkled with its layer of frozen water. When we stopped by the roadside to take some photos, the sound of cracking ice made a continuous stippling noise in the forest.

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I was amazed at the odd miniaturized appearance of the ice-covered apple trees in an orchard not far from our cabin. The trees are normal sized but there is a lack of scale and weirdness of light in the photos that miniaturizes the entire scene. The third photo, including the ploughed side road, looks more normal.

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I think this will be our last winter storm of the season. We still have snow on the ground but next week’s warming should take it all away!

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Copyright 2016 Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

March 28, 2016 at 7:00 am

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