Category Archives: IMAGES & THINGS

SWEET CHESTNUT

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Cup of thorns
glossy nuts like plump nestlings
sweet chestnut

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SYMPHONY

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I walk around the house in the summer twilight
opening windows
letting in the insect orchestra
katydids run scales in the tree tops
crickets, the violins of summer
carry the tune from tree and field and bush
an owl makes its first exploratory sounding
of the evening, three solitary hoots—no reply
the night rhythm begins

Warm August air pushes through the hammock
mosquitoes whine by my ankles
and through a hole in the canopy
I watch bats shadow puppet
against a column of darkening sky
I strain to catch the thread of each vibration
each pattern, rhythm, pitch
a unique life cycle
a specific niche filled
a gorgeous tapestry of sound

It’s carnival this time of year
no sooner has one reveler bowed out
than the next chorus crowds in from the wings
the belligerent rise and fall of the dog day cicadas
makes way for the ululations of the grey tree frogs
at high noon the meadow shimmered
with the stridulation of grasshoppers
and now young coyotes yip and howl
as they prowl the long grasses

Sunlight creeps into the garden once more
illuminating tomatoes tear-dropped with dew
songbirds and crows take to the stage
and under the stone in the wall
the constant cricket sings.

SUMMER TIME

It’s been a busy but rewarding season. My parents came from Ireland to visit and experience glorious summer weather and the constant circus of wildlife that surrounds our house in New York’s Hudson Valley. I celebrated my 50th birthday in my wild but fruitful garden, surrounded by family and friends. My wonderful daughter and mother helped me cook up a feast with lots of tasty local produce. Every day I marveled at my daughter’s artistic skills–painting, writing, embroidering. I watched my youngest son find grace and joy with each new physical skill he mastered. My eldest son’s summer was one long celebration of friends and freedom after four diligent years of high school.  Taking him to college we got to explore two new amazing cities and states, Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon. In between times, I interviewed fascinating and talented artisans for Dirt magazine. And I’ve been out and about with my notebook and camera, making the most of the long beautiful days. I hope you’ve all enjoyed the season as much as I have. –Your health! Melissa
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Columbia River Gorge

Multnomah Falls, OR

Multinomah Falls, OR

Mt. Hood, Oregon

Mt. Hood, Oregon

Sunrise through wildfire smoke over Mosier bluff, OR

Sunrise through wildfire smoke over Mosier bluff, OR

Short Sands Beach, nr. Manzanita, OR

Short Sands Beach, nr. Manzanita, OR

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Manzanita sunset, OR

Manzanita sunset, OR

Mt. Rainier, WA

Mt. Rainier, WA

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Mandarin Cloak, brooch by Mena Messina

Mandarin Cloak, brooch by Mena Messina

Here’s a link to my latest article in Dirt Magazine

MOVING WATER

 IMG_9334Put me by
Moving water
When I’m old.
A lake, a sea, a stream—
any wet thing.
So long as I can watch
Light-play on the surface,
The membrane dappled by wind,
Hear the glug and gurgle of water pockets
slapping the hulls of moored boats,
And smell the tang of moisture in the air,
I will be happy.

DREAM OF DROWNING (Trust)

IMG_7439I dreamed so vividly                                                                                                                                         I felt it in every fiber of my body when I awoke.

To say that dream haunts me                                                                                                              Would be an overstatement.

But it lives in a safe, quiet spot in my mind—                                                                                             A dream of drowning.

The preambles have receded with time,                                                                                                But the moment of letting go,                                                                                                                     Of relinquishing my hold, of opening my fists                                                                                     And allowing seawater                                                                                                                                To flow through my fingers,                                                                                                                       Of sinking softly                                                                                                                                             Was sweet.

The ultimate letting go.

TIME WORN II

IMG_8370When I’m out with my camera, my eye seems to be drawn to things that show the passage of time, for example, the stone floors in Aya Sofia in Istanbul. Here are a few more such photos.

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Time Worn

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Last March my family and I spent an amazing ten days in Istanbul. Of course I took way too many photographs. Everywhere you turn, the city is a repository of history.  Looking back on them, a particular series of shots stood out. One of the most famous sights is Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya), built as a Christian basilica in 537 AD, later an imperial mosque, and now a museum. Of course it’s difficult to drag your eyes away from the soaring architecture and magnificent domes and mosaics all around you. But what really caught my attention were the floors. How many millions of people have come from all over the world to worship and marvel at this stunning building? The grooves and cracks worn into the marble tiles and cobblestones by their feet tell it all.

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If you have any similar photos of the passage of time, I would love to see them. Please feel free to share by putting in a link in the comments section.