Silver Rain

April 25, 2016

Rain through living room window

Rain through living room window

In Time of Silver Rain
by Langston Hughes

In time of silver rain
The earth
Puts forth new life again,
Green grasses grow
And flowers lift their heads,
And over all the plain
The wonder spreads
Of life,
Of life,
Of life!

In time of silver rain
The butterflies
Lift silken wings
To catch a rainbow cry,
And trees put forth
New leaves to sing
In joy beneath the sky
As down the roadway
Passing boys and girls
Go singing, too,
In time of silver rain
When spring
And life
Are new.

Raindrops on window panes

Raindrops on window panes

Fallen peony flower with raindrops

Fallen peony flower with raindrops

 

Crocuses with raindrops

Crocuses with raindrops

Rain
by Raymond Carver

Woke up this morning with
a terrific urge to lie in bed all day
and read.  Fought against it for a minute.

Then looked out the window at the rain.
And gave over.  Put myself entirely
in the keep of this rainy morning.

Would I live my life over again?
Make the same unforgiveable mistakes?
Yes, given half a chance.  Yes.

I can see myself in this poem.  I can easily give myself over to books.  I can’t keep up with all the tantalizing titles that pass through my hands at work.  A couple of days ago, I shelved a book called The Lost Art of Reading Nature’s Signs by Tristan Gooley.  By the time I got home and went online to place the book on hold, I couldn’t remember the exact title.  So I searched the library’s online catalogue for “signs of the seasons.”  I did find the book I was looking for, but some other intriguing titles, too — Pilgrimage to Vallombrosa: from Vermont to Italy in the Footsteps of George Perkins Marsh; Iambics of Newfoundland; The Road is How: A Prairie Pilgrimage through Nature, Desire, and Soul; and Nature-Speak.  So I added those titles to my request list as well. Is it no wonder I can’t stay ahead of my reading?

 

 

Regard the Raindrops!

November 19, 2015

Raindrops on scarlet smokebush leaf

Raindrops on scarlet smokebush leaf

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Void in Form
by Ikkyu, fifteenth century Zen master, from Crow with No Mouth

When, just as they are,
White dewdrops gather
On scarlet maple leaves,
Regard the scarlet beads!

 

Winter’s Gems

December 31, 2013

“We are rained and snowed on with gems.”
— Henry David Thoreau, from Winter:  The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 8, January 6, 1858

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Bed of blooming hellebores, Jello Mold Farm

Bed of blooming hellebores, Jello Mold Farm

There was one flower that was blooming in profusion at Jello Mold Farm this time of year — the hellebores.  They grew an amazing variety, as you can see below.

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And here are a couple of watercolor sketches.

Watercolor sketch of hellebores

Watercolor sketch of hellebores

Another watercolor sketch of a hellebore

Another watercolor sketch of a hellebore

 

 

Jello mold with rabbit

Jello mold with rabbit

While I was out driving in the country north of Seattle, I stopped by Jello Mold Farm to walk in the flower fields.  The beds are still awaking from winter dormancy.  A few more warm days, and this will be a totally different landscape.  Right now, the farm holds just the promise of blooms.

Here are some photos:

Bundled twine in readiness for planting

Bundled twine in readiness for planting

Forsythia

Forsythia

Yellow against gray -- forsythia

Yellow against gray — forsythia

Pussy willow and catkin

Pussy willow and catkin

“I have a little pussy,
And her coat is silver gray;
She lives in a great wide meadow
And she never runs away.
She always is a pussy,
She’ll never be a cat
Because — she’s a pussy willow!
Now what do you think of that!
— author Unknown

Winter bed

Winter bed

Seed head

Seed head

New buds

New buds

Old seed cases

Old seed cases

Single dangling chestnut

Single dangling chestnut

Fallen chestnuts

Fallen chestnuts

Net over peony beds

Net over peony beds

Blossom

Blossom

Last season's hydrangea bed

Last season’s hydrangea bed

Dried hydrangea

Dried hydrangea

Wheelbarrows at rest

Wheelbarrows at rest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fallen maple leaves with raindrops

Fallen leaves at Lake Chelan State Park

“Adding a leaf’s breadth to the depth of the soil.”

“How pleasant to walk over beds of these fresh, crisp, rustling fallen leaves — young hyson, green tea, clean, crisp, and wholesome!  How beautiful they go to their graves!  how gently lay themselves down and turn to mould!  — painted of a thousand hues and fit to make the beds of us living.  So they troop to their graves, light and frisky.  They put on no weeds.  Merrily they go scampering over the earth, selecting their graves, whispering all through the woods about it.  They that waved so loftily, how contentedly they return to dust again and are laid low, resigned to lie and decay at the foot of the tree and afford nourishment to new generations of their kind, as well as to flutter on high!  How they are mixed up, all species, — oak and maple and chestnut and birch!  they are about to add a leaf’s breadth to the depth of the soil.  We are all the richer for their decay.  Nature is not cluttered with them.  She is a perfect husbandman; she stores them all.”
— Henry David Thoreau, Journals, October 20, 1853

Fallen maple leaf on pavement, already starting to decay

Autumn is that elegiac time of year, and fallen leaves are its emblem.  I recently read (in a blog I follow called “The Improvised Life“) about an intriguing art installation by Jane Hammond consisting of handmade leaves, each inscribed with the name of a U.S. soldier killed in Iraq.  This memorial sculpture is called Fallenand it seemed fitting to share it with you today, Veteran’s Day, when we honor all service men and women, living and dead.  You can follow the links to read more about this piece of art and see it installed in its last exhibition.

White Iris

May 27, 2012

“The white iris beautifies me.”
— Wallace Stevens, from “In The Carolinas”

White iris in the morning light

Detail, white iris

White iris, like white flounces

White iris after rain

Watercolor sketch of irises

“Each spring when the irises begin to flower, I find myself drawing them — as if obeying an order.  There’s no other flower so commanding. And this may have something to do with the way they open their petals already printed.  Irises open like books.  At the same time, they are the smallest, tectonic quintessence of architecture.  I think of the Mosque Suleiman in Istanbul.  Irises are like prophesies: simultaneously astounding and clear.”
— John Berger, Bento’s Sketchbook:  How Does the Impulse to Draw Something Begin?

(Here is a photo of the interior of the Mosque of Suleiman with its ceilings like arched petals.)

Interior, Mosque of Suleiman from the Brooklyn Museum Archives. Goodyear Archival Collection.Visual materials [6.1.003]: 1903 survey expedition photographs. Mosque of Soliman, Istanbul, Turkey.

Like John Berger, I too, love to draw and paint and photograph irises.  The watercolor sketch in this post is my first attempt at painting them this year.

Lovely iris

Iris after spring rain

Iris bloom and buds

My work table

“. . . there is a deluge.  I’ve never seen such rain.  It is a revolt in the heavens, a mortal convulsion of the earth.  The world is sobbing in desperation, sobbing to death, knowing that it cannot die and that there will always be more tears to shed.”
— Simone de Beauvoir, writing about New Orleans in America Day by Day

Raindrops and new leaves

When will it stop raining?

When the forecast is for 100% chance of rain on your day off work, you sometimes just have to make the most of it and get outside with the camera anyway.  Here are a few shots from today’s walk in the rain.

Blossoms dripping with rain

Rain dotted foliage, diamonds on green

Raindrops on bleeding heart