Solid Ground

I have no idea what I want to say today. Usually I have an idea that bubbles up in the beginning of the week, and it simmers when I take some photos that inspire me. But today I’m adrift, lost in the waves, and I can’t see the land from this sea. I find that I am searching for things to moor me, so I decided to make a list of a few things I saw this week to remind myself to be present.

  1. We’ve had a few nice days, so we’ve been canoeing on our tiny pond. The duck weed is dying off, when just a month ago it covered the pond entirely. You can see the many types of algae that are sinking to the murky depths below. Glossy stiff oak leaves slowly descend to their end on the bottom. The pond’s floor, ten or fifteen feet down, is a thick layer of organic material. We skim over the surface of the water, and I hold onto that feeling: it’s smooth and effortless, and this movement somehow lightens me from the inside out.
  2. Getting lost in discoveries is a favorite pastime of mine. They happen every day in some capacity, but some weeks you land a big discovery. The other day we found a raptor carcass on our property, and further inquiry led to the realization that it was a Great Horned Owl. It was in pretty good shape, dried out already, and I was able to study it in detail. The talons were amazing–long and curved and worthy of the deepest respect. These were impressive tools. And the wings with their fimbriate edge: this is what makes owls fly silently.
  3. The last of the leaves are falling. There seem to be two types. There are the mahogany and butterscotch brown leaves of the oak trees, burnished and brilliant. Then there are waves of yellow, sugar maples and beeches and more. They seem to wash over a spot with a buttery haze. I love when the wind comes and the leaves fall slowly in swirls. The other day an oak leaf came floating down, and I caught it easily in my palm. Walking through the drifts of leaves is especially satisfying: the sounds, the shapes, the colors, the smells.

I hope you are finding small details to grasp onto in these strange times. The pandemic is starting another wave, and this winter ahead looks to be a very hard one. More frightening to me is that so many people are lost in made up stories that are refuted by facts. This strange sense of reality is what disturbs me most these days. That and the loss of trust in some basic self-evident truths. I hope we can get through it. In the meantime, I am relying on these real things I see through out my week to keep me grounded.

  1. Since the beginning of time we have fallen into delusions – look to fairytales for evidence of this and for reassurance that, one way or another, we eventually wake. (Was the owl headless? The Great Horned Owl has no real predators, so curious how it met its end.)

    1. You’re right, of course. I just hate what can happen in the interim.

      Anyway, the owl was headless, and its breast was removed. I am also curious as to what happened! I had two experts weigh in on the ID, so though it could be something else, I do trust their input. Was it ill? Old? I mean, they have to die at some point, so…Perhaps it died and an animal capitalized on it? Glad to send you more pictures if you want!

  2. just a beautiful bit of writing and, as always, you’ve said a lot of the things I have been thinking and feeling perfectly. Great Horned Owl remains sound FASCINATING!!!

    I do hope we can get through this. Not sure how to heal this sickness of lies and denial and refusing to accept facts as facts.

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