luxuriant leprosy of the vegetable kingdom

Soon began the glorious days of autumn particularly unmistakable in the melancholy curve that the sun, already noticeable lower over the horizon, drew across the sky in whose calm expanses, as though constantly swept by a wonderfully pure wind, its golden trace seemed to linger like a magnificent ship’s wake, and hardly had it turned its course toward the horizon than the moon, as though suspended to the beam of a celestial balance, appeared against the blue light of day with the ghostly glow of an unexpected star, whose malignant influence would now, of itself alone, explain the sudden, strange, and half-metallic alterations of the leaves of the forest whose surprising red and yellow brilliance burst out everywhere with the irrepressible vigour, the fulminating contagion of a luxuriant leprosy of the vegetable kingdom.

Julien Gracq, The Castle of Argol (a most curious book, and one filled with what would become Gracq’s signature lush descriptions of Nature as a possibly supernatural force. In particular he seems to have a thing for forests…reading his forested prose turns hypnotic after a time. See also: A Balcony in the Forest.)

[Review here.]

spring at cromwell

Male Yellow Warbler singing at Cromwell Valley Park, Baltimore County, Maryland. © 2017 S. D. Stewart

 

American Red Fox stalking prey at Cromwell Valley Park, Baltimore County, Maryland. © 2017 S. D. Stewart

I had a very close encounter with this fox. We were walking toward each other and I’m not sure it even noticed me at first. It was paying close attention to the overgrown field to its immediate right. At a certain point, it turned and started to enter the tall grass. It stood there for a moment with the front of its body obscured before pouncing high up in the air and then disappearing into the grass. I kept walking until I got to the point where it had left the grassy path. I couldn’t see the fox anymore at that point, so I waited and eventually I saw its head pop up amidst the tall grass. We eyed each other for a few seconds before it suddenly stood up and walked out directly in front of me, only about six feet away, and casually turned to the right to continue walking in the direction it had originally been headed. It did not look particularly concerned about my presence, exhibiting only a barely visible wariness. I watched it for a while and then I kept walking in the opposite direction.

a feeling for all living things

It is odd that we have so little relationship with nature, with the insects and the leaping frog, and the owl that hoots among the hills calling for its mate. We never seem to have a feeling for all living things on the earth. If we could establish a deep, abiding relationship with nature, we would never kill an animal for our appetite, we would never harm, vivisect, a monkey, a dog, a guinea pig for our benefit. We would find other ways to heal our wounds, heal our bodies. But the healing of the mind is something totally different. That healing gradually takes place if you are with nature, with that orange on the tree, and the blade of grass that pushes through the cement, and the hills covered, hidden, by the clouds.

Jiddu Krishnamurti, Krishnamurti to Himself, p 10

friday black vulture party

Tree full of roosting Black Vultures, © 2016 S. D. Stewart

Tree full of roosting Black Vultures.

Tree full of roosting Black Vultures, , © 2016 S. D. Stewart

Note how the vulture at center is doing the classic Snoopy vulture pose.

 

Black Vultures, © 2016 S. D. Stewart

Black Vultures

good morning!

Groundhog, © 2016 S. D. Stewart

A groundhog (aka woodchuck, whistlepig, etc.) takes the early morning sun.

life along a west virginia stream

© 2016 S. D. Stewart

Streamside Attraction No. 1

 

Ebony Jewelwing, © 2016 S. D. Stewart

Ebony Jewelwing

 

Ebony Jewelwing, © 2016 S. D. Stewart

Ebony Jewelwing

 

Ebony Jewelwing, © 2016 S. D. Stewart

Ebony Jewelwing

 

Streamside Attraction No. 2, © 2016 S. D. Stewart

Streamside Attraction No. 2

 

Wood Turtle, © 2016 S. D. Stewart

Wood Turtle

 

Wood Turtle, © 2016 S. D. Stewart

Wood Turtle

 

Streamside Attraction No. 3, © 2016 S. D. Stewart

Streamside Attraction No. 3

eastern chipmunk

Eastern Chipmunk, © 2016 S. D. Stewart

Eastern Chipmunk

friday birds (with bonus turtles)

 

Fox Sparrow (Red), © 2016 S. D. Stewart

Fox Sparrow (Red) – my favorite sparrow

 

Wood Duck, © 2016 S. D. Stewart

Wood Duck

 

Hermit Thrush, © 2016 S. D. Stewart

Hermit Thrush

 

Eastern Painted Turtles, © 2016 S. D. Stewart

Eastern Painted Turtles taking the sun at Black Marsh.

the one and the other discuss regret

Hello, one.

Hello, other.

One, I’d like to tell you a story.

O joy! I love stories.

You might not love this one.

Hmm. Okay. Well, tell away, other.

A few days ago I was out driving…

Wait! cried the one. You don’t know how to drive, other.

That’s not important.

The one looked doubtful.

Look, I’m telling this story, one. And in the story I was driving. See?

O. Yes, I see, other.

So I was out driving. There I am in this big hunk of metal moving at 70 miles per hour. It was absurd.

O! We like the absurd, other!

Usually, yes…yes, we do, one. But this was not funny absurd. It was scary absurd. I mean, at any moment another hunk of metal could have veered into my hunk of metal and then I might have died.

O, yes, you are right, other, that is scary absurd. I would not have liked for you to die.

And the signs, the electronic signs kept shrieking at me.

What were they saying, other?

Always the same phrase, one: Nothing Super About Jail Drive Sober.

O. That is strange, other.

Anyway, after the signs stopped shrieking at me the sun began bleeding orange and yellow streaks all across the sky amid big puffs of blue and grey. It was so beautiful, one. It almost made me forget I was inside a big hunk of metal. And then, and then I saw something even more wondrous.

What was it! cried the one.

It was an enormous flock of geese, one. Hundreds, maybe even thousands, off to the side of the road in a big field. Some were the all white ones–

O! You mean Snow Geese, other!

Yes, and some were the other kind. The brown and black dingy looking ones that are everywhere now.

Canada Geese! sang the one.

Yes, yes! cried the other, excited now. And they were all swirling around, making their calls. And some were on the ground, poking around in the fields. It was quite a spectacle, one.

I bet it was, other, I bet it was.

Except now I am sad.

O no! Why are you sad, other?

Well, I didn’t stop my hunk of metal to take in the whole scene. I could have turned around and pulled over and gazed upon this sight for the precise number of minutes necessary to fully absorb a wonder of nature such as this, one. Also there may have been some unusual or rare geese in the flock, but I didn’t take the time to look for them.

O. Hmm. Yes, I can see how that might make you feel sad, other.

It’s a strange sort of sadness, one. Do you know it?

Yes, I do, other. I believe they call this special type of sadness regret.

I do not like this regret feeling, one. How do I stop it? Can I maybe stuff something down inside me? Chocolate perhaps?

I’m not sure, other, the one said gravely. I think you have to wait and hope for it to fade away. Chocolate never hurts, of course, but I’m not sure it’s strong enough to fix this.

Well, how can I avoid it in the future then? I do not want this regret feeling ever again, one, never ever.

I’m not sure you can totally avoid it, other! But you can try to take every opportunity that comes to you, and that way at least you have tried.

O, will I then not feel sad? Even if I try to take the opportunity but don’t make it? Even if I…fail?

I can’t promise you won’t feel sad, other. But your sadness will likely feel different than regret. It will be mixed in with the satisfaction of knowing you tried. So that might make it feel not so bad.

O, thank you, one! I think this was very helpful. You are so wise!

I’m glad, other! I am always happy to help.

Goodbye, one!

Goodbye, other! Until next time.

______________________________

For more discussions between the one and the other, click here.

last season’s nest

© 2015 S. D. Stewart

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