28 April 2015

Spring Colours - Missoula, Montana

Conventional wisdom of our childhood: Don't talk to strangers. (To which I've been known to retort, 'It doesn't get much stranger than this! Chortle chortle!' Parents are rarely  amused. ) 

But once we're past the naive vulnerability of childhood, it behooves us to glance beyond our busy blinders or societal comfort zone and speak to strangers - a simple smiling hello as you pass on the sidewalk, or a conversational weather comment to your checkout line neighbor.
Call me simplistic, but I t's often the simplest, seemingly small things that make all the difference in our day - positive or negative - and the unknown person next to us is not so very different from you or me. 

A stranger's kindness was offered to me during my Sunday river walk by way of a handful of spring blossoms along with the request, "Just squeeze this, then smell it - and look at the colours. People don't see the colour all around them."  An unconventional yet lovely reminder, well worth the interruption of my best laid plans. 

May your day be disrupted by unexpected loveliness, and may you be an accessory to more of the same.

27 April 2015

Rain Sans Cats - Missoula, Montana

think that the
world should be full of cats 
and full of rain, that's all, 
cats and
rain, rain and cats, very nice, good
― Charles Bukowski (1920-1994)
Betting on the Muse: Poems and Stories

26 April 2015

Wilderness Near - West of Livingston, Montana

"The beauty and charm of the wilderness are his for the asking, for the edges of the wilderness lie close beside the beaten roads of the present travel." - Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919)

25 April 2015

Unfolding - Missoula, Montana

“… The Hawthorn whitens; and the juicy Groves
Put forth their buds, unfolding by degrees,
Till the whole leafy Forest stands displayed,
In full luxuriance, to the sighing gales...”
- From 'The Seasons:Spring' by James Thomson (1700-1748)

24 April 2015

More Primrose - Missoula, Montana

“…Wood-sorrel, and the varnish'd buttercup;
And primrose in its 
purfled green swathed up, ...
O cistern deep of that harmonious rillet,
And these fair juicy stems that climb and throng
The vernal world, and unexhausted seas
Of flowing life, and soul that asks to fill it,
Each and all of these,--and more, and more than these!”

- From ‘In A Spring Grove’ by William Allingham (1824-1889)

23 April 2015

Thumbelina Tulip - Missoula, Montana

"“It is a beautiful flower,” said the woman, and she kissed the red and golden-colored leaves, and while she did so the flower opened, and she could see that it was a real tulip. Within the flower, upon the green velvet stamens, sat a very delicate and graceful little maiden. She was scarcely half as long as a thumb, and they gave her the name of “Thumbelina,” or Tiny, because she was so small. A walnut-shell, elegantly polished, served her for a cradle; her bed was formed of blue violet-leaves, with a rose-leaf for a counterpane. " - From 'Thumbelina', by Hans Christian Anderson (1805-1875)

22 April 2015

Tiny Pine - Missoula, Montana

“Pick up a pinecone and count the spiral rows of scales. You may find eight spirals winding up to the left and 13 spirals winding up to the right, or 13 left and 21 right spirals, or other pairs of numbers. The striking fact is that these pairs of numbers are adjacent numbers in the famous Fibonacci  series: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21... Here, each term is the sum of the previous two terms. The phenomenon is well known and called phyllotaxis. Many are the efforts of biologists to understand why pinecones, sunflowers, and many other plants exhibit this remarkable pattern." - Stuart Kauffman, At Home in the Universe: The Search for the Laws of Self-Organization and Complexity

21 April 2015

Spring-Sticky Greens - Missoula, Montana

My gardening-genius sister of the far northern city has been collecting aged horse manure after work - trowel scoop by trowel scoop, into large plastic bags carefully placed in her car trunk. (Yes, with patience being a virtue and all, she’s got a head start toward saintliness of some sort.) Last week, she texted something about metaphorical teaspoons and a photo of a sunset-silhouetted mountain of manure, with her comparatively teeny tiny car in the foreground. Her garden’s really going to be great this year.

Today she texted that our horse-whispering cousin’s new acreage has "singing frogs in the slough, ribbet ribbet",  (insert happy froggy emoticon) which made me think firstly, ’It’s such a Canadian thing to have fond thoughts of a slough.’ And nextly, ‘Surely, there exists a Canadian ode to spring-singing slough frogs?!’

Thoughts such as this are why Google is my Home screen.

I discovered that Lord de Tabley wrote, according to ‘The Living Age, Volume 270’, “…a charming set of interlinked sonnets to the frogs that sing unceasingly from early spring to harvest-time in every lake and pond and secret slough from end to end of Canada.“ Here’s my favourite find; may your very own memory spring to mind.

“Wrinkled oaks and plumy bracken,
Milkwort, skull-cap, sweet gale-bush,

Frog-pipe, more than you can reckon,
Cotton grass and flowering rush…”
- from ‘The Dirge of Day’, Lord de Tabley (1835-1895)