What You Will Not Find Here

You will find no advertising, no pop-ups, no tweets. Not even photographs, let alone a slide show. Nothing here will be moving fast. It will hardly be moving at all. Visit when you want a break from frenzy.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Day 29 Outdoors: Another Sunrise Over the Meadow

Tuesday, September 25, 7:30-8:45 a.m.

After several chilly days of rain, yesterday was clear and sunny with gale-force winds. At last, this morning, both clear sky and calm stillness came together. Before sunrise there was hardly a breeze stirring and only a few fleecy, small clouds near the horizon.

This time of year the meadow is a dessicated miniature jungle, a tangle of drying stalks and leaves and seeds. Queen-Anne’s lace has curled up to shape itself into brittle bird’s-nest cages, and the little grey-headed coneflowers have dropped their petals, leaving heavy, dark seedheads that bow the tall stems. Grasses rustle, their heads also heavy with seed, leaves beginning to curl.

A little bird throws its voice like a ventriloquist, sounding first here, then there, but always just out of sight. There are crows in the middle distance, calling to each other on crow business. Canada geese wing by overhead. One unbalanced V flies south, its left leg longer than its right, and half an hour later a ragged line of more geese crosses the sky from east to west, their voices audible long before they come into sight.

As the sun comes up over the dark trees of the eastern woods, it creates a band of light on the meadow, leaving the intermediate orchard trees in shade. Higher and higher climbs the sun, and as it climbs a breeze starts up and keeps pace, stirring the leaves of maple, popple, and catalpa more vigorously as the light increases. Finally the sun is blazing through the weeds. It lights up strands of spiderweb that tremble and gleam and dance. Morning has broken.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Day 28 Outdoors: Away from Home--Old Birch on Lake Superior Shore

Tuesday midday, Grand Marais, Michigan

At home on Lake Michigan, sunrise comes from behind a walker on the beach, and sunset streams from over the opposite shore, far from sight, at day’s end. On Lake Superior’s southern shore, the sun comes up on the right hand of a walker facing the water and sets on the left. Only midday light is at all comparable.

On Lake Superior beaches one finds different stones, too—notably, at Grand Marais, agates rather than the Petoskey stones sought by vacationers at home—but trees along the shores of these two Great Lakes are not very different: pines and firs, birch, maple, beech, and the ubiquitous quaking aspen (‘popple’), Populus tremuloides, always edging out beyond the older, larger species, a shy but determined pioneer, finding courage in numbers as it ventures nervously past each battle-scarred veteran, say an old birch, that stands firm and stoical until its life’s last great storm shall at last bring it down.