I could see flakes by the earliest dawn light, resolving into the scenes revealed here by mid-day.
The snow is wet and heavy: with fat flakes feathery from the aching cold aloft.
“Why do farmers farm, given their economic adversities on top of the many frustrations and difficulties normal to farming? And always the answer is: “Love. They must do it for love.” Farmers farm for the love of farming. They love to watch and nurture the growth of plants. They love to live in the presence of animals. They love to work outdoors. They love the weather, maybe even when it is making them miserable. They love to live where they work and to work where they live. If the scale of their farming is small enough, they like to work in the company of their children and with the help of their children. They love the measure of independence that farm life can still provide. I have an idea that a lot of farmers have gone to a lot of trouble merely to be self-employed to live at least a part of their lives without a boss.” -Wendell Berry
Levertov, who commingled natural and spiritual thematics with career-defining regularity, here approaches the ineffable singularity of experience.
In the Japanese
tongue of the
mind’s eye one
two syllable word
the fringe of rain
clinging to the eaves
and of the grey-green
fronds of wild parsley.
– Denise Levertov
First three deer bounding
and then coyote streaks right after
tail flat out
I stand dumb a while two seconds
blankly black-and-white of trees and snow
good coat, fluffy tail,
sees me: quickly gone.
I walk through where they ran
to study how that news all got put down.
A few words by Northwest poet David Wagoner:
Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.
I never tire of new & interesting research re: corvids. This most recent study, a collaboration between the University of Auckland (New Zealand), the University of Cambridge (UK) and the University of Vienna (Austria) and published both on the BBC and in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, crows showed “complex cognition” in tool use, making inferences about their environment based on the presence/absence of humans.
A more detailed explanation is available here:
Brian Bowers renders Dave Carter’s “When I Go,” self-accompanied on auto-harp. His entire performance at the Timberline Lodge 75th birthday Tribute to Tradition concert last night was a treat, but he took care to couch this song in terms of his reverence not only for the late Dave Carter, but the very perspective of man & nature unseparate, inviolable, eternal.
Come, lonely hunter, chieftain and king
I will fly like the falcon when I go
Bear me my brother under your wing
I will strike fell like lightning when I go
I will bellow like the thunder drum, invoke the storm of war
A twisting pillar spun of dust and blood up from the prairie floor
I will sweep the foe before me like a gale out on the snow
And the wind will long recount the story, reverence and glory, when I go
Spring, spirit dancer, nimble and thin
I will leap like coyote when I go
Tireless entrancer, lend me your skin
I will run like the gray wolf when I go
I will climb the rise at daybreak, I will kiss the sky at noon
Raise my yearning voice at midnight to my mother in the moon
I will make the lay of long defeat and draw the chorus slow
I’ll send this message down the wire and hope that someone wise is listening when I go
And when the sun comes, trumpets from his red house in the east
He will find a standing stone where long I chanted my release
He will send his morning messenger to strike the hammer blow
And I will crumble down uncountable in showers of crimson rubies when I go
Sigh, mournful sister, whisper and turn
I will rattle like dry leaves when I go
Stand in the mist where my fire used to burn
I will camp on the night breeze when I go
And should you glimpse my wandering form out on the borderline
Between death and resurrection and the council of the pines
Do not worry for my comfort, do not sorrow for me so
All your diamond tears will rise up and adorn the sky beside me when I go.
This just in from the birds are wicked-smaht file:
Wild ravens in the Austrian alps have been observed using their beaks and body language to direct another raven’s attention to a specific object, marking the first time such complex gesturing has been documented in an animal outside of humans and their primate cousins.
The findings suggest that Corvus corvax…may have communication abilities and intelligence that puts them on par with bonobos.
By repeatedly demonstrating a kind of “look at that” gesture thought to be at the foundation of human language — behavior seen in human infants beginning at about the age of 1 — the birds may even be smarter than some nonhuman primates, according to a study published today in the journal Nature Communications.
Ravens are the PNW’s original conversationalists: always fussing about something.
According to Dr. Richard Ryan of the University of Rochester, contextualizing ourselves in nature makes us more human. The next obvious question is: what of those people who never get out into nature, or who only see it through the windscreen of an automobile moving 70MPH? Is alienation the opposite result? Dr. Ryan seems to suggest so:
“Across all four studies, people exposed to natural elements rated close relationships and community higher than they had previously. The questionnaire also measured how immersed viewers were in their environments and found that the more deeply engaged subjects were with natural settings, the more they valued community and closeness. By contrast, the more intensely participants focused on artificial elements, the higher they rated wealth and fame.”
The ayes have it: kill your television; go fly a kite.