25 Sep 2014, 3:59pm


Fallen is the proof of fall. We don’t need to rake it all up. No need for gathering everything that could be gathered.

Pulling back out of habits gives perspective into habits.

Consequently I have curtailed my online to see what happens when I use for minutes instead of hours. I set a stopwatch and before noon, a minute here or there added up to my 1/2 hour of social media and email.

I am trying to rewire myself to pause and prioritize instead of plunging to whatever is handy because that will be the newest and eye-baubliest not the most worthwhile. Rest instead. More present, more directed.

You can take the kayaker out of the lake but can’t take away the effect, for a while, at least. The rhythm of life that surfaced was good. Brain waves slowed. Eventually relaxation sunk into deeper self after the impatience of the hump of stir crazy and wanting my nervous habits.

Watery cedars.

My habit is to lash forward, time check, monitoring, self-interruption, animation, agitation, keep the stimulation coming because when I stop, I crash and am down for the long reboot. But if I go at a more measured pace, maybe that too shifts. Or maybe not. At the end of the day, productive or unproductive, there’s often fatigue. How to up the satisfaction ratio?

We slow down to pay attention.

I’m reading Robert Bly’s Selected, which has essays alongside. He was speaking of Hart Crane’s Pastorale”

No more violets,
And the year
Broken into smoky panels.
What woods remember now
Her calls, her enthusiasms?

Of it he says, “The lines are brief and turn over quietly, and we feel a tentative probing that is very attractive, as if the writer hesitates to impose a five-beat line on the reader[...] Blake believed that public art is crucial to a nation[...] I think we all want poetry that can at times embody public speech, a way of writing that is not introverted.[...] Whitman’s ebullient energy, is a line of authority and power that unfolds, unrolls, or catapults into the outer world.”

Without any companion it grew there uttering joyous leaves of dark green.

Interesting somehow. Partly in how he suggests line and meter are inherantly fitting with internal speech and another pattern about making public speech. Both can be poetry but to different ends.

Why do I keep myself in a state of hurry/harried? Even when I refuse to move, I am at the same pace mentally.

I saw what I hadn’t. The sumac leaves were rolled into seeming fruits, follow except for the inhabitant. Who had done that? I grew up near 2 fields of sumac and don’t recall seeing such cocoon or egg weaving.

coral mushroom
Inhaling the light of coral mushrooms.

slime mould
A few stumps and fallen logs had wonderful lives of slime mould. They vary by their hour, sometimes looking more like a mushroom colony, sometimes like moose phlegm.

evening music
Quiet evening of natural light by the fire.

cat by fire
Sleeping cat

book by fire
And book.

where Lampman's cottage was
Recently having stood where Archibald Lampman’s cabin was, now off the canal on NCC land. Perhaps where he wrote Nov 24, 1896, In the Wilds,

The savage vigour of the forest creeps
into our veins, and laughs upon our lips;
the warm blood kindles from forgotten deeps,
and surges tingling to finger tips.
The deep-pend life awakens and bursts its bands;
we feel the strength and goodness of our hands.

A book called Survival Wisdom & Know-How told how acorns were gathered in such abundance to be a staple of mash and cakes.

acorn recipe
How simple the steps, gather, shell and then boil 2 hours to take the bitterness out, slow bake to toast, grind then mix into cakes and fry.

Surrounded by oak trees (among all the others) why not try. We gathered 3 cups. Firm to the touch, no visible holes.

paired acorns
Cuter than buttons. A stitch in time, saves the whole button.

Many of them looked like wormy apples inside, or with the grain of a nutmug. A little track could be taken out like a bad spot, but 2 cups in, after you take off the caps, shells and iffy bits, we were under a 1/4 cup yield.

inhabited acorn
And then this little mister or miss like a chubby translucent j inside the uterine water of shell disturbed before maturity. He was heading off as fast as his little legs would take for not-here.

How presumptuous of me to see excess and unused waiting for me to take. How very imperial to enter a foreign wood and think I can take what I like as I like, that what falls is what squirrels don’t want and what ground won’t sprout. I put the shell back together which is of little use after the caesarian by this blacksmith. Maybe it’s a rare thing. I tried to shell more and disturbed 3 more before I called myself off.

This little grub was not who the squirrels would have dropped but who the squirrel was looking for. Like dogs who love the larvae of June bugs, this is a treat for rodents. Apparently foraging people eat them and September is peak season. But this entomologist disagrees; squirrels disprefer weevilly ones. But chipmunks don’t according to this discussion board at BugGuide; this kind of information sharing at a distance is the internet at its best, not news gossip or sharing a feeling. It almost brings a happy tear to the eye.

12 Sep 2014, 2:35pm

Here a Tidy, there a Sharpy

The windstorm knocked over the whole tangled mess of morning glory/grapevine/raspberry canes, snapped their stakes and pulled them off their tendrils and fence.

Our blueberry is still surviving underneath the runners of enthusiastic morning glory. They can feel the sun again. I procured some eggshells to scatter at the base of the rhubarb that snails still find so numlicious.

I presume I can just leave the onions down there for next year. Cleaning out some areas of the garden I find that the ground has reabsorbed the onion greens and the lettuce. And yellow clover has acted as a shelter for Manitoba Maples. Even in sock and sweater weather they are still growing a little porous forest.

Our watermelon radishes are pretty intense. The kale has recovered. What I thought was a row of radish has some tiny turnips. I could have sworn I sowed the turnips in the other raised bed where the arugula overtook them just before the pink blossoming thing and an anthill took over the money plant. Arugula is one strident plant. It is still sending up new greens.

bean blossom
Our beans are still beaning ad blossoming forth. Little pods still growing. Our buckets of herbs seem to be keeling over again. Or perhaps keeling over is the wrong metaphor since they’re pot-dry.

Meanwhile upstairs I’m cleaning out the medicine drawer and checking the dates on all the cold meds, antihistamines, pain relievers, and muscle relaxants. So many boxes gone.

It occurs to me that you don’t need to give people excuses with a request. Give them credit for their creativity. All your saying that that does is to give the subtext of please refuse me which will become the real message.

Ponly you and you palone can thrill me like you do…you’re a ream come through, my pun, and ponly yooou.

10 Sep 2014, 12:23pm
General Ponderings
1 comment

The Economics of our Built Systems

While waiting for godot-transpo, I ended up walking 20 minutes since there was a longer wait than that between connecting busses.

It’s interesting walking with a device. It’s like a tricorder to reveal all the invisibles. I names and places put to wifi signals, like HappyAlphabet, BadAstronaut, AnLEDSign, and Password is Password. As Snowclone-a-Minute might put it if the bot were interactive: “Crouching messes, hidden insisting”.

climate change protest
Corrective graffiti on Bank Street.

It’s a bit hard to make out but over the words “Quality Moments” is written “Climate Change”

Our society is like an alcoholic with a cirrhosis that continues to drink.

I presume it was a car ad but I didn’t glance down. Looks like one.

We never need to get advertised at to buy commodities, potatoes, carrots, etc, yet there’s a constant push to try to induce appetite for cars and other luxury goods.

What does it mean about need that supersized farms have costs that make them band together and advertise as lobbies? Egg marketing, pork producers. The aim is to raise consciousness for the general idea. Now that pulled pork is ubiquitous on menus, there’s a virus going thru U.S. pig herds that causes almost 100% mortality in piglets. It can’t hop to humans and hasn’t made it into Canadian-traded animals.

Farming is a complex economic juggle, heavily subsidized since Canadians want one thing from their food it seems: cheapness. Price as the main thing create brutal situations. Cattle prices fell while feed prices rose, so it became expensive to keep the cattle. So some farmers culled. Smaller herds, higher demand, and vagaries of market ask for a higher price except now demand outstrips supply and there’s no way to make an animal breed faster. Gestation is gestation. Maybe for a tool you can build another factory, import more workers, get a supply chain of materials rerouted to respond quickly but 9 months and a week to make a new calf.

Really absurd practices reign of treating lives like inanimate goods. Even inanimate goods shouldn’t be destroyed en masse if there’s a market glut. Yes, it corrects the supply and demand but it disrespects the energy, lives and materials it took to make the widget, or life.

If we see a product as a commodity we don’t care who made it or where it came from. One material is interchangeable with another like cash or gasoline, rice, coal, soybeans, silver. There’s no intimate relationship to the source. The general idea is pitched.

Are books unditinguished commodities? In genre is one looking for the next Harlequin? When it’s pulp fiction when readers consume many books by cowboy genre, or thriller, romance, werewolf, do they act like commodities?

Is poetry like that?

When we have a luxury item or some good with product differentiation it is all about the distinguishing features, the niche, the quality or timing, place, availability, distinct aspects.

Many literary especially small press publishers seem to pitch their books as if commodities. This is the book. This is the price. There’s no excerpt, no reviews, no indication except title and author of what the niche or distinguishing features might be. This is at odds with their nature.

What to do with a cover information alone? If there’s only the cover to go on, it limits the market to someone who knows the author by name, or already knows enough of the press by other means to want to buy anything coming from the editor’s aesthetic. Or, as on twitter the dead author [Sep 4] quipped, “Show me on the book cover where you stopped reading.”

8 Sep 2014, 3:33pm

Summery Summaries

How could someone as mellow looking as this be also a holy terror running up and down stairs, outside swatting bees from midair.


I’m not as much a full time doorman to the cat as I think, surely I’m not.
cat, chill as a dude
Holland being chill, hanging out like a mobster.

On the other hand getting up to the meows to find out if she wants water because she dropped kibble in it, or food, of a higher standard perhaps, or clean toilet, or to go outdoors, or go indoors, or make it sunnier please or I’m bored of these, toys, want catnip, or attention or look, I caught a housefly.

What was I saying? Hard complete a thought since my thoughts are rather slow to piece. Ah, yes, I was saying all this is good for my back. This moving about thing. My back hasn’t felt as well in years. The cumulative effect is rolling back with the accumulation of a new habit of moving.

This outdoors thing isn’t so bad. Birdsong, cicadas, and whatever is biting my calf.

bean blossoms
Bean blossoms in front of bean blossoms.

table's apple holder
The patio table does’t need an umbrella anymore, but now it has a handy apple-holder.

These are key times with important questions of our day to be asked and some voice inside me shames me for not asking them. Yes, manic pixie dream girl, with laughter that’s kinda random and with deliberate mischief and kinda little town amateur theatre acting but somehow I dream of Jeannie is gently comic despite hyper-sized gender roles.

And yet yet that Failure to Care subroutine does come in handy occasionally. Confirmation bias allows a good night’s rest.

Don’t confuse your discomfort with danger. Or your comfort with safety. Or platitudes with effectiveness.

If we question ceaselessly, it’s a crazy maker. “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” ~ R. Buckminster Fuller, Critical Path.

Make a better model. Or make a cake. Or do something concrete and useful.

If you want to double your money, fold it in half. If you want to make your poetry twice as good, don’t fold it half or you won’t be able to find the sheets.

How to judge if Fuller did what we wanted? What of Fuller’s life, legacy rebuilt what we now take for granted? Every molecule changes something constantly. Every chipper that rolls a cluster of trees into dust. Every sporting cat who grabs a robin. Every robin. Every mite on it. I suppose even its gnats have gnats on their backs with flora in their gut.

The big picture is so astronomically larger than a perception and the smaller picture as fractal.

Yet to know rather than believe is a more substantial calling than to believe instead of knowing. It’s harder than faffing about and rarer but.

But, but, putter butter. Squirrel running over the top of the shadow of the tree, that is fence.

The cat wants back in.

3 Sep 2014, 10:25am

Silent in the Night

“So you’re relaxing at your South Hillside home in Anchorage when you look outside and see…a lynx? That’s exactly what happened to JoAnn Cunningham one Sunday” last December. The video. “Luckily my schnauzer and cat were inside at the time,” Cunningham says.

To me it is a joyful crossing paths to see any life, moss or crow, beetle or hopping spider. I’m a fan of life. Always have been. It distressed the folks as a kid as I sheltered mice or snakes or insects. For them nature is the sinister to be conquered.

I can see the logic of we build indoors so we don’t have to do outdoors. I’m tired of wee things biting me. But that said, there are so many fantastic beauties that we get to time share space with. A gift in this land so sloughed of life with our concrete and spraying programmes.

The house centipede being nocturnal, I didn’t know it was there. It is a tiny predator, hunter of spiders, silverfish, ants, bedbugs and moths. An entire ecosystem checking each other.

It looks like a deep sea creature. It can scuttle at 0.4m/second which is another reason why you’re unlikely to see it. Yes, it can sting but we don’t look like lunch, and it’s up to us if we force defensiveness.

house centipede
I scared the wee thing with my hunched relative several tonne form looming with a flashlight. It ran back and forth. Sorry fella. Just wanted to get a look.

Centipede is hyperbole. They never get to a hundred legs. This one seems about mid-life with 13 pairs. So halfway from a lifespan of 3-7 years. According to wikipedia,

They gain a new pair with the first molting, and two pairs with each of their five subsequent moltings. Adults with 15 pairs of legs retain that number through three more molting stages (sequence 4-5-7-9-11-13-15-15-15-15 pairs).

Millipedes are also exaggerated. Eathlife says “if you want to know how many legs a millipede has you can count the number of body segments, multiply by 4 and subtract 10 unless it is a member of the colobgnatha in which case you only subtract 8.” They have at least 9 pairs. There are over 10,000 named species of millipedes.

House centipedes by comparison, with their up to 3″ long antennae, look delicate for all their lassoing of prey pierce and fierce hunting. They also fastidiously self-groom. They look flashy compared to the more common cryptopid centipede found around fallen logs. Not sure if it’s range is here. It looks similar.

House Centipedes cannot be tight assed as they can’t clench. See,

Centipede respiratory systems do not provide any mechanism for shutting the spiracles, and that is why they need an environment that protects them from dehydration and excessive cold.

So as a kicker to this post, and it’s unfortunate that I have to say this explicitly, but no negs. No suggestions of harm to the creature. If you are bound to your hatred and fear as your identity, just come back when there’s a new post. No sharing of fear. Do that at your own site according to your need.

But back to the centipede. Mating is a bit detached and anti-climatic after the dance.

To begin mating, the male and female circle around each other. They initiate contact with their antennae. The male deposits his sperm on the ground and the female then uses it to fertilize her eggs.

Which I suppose is better? Well, different from Australia’s shrew-like black-tailed antechinus which takes 11 months to get to sexual maturity then has sex 12-14 hours a day then the male dies of internal bleeding from the franticness before it reaches a year old. The Antechinus female generally lives 2-3 years.

So many forms of life.

I once thought I’d like to study biology or hard science but was blocked by internalized anti-science fundamentalism and medieval ideas of being tested by Satan planting false evidence, pushed by a belief that I was destined for Bible translation. I liked the idea of science but I couldn’t abide the idea of evolution or animal dissection long enough to get to the other side of where formal observations could happen.

Where you start doesn’t determine where you stay.

If I had not been superstitiously moving through prayer sessions to decide my post-secondary, I wouldn’t have encountered hubby.

If we had not both been raised with the notion of church going we wouldn’t have met.

If I had not been inculcated on religion, I wouldn’t have sought refuge among believers who I felt were also oppressed minorities in a hostile anti-Christian world.

Because of this broken path, I intersected the life of who was to become the hubby who encouraged rationalism as well as being one of the kindest humans I’d met.

The wild-eyed, If.

If something that didn’t occur, did. If something that might occur did, except it didn’t.

A nonsense haranger that word. It’s scare quotes without any substantiated quotes.

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