Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Levering Cafe; home of the Big Chicken

Levering Cafe
Originally uploaded by jhhymas
We took an outing to the Post Office and decided to continue on to a nearby town for the locally famous special chicken they serve here. The restaurant was full of rooster effigies, to carry out the theme. Alas, someone had just placed a huge order to be picked up and taken out--the special chicken machine was tied up for half an hour. So we just got regular chicken, his grilled in a toasted sandwich and mine "smothered" in swiss cheese, mushrooms and bacon. We each brought half-a-portion home. It was fine, but we still don't know why the special chicken is so famous!
Walking into the place was like a trip back in time. Several people were smoking in the dim brown light. The walls were plain wood with various rooster items hung on them. We sat down at a dark-red-oilcloth-covered square table. Most of the other tables were full; there was one waitress and one sub-waitress who brought your drinks and cleaned off the tables. She also filled the pepper shaker, after I removed the lid and set both shaker and lid artfully on the edge of the table. A heavy woman helped a man with a damaged left side to a table. A teen with a funny haircut, like a cartoon baby with a curl on the top of his head, was eating dinner with his parents. He held his mouth about an inch above the plate. Lots of ordinary people, just like us, chewed and swallowed. I was quite comfortable. It made me think of the video I saw today about the Mad Magazine artist, Rick Tulka, who sketches every day in a cafe in Paris. He was comfortable in that cafe, even though it was famous, in Paris, and the former haunt of famous writers like Hemingway and Henry Miller, it was comfortable to him. He rode his bicycle there every day at the same time and often found that he had already drawn all the patrons of that hour. I wished I could sketch, invisibly. And then I drove home through the rain and looked at the clouds.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Waldron Pond

Originally uploaded by jhhymas
Because trees cannot grow IN the pond, there is made a cylinder of light coming down from the sky. This lights the trees and bushes, weeds and grasses on both sides of the pond with a sort of heavenly illumination. Now, leaves have just begun to fall; the light in autumn's opening spaces is very soft and beautiful. Just behind you where you are now standing looking down into the pond, there is a roofed picnic shelter and several bird feeders. You are guaranteed close views of birds and yesterday a chipmunk running back and forth through the grass.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Originally uploaded by jhhymas
Nancy brought apples, cider and cookies to serve after the Petoskey Audubon Society birdwalk at her nature preserve this morning. My husband said, "What beautiful apples these are!" So I took a picture. Then we ate them. She said she got them at Bill's Farm Market.
The day was perfectly sunny and crisp. The highlight for me was Palm Warbler, which I have only seen once before on a birdwalk at Point Reyes. Lots of warblers are on the move. The palm warblers seemed to be traveling with a flock of American goldfinches. They flew before the advancing birders and then began to flit in and out of the first two rows of corn nearest the path when we came to a field of standing corn. Someone said he thought they could find bugs in the tassels.
We also had good scope views of migrating Sandhill Cranes hunting in a mown field. It was quite a long walk, and we sort of rested up all afternoon.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Peekaboo reds

Peekaboo reds
Originally uploaded by jhhymas
Just before I took this from the porch, two deer bounded into the woods. I saw only the white flags of their disappearance. Each day now brings more red leaves; it is hard to accept that the summer is really over.
Inspired in part by Ted Kooser's tales of thrift stores and garage sales, we stopped at Challenge Mountain on the way into town. I found a clear heavy pressed glass pitcher to use for water on the dinner table; I had been wishing I had one. Also toys for granddaughters and even a toy for myself, in the form of a stuffed muslin rabbit in pinafore that looks like the child of the one I got from my daughter's garage sale. They sit together now on top of the living room bookcase. It's a nice distraction from politics. Sigh, as Charlie Brown used to say. Sigh.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Black willow hung with autumn vines

This is an experiment to see if infrared that I've processed with a slight blue cast works with this blog design. I have started another blog to post most of the infrared on. It is called WHITE LEAVES. That, too, is an experiment, since one blog is more than I've shown myself able to handle every day. Today was warm and sunny. The people at water exercise are overwhelmingly grateful for this kind of weather. Michigan winters have earned their respect, if not their love.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Two Cranes

Two Cranes
Originally uploaded by jhhymas
Yesterday's re-sort yielded two boxes of paper to recycle. We took it today. There is no recycling pickup here, but large bins are placed near the new Fire Hall. It also turned up a Poetry Flash from 2005 with WONDERFUL long articles on Kay Ryan (who is now the poet laureate), Robert Creeley, who was very influential and much loved (his readings enjoyed almost rock-star popularity during the Sixties) and Robinson Jeffers, that fierce and craggy Pacific Coast poet. Each article was solid, informative and interesting. NOw I am having trouble throwing away a newspaper that I should have tossed unread. . .

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Thistle in sunlight

Oh, I know it is prickery, but isn't it pretty in the sun? And the color of out-of focus pines sets it off just so.
Today, I've been going through saved papers and magazines from several summers. I have to move them from the table they were stacked on so we can move it to have the windows washed.
I read a lovely book of short poems by Ted Kooser before starting--this was to give me courage. I cannot recommend his poems too highly. They are just the ticket (remember that ticket?) for almost anyone. He sent one each day to Jim Harrison (another favorite writer) on a postcard. Because Kooser was recovering from cancer surgery and radiation and had been forbidden sunlight, he took a two mile walk each morning before the sun came up! The book is called Winter Morning Walks; postcards to Jim Harrison. Still in print, you can get it now! It costs less than most fast food meals, and is WAY more nourishing.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Praxilla in the Forest

Originally uploaded by jhhymas
These fragments are all that remains of the writings of Praxilla who lived in the 5th century B. C. I should know the translator, but when Pat Shelley wrote these out for me, she forgot to note that.
They are good autumnal quotes for this turn of the season, I think.

1. The fairest thing I leave behind is sunlight,
the shining stars and the full moon’s face,
and also ripe cucumbers, and apples and pears.

2. Yet they never persuaded your heart.

3. Learning from the tales of Admetos, my friend, love the brave
but avoid cowards, knowing the gratitude of cowards is small.

4. Watch for a scorpion, my friend, under every stone.

5. You who look lovely from the windows--
a virgin face, but newly wed below.


P1240007 crp
Originally uploaded by jhhymas
One of nature's still life arrangements on the sand at Sturgeon Bay. In this case, the French term "nature morte" is definitely the ticket. Ticket to what? you may ask. Perhaps, as my son once said: a ticket to a dance that has already been held.
This graceful arrangement on the sand reminded me of life and death at the same time. My essay's still not finished. Today we did some power-washing on the deck. . .

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Globe Thistles at the Farm Market

I could stay here all afternoon taking pictures of fruit and flowers! Sometimes I think that digital photography has unleashed me to take too many pictures. In the last two years I have been at events at which nearly everyone was taking pictures; it made it difficult to see the event, or enjoy the quiet beauty of, for instance, the cherry blossoms. If they haven't bothered with cameras, now they have a cameraphone.
I tried to imagine how I would use these dried thistles if I bought some. They had handsome deep yellow yarrow, too, but I was having trouble making an arrangement in my mind.
Bill's Farm Market is the one place I have found where I can get a few of my beloved Macintosh apples every year. The apples of my childhood, they are the apples that truly taste like apples should taste! Crisp, and just faintly sour, or acid. S says they are too sour, but he doesn't have a childhood apple. The Fuji apple seems too sweet to me, and the texture is too grainy. I admit they keep well, ship well and are very crisp, but I hope to have a bag of Macintosh apples every season as long as I can chew!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Very Sweet

Very Sweet
Originally uploaded by jhhymas
Well, I frightened myself by putting an unfinished essay in the previous post. I'm going to like it when it is done, which isn't tonight. The grandsons are home again this weekend, and we finished off a nice harvest supper (chicken, sweet corn, tomatoes, cukes and onions in vinegar) with another game of SORRY. I won again. Weird.
Today a short ride to the farm market, where we got some squash, some corn and some hard peaches. It'a a great market and folks come from near and far.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Originally uploaded by jhhymas

Tonight an image of something that is (was) TRULY DIGESTIBLE, since I am about to launch on an essay really too long for this space. Here goes:

An Essay on Juxtaposition

This morning I woke early and there was enough light coming through the window to read, so that is what I did. While S and the dogs slept soundly, I picked up the Pushcart Prize XXX anthology I started reading just before we left here last year. I began at the book mark. I had decided to read straight through this ponderous volume, so I would know where I was—with literary magazines, I often skip around, usually reading the essays first, then the poetry, and then the fiction--(if I have time before something else crowds out that particular periodical.) Pat Shelley used to mark the table of contents in her literary journals, she had a system of checks to indicate the pieces she thought were especially fine. I am often reminded of her and her ways, even though she has been dead now for ten years.

The poem I read first is by Ted Kooser.
I don't think he will mind if I tell you the whole poem:


In a light, cold rain, at the edge of the woods,
a line of brides is waiting, hand in hand.
Their perfume carries far across the fields.
They have been brought here from the east
to marry farmers, and were left on the platform.
The dark old depot of the woods is locked
and no one has come for them but me.

Well, this was a pleasant start! Then came an 8-page story “Ackerman in Eden” by Donald Hays. It dealt with reality and fantasy in the life of a man who escapes from a mental hospital. I was not familiar with the author, but I very much liked the way he used so many ancient place names to convey the mental state of Ackerman. It gave the story a richness and resonance.

Alas, this tale of mine will go on much longer. This is only the beginning of this stream of thought, so you will understand the more interesting part. More tomorrow, unless I goof up again.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A single idea: three notebooks

This week, I started a new Moleskine to carry with me. On a trip to town yesterday, I found these two wannabees: top, at the dollar store $1--lined pages of ordinary paper, glued binding that seems very strong, pink elastic closing, no bookmark; middle, Office Max, $6.99, made in China, laminated leather cover with edge stitching, sewn binding, black elastic closing, ribbon bookmark, expandable envelope inside back cover. I got the graph paper one, since I have been wanting to play with graph paper. I haven't measured the squares, but they look very small, and maybe metric. The paper is not heavy like a real Moleskine.

At the bottom: my real classic Moleskine for comparison.
FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF GOOD IDEAS! You cannot keep it to yourself.

Monday, September 15, 2008

At the Brutus Deli, Brutus, Michigan

This is the mug they served my husband's coffee in Saturday morning when we went to the Brutus Deli (Brutus, Michigan) for blueberry pancakes after a beach walk. It reminds me of my childhood, when bubble gum was a very popular item. In about 1943 or1944, kids from my grade school would form a long line to buy TWO pieces of the severely rationed stuff. Some kid entrepreneurs would then re-sell for higher prices.
And where were you in World War Two???
It doesn't seem that long ago really, although most people you meet now weren't even born then.
I started two new notebooks today, a small Moleskine for my purse and a larger (book-sized) lavendar colored blank book which has enough room to revise haiku as I am working on them. I like to number the pages when I begin a new book and then paste the season word lists on the inside front covers of the haiku workbook. Then I leave a title page and a page or two for a table of contents to fill in as I go. The last few pages are for lists of reminders, contact or web site information, titles of books and music I want to get and questions to look up answers for. It works fairly well for me. But I am having a much harder time integrating much drawing or sketching into this established system and may have to keep another notebook for that. I hope not. We shall see.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sand and Sky at Sturgeon Bay

Originally uploaded by jhhymas
I've only been here three times, and every time I have taken photographs that I still prize. These open spaces left on the American land and shore must be treasured. We came for a birdwalk. It also turned out to be a trash collection challenge, since a recent storm had blown a lot of non-biodegradable stuff onto the beach. Once in a while I am reminded of the lovely words flotsam and jetsam. I think flotsam is what floats and jetsam is what is cast ashore, so this trash was both.
I hope to go back on Tuesday with different cameras and see what I can get. Unless it rains heavily.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I want to be your boyfriend

I want to be your boyfriend
Originally uploaded by jhhymas
Oh, I can't resist this. The way the girls are looking at him!
It's been a good day. The boys are back home for a short visit and we all had dinner together. Afterwards, we played SORRY and I won easily. It's the only board game I know the rules to, and I play it with all my grandchildren, but I don't often have such a decisive win.
Tonight the boys heard, then saw, a meadowlark, singing on a post. For the past few days, a couple of bluebirds have been catching bugs in our meadow, along with a pair of flickers, a kingbird, and a flock of starlings. I can't tell what kind of bugs they are catching, but I wish they would catch the paper wasps that are bginning to build near the porch. I'm imagining we are in the midst of bird migration. These cranes were not our local Famkily of Four, but a group of 18 that, for some days, have been in the stubble field from rye that our neighbor planted this year. I sat in the car to take the pictures, because they start to ease away from the road when you get out of the car.
Today, an unexpected letter with some pictures from about 20 years ago. Nice pictures, a very nice surprise.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

What is my name?

What is my name?
Originally uploaded by jhhymas
Handsome, don't you think? And stands out so nicely on the yellow clusters in our meadow. I got a lovely surprise phone call from a friend tonight and almost couldn't shut up. I had to fill her in on three months. I don't know why I never call people up. I always think they will be asleep, or eating, or talking to someone else, or just grocery shopping. Once my son said, quite sharply, that I didn'i call him "like other moms" -- that was quite shocking, and I call him more now, but not as much as I should.
My granddaughter, age three, called me up for Grandparent's Day, a new commercial holiday that I only heard of recently and immediately forgot. She and I had a lovely chat-- it is getting quite easy to understand her on the phone. She said she had to eat five bites of her carrot salad before she could call. Her family had stayed in our
house on a recent short trip. In the middle of the call, she suddenly stopped, "Where ARE you?," she cried out, having expected us to be at home, and being used to more frequent visits from us when we are living nearby.
"MIchigan." didn't convey a lot of meaning to her. It's right on the cusp of autumn now. We came close to a frost last night.

in his evening flight
the crow’s swift certitude
—autumn deepens


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The heart-shaped leaf

The heart-shaped leaf
Originally uploaded by jhhymas
Because my modem crashed, I've been gone. In the few short years of DSL, I had developed the need to be able to look up anything at any time. We had a terrifying week, because they said they were sending the new modem "next-day air" and it came ground. It could almost have walked here from Wisconsin in the amount of time it took. Such fussing! Such anguish and suspense. . .
When I picked up the book I got on digital infrared and saw how beautifully white sunflowers were, I ran right out and our two volunteers (bird seed?) were just ready to shoot. Here is the largest of the beauties.
Heard from someone I have known since the late 1940s today. I sent her a scanned picture of a group of us in about 1948 or 1949. I sent it in 2004. She asked me a question about one of the people. When I finally remembered the name, I wrote back in 2007. When another friend complained by phone that she hadn't answered email she looked at an old Juno account that she thought she had cancelled. It had 6000 messages in it, one of them my answer.
So, she's just answered my answer and maybe we'll keep it up. Email makes these things possible. People can ask questions (or tell you they love you) that it would be embarrassing to waste a stamp on. Good night, lovely sunflower, and good night, all my lovely friends.