Wednesday, April 16, 2014
What are lichen? and a Gray memory thread . . .
One of the pleasure of this older garden with a lot of stonework and stone outcroppings is the marvelous amount of intricate lichen that can be seen in the Tilden Botanic Garden. I am so proud of myself for finally learning to pronounce this word! When I first heard someone say like-en, I didn't know what they meant, having invented for myself something like litch-en. This stuff is pretty in a delicate, grayish-green understated way.
Here's some more from Thoreau's Journals. Thhirty-nine notebooks! Speaking of journals, I must share that Theodore Roethke died in his mid-fifties leaving so many notebooks and so much other paper that it makes me tired just ot think about it. And I'll be offering up some more samples here soon.
As the bay-wing [the vesper sparrow] sang many a thousand years ago, so sang he tonight. In the beginning God heard his song and pronounced it good, and hence it has endured. It reminded me of many a summer sunset, of many miles of gray rails, of many a rambling pasture, of the farmhouse far in the fields, its milk-pans and well-sweep, and the cows coming home from pasture.
I would thus from time to time take advice of the birds, correct my human views by listening to their volucral (?). He is a brother poet, this small gray bird (or bard) whose muse inspires mine. His lay is an idyl or pastoral, older and sweeter than any that is classic. He sits on some gray perch like himself, like a stake, perchance, in the midst of the field, and you can hardly see him against the plowed ground. You advance step-by-step as the twilight deepens, and lo! he is gone, and in vain you strain your eyes to see whither, but anon his tinkling strain is heard from some other quarter. One with the rocks and with us.
--Henry David Thoreau
From The Heart of Thoreau's Journals, Dover, page 177.
How many of us have held one of those milk-pans, or touched the long, slender well-sweep? But we can usually all find places to walk. In Erica Goss's new book, Vibrant Words: ideas and inspiration for poets, Pushpen Press, San Jose, 2013,. there is a section that begins on page 115, titled, PARKING LOTS AS INSPIRATION. and another section (beginning on page 23) called I LEFT MY HEART IN THE LOS ANGELES BASIN. Think about it. And listen to the birds, or the wind in the trees, or even to the sizzle of the asphalt.
Tonight, we met a beautiful greyhound on the Daily Walk. He was taking a leash-walk with his owner and reminded me that it is possible to forget how elegantly THIN greyhounds are. He was also really, really gray, a beautiful soft warm grey. He was so streamlined that even his ears folded back against his head. A friendly dog, too.
at 11:55 PM