Saturday, June 6, 2015

Caught In a Downpour

As I was bringing my compost bucket to the garden this morning, I got caught in a downpour. Ducking into the shed (a very poor pun), I stood and listened as it passed through. I may have mentioned a time or two, all my outbuildings have tin roofs. The garden shed has the additional grace of slatted sides. I could listen, and watch. It was the most fun I've had in a while. It didn't last long, but while it did I was reminded of something I wanted to tell you.

A few weeks ago, I went to the cabin to do another walk-through to see how it fared through the winter. I do this fairly often and have spent some time there looking at possibilities other than its unintended use as a raccoon / porcupine hotel.  For a while a skunk lived under the porch but I believe it has moved on to other quarters.The raccoon and porcupines have also moved on now that summer is here.

Prior to this particular walk-through, I had, that morning, mentioned to myself how nice it would be to have a book of Carl Sandburg's poetry. I had no notion of which one, just one to add to my collection of poetry books. That afternoon I went to the cabin and did my usual, somewhat cursory looking around. Without knowing why, I felt drawn to a particular set of shelves in the corner. I had looked at these shelves before, but this time I looked closer and tucked into the corner of the highest shelf, against the wall and blending into the wood, was a book. I took it down and turned it around. It was a well-worn, 1922 edition of Carl Sandburg's, Chicago Poems.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

When Books Were Books

There was a time when books came with nothing but hard covers and unbreakable spines, with artwork gracing their covers. I have fallen in love with these books and what they represent: the care taken to present beauty at every opportunity; when art was everywhere, even on bank notes and postage stamps. I fear they are all falling by the wayside of expediency. It seems we are being indoctrinated into the lie that we don't have time to slow down and savor the minutiae of life.

Most days, I look to nature for these elements of beauty. Yesterday, I saw white violets in the meadow. There was more than one extensive patch. I almost missed these quiet beauties as the sky had captured my attention. I was walking among them before I looked down and realized all the beauty right there at my feet.

The book covers that have caught my attention the most are those that bring together my love of books and love of nature. I mean, who doesn't want to be "among the meadow people?"

Ever since I realized insects rule the world and far outnumber us, I've been paying more attention and showing a great deal more respect. Yesterday, two little bugs found their way in with my bed sheets. They were hanging on for dear life, so I took them back outside to their known universe. They might not have been ready for a whole new one. Hmmmmm. Now, I'm wondering if that's not exactly why they came inside with my sheets. They were ready. I will try not to ponder the imponderable too long.

Instead, I will think on this title, the ways in which I can practice having, "a quiet eye," with the birds who frequent the feeder. Again this spring the indigo buntings spent a few days with me, moving from the feeder to the rock garden as morning arrived. Against the grey rocks they are so beautiful.

I don't know about you fellers, but for us girls, Louisa May Alcott was a pretty big deal among readers. I saw, "Little Women," at least parts of it, on television recently, but I didn't see them represented the way they are in my mind's eye, so I turned it off and let what I remembered of them remain. In her honor, I must include this cover.

And then, there's this. James Russell Lowell is the poet, the illustrations are by my beloved Winslow Homer. What's inside would surely set my head spinning. I would love to get my hands on a copy of it, first edition, of course.

I see more second hand bookstores in my future.