Thursday, December 17, 2015

Morning Ritual

There are a few Tumblr sites I visit as part of my morning ritual. I love seeing what's been posted each day. They're places of peace and reflection. And, I like looking at pretty pictures. Once in a while it leads me to another Tumblr and I add it to my bookmarks. Yesterday I ran across one and decided to borrow an idea I found there. I googled vintage postcards, downloaded one that fit what I wanted to capture and added lyrics to it from Leonard Cohen, one of my favorite songwriters. It's not highly creative but it's fun and I may do a few more, either using his lyrics or other songwriters I admire.

In other news, we got our first real snowfall yesterday, about five inches. I actually love shoveling snow as long as it doesn't become a Sisyphean task. This was just right. I hope all is well in your corner of the world.

Click on the postcard to enlarge.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Christmas Fireworks and Coyotes

Well, it's Saturday night in northern Minnesota, in mid-December, and I just came in from standing on the porch listening to fireworks in the distance, part of a local Christmas celebration. If I'd been willing to go to town I suppose I could have seen them. I wasn't willing. It's hard to remember Christmas is just around the corner when there's barely a drop of snow on the ground and it's in the 40's.

Buddy, who had been resting peacefully on the porch, was not real thrilled with this turn of events. The fireworks went off, he barked. The fireworks went off again, the coyotes howled. The whole thing was turning confusing to him so he opted for going inside and I went with him.

A few minutes later I'm here at the kitchen table, listening to and watching Joni Mitchell sing, Coyote, during, The Last Waltz, with The Band. I love this song and the video.

So, that's what I'm doing on this mid-December night. Hope you're having a good night, too. Here's Joni:


Friday, December 4, 2015

The Companionship of Nature

A couple of barred owls, better known as hoot owls, have been hanging around my place again. I hear them after dark and very early in the morning. Buddy tends to go out just before daybreak, settles in on the porch to watch the woods and keep an eye on any critters passing through. Once he sees something he softly grrrrrrs, just to make his presence felt. From my table by the window I keep an eye on him in case any of those critters wander a little too close.

A few mornings ago, I stayed outside for a while watching and listening with him. Two owls started calling from one end of the woods to the other. There had been a light snow during the night ... a nice counterpoint to the morning's greying sky. Together, they created a slightly melancholy mood.

Last night at bedtime, as I turned out the little lamp I keep on my windowsill, I again heard the owls. They continued to call as I fell asleep. I found it peaceful and comforting, as though reassuring me, "All is well." Art, literature, music, friendship - all essential to my life - but nature sustains me like nothing else can. I love knowing there are owls in the woods, calling to each other in the darkness.

Painting by Jeanie Tomanek

Sunday, November 29, 2015

How to Be in Love with Life

Good morning, everyone. When I first woke this morning I felt led to read excerpts from Mary Oliver's book, Dog Songs, her paean to dogs and all they offer us. My pal, Buddy, has taught me so much about living life fully, how it is to be in love with life itself. As I have often said before, he is one fine companion. I had a feeling, as I read, it was going to lead me back here. I'm very glad it has. I'd like to share an excerpt that especially spoke to me on this cold but beautiful late November morning ...

"I want to extol not the sweetness nor the placidity of the dog, but the wilderness out of which he cannot step entirely, and from which we benefit. For wilderness is our first home too, and in our wild ride into modernity with all its concerns and problems we need also the good attachments of that origin that we keep or restore. Dog is one of the messengers of that rich and still magical first world. The dog would remind us of the pleasures of the body with its graceful physicality, and the acuity and rapture of the senses, and the beauty of the forest and ocean and rain and our own breath. There is not a dog that romps and runs but we learn from him."

~ Mary Oliver, Dog Songs

Wherever you are, I hope you are all having a wonderful Sunday morning.

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.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Getting By With A Little Help From Our Friends


Winter Dream #7 by Teresa Evangeline from cara long on Vimeo.

I've recently taken a break from twitter, perhaps a permanent one, but that's yet to be determined. While there, I found myself among some fine people, very creative and very kind. One of them is Cara Long. She is a short fiction writer who could always be counted on for something fresh and intriguing. She created this short video to complement my poem, Winter Dream #7, and posted it on Twitter. I am so grateful for her support and her creativity. I wanted to post it here to thank her and share it with you.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Farm Wife

It's a lot of fun for me to run across a painting I've not yet seen by a well-known artist whose work I love. Such is the case with Picasso's, "Farmer's Wife on a Stepladder." I'm reminded of the woman at the farm across the river who provides eggs for me. She and her husband have a beautiful farm with extensive gardens. I'm so grateful for their presence in my neck of the woods. I hope you are all well and having a good spring. I think it's going to be a really good summer.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Waiting on the Irises

Well, I hadn't planned on taking a break, but, apparently, that's what I'm doing. I hope all is well with all of you. I'm still posting over on my poetry blog and hope you'll visit me there. Spring is just around the corner ...

Painting: Vincent van Gogh