Kaleidoscope

Monday

  • As happens periodically, I grow weary of current patterns, including the one I have used on this blog for the last year or so.  Like seasons, an occasional change is required. 
  • New formats are in flux.  Social and philosophical commentary easily becomes tedious, even to the writer.  Reaction to current events tends to bitter shallow sloganeering.  Yet pondering the deeper course of nature and cosmos becomes a mere escape from daily reality.  Nevertheless, pondering and commentary and reaction is what I have available.  I am not about to leap into action and somehow save the world, nor even a single soul.
  • Kaleidoscope represents this weekly theme of all that is swirling about, colored leaves constantly falling, turning brown, drying on the ground.  What can be isolated from that constantly changing view, what meaning should be attached?  Twist the device and suddenly all fractures again, yet with similarities.  So it is with perspectives on life and society and nature.
  • Twist again.  I am not sure where, if anywhere, I should settle.  Pardon my confusions, as I seek my path into the next stage.

Tuesday

  • Something seemed different the minute my Honda reached the long causeway through the marshes, Saturday after Veterans Day.  Too many cars, in both directions.  Sure enough, Caumsett which is often nearly empty at this time of year, especially on such a chill wind afternoon, looked like a rock concert.  Cars lined down the entrance road, parking lot jammed, enough people walking with strollers, bikes, and young children to fill Central Park.  Even a family of five on large unicycles,  following their mother like wheeled ducklings.
  • I don’t dislike people, but I come to this state park for solitude.  Fortunately, the less known dirt roads and paths through the woods, sprinkled with leaves of all colors and shades of yellow and brown, were almost _ not entirely _ free of humanity.  Squirrels dashing about the underbrush were about the only noise rising above the gentle rush of drying branches and foliage.  Sunbeams slicing through translucent patterns like nature’s stained glass.
  • The park on a day like this is a natural cathedral.  Everybody knew it, which accounts for the crowds.  And, I suppose, also to relieve some of the hysterical social tensions of the last week, and get back to understanding that the world is more than politics, more than television, more than slogans, and even more than anyone’s ambitions. 
  • More than that, this cathedral remains free to all those willing to make the effort, take the time, and experience it.

Wednesday

  • Walking into southerly setting sun, camera slung around my neck, trying to take pictures of the harmoniously hued majesty revealed everywhere, but the results cannot begin to recreate what I enjoy.
  • Frame, focus, visualize clearly.   Success often requires ignoring wider reality.

Thursday

  • This is my sixty-ninth fall to heaven, as Dylan Thomas would put it.  Long Island has experienced twenty-one thousand such cycles since its formative glaciers receded.  By geologic time, even by personal time, this is one season among many.  Nature continues its stately rhythm.  Unlike our own quickly distracted and worried minds.
  • Breathless screaming media, panic in the streets, end of civility, civilization collapsing.
  • I can’t help thinking this is a bit of overreaction to an election.  But maybe people are too young to remember really fearsome times:  Germany invading Poland in ’39, Cuban missile crisis, Nixon’s win in ’72, even Chernobyl melting away forever.
  • We’ve survived worse.  Very little is about to change very much, which will make some people very angry, and some people very relieved, and most people just continuing about their lives.  Leaves ceaselessly drift down.  Snow will arrive soon enough.

Friday

  • Autumn is more about age than death.  Another cycle of closing up and seeking shelter through difficult weather.  Not the grand newborn hope of spring, not the eternal dance of summer, but not the chill of icy endings.  Fall marks time passing, and inevitable decline to await better times.
  • Like aging properly understood, autumn is a time of spectacle.  The grand survivors reveal themselves in full complexity of lives past.  Younger trees are stripped of gaudy leaves and stand slim beside massive trunks.  Undergrowth briefly becomes visible, displaying fallen giants as reminders of seasons past, decay fungus setting in.
  • We gradually become aware of the bones of our natural world exposed, the fantastic twists of tree limbs, the undulations of earth.  I would lie to claim it is a happy or hopeful time.  After all, that is why we so frantically engage in our various festivals of light as the days grow short.  But it certainly is not the dead calm of waiting out a blizzard, the creeping pain of deep cold, the pure endurance of hoping for better days that we encounter in February.

Saturday

Squirrel hunches nervously seeking any small remaining seeds from the cascade that continues to fall as tiny migrant birds attack the feeder, spilling more than they eat.  Crow flaps in ostentatiously, scattering a couple of doves as it lands and struts, occupying territorial ground space.
“Hey, Sherry, what’s up?” he squawks imperiously.
“Busy, busy, busy,” answers Sherry Squirrel, barely looking up from her nearsighted endeavor.  “Have to put away as much as possible you know.  Hard times coming, hard times.”
“But,” notes Clark Crow, “There’s big fallen nuts all around the yard.  What are you wasting time here for?  This stuff is hardly worth bothering about.”
“Not enough hickories this year, not enough,” complains Sherry.  “Hardly any acorns.  I’m stopping by for a quick snack, this quick snack, before I get back to burying my future meals.  Need to get ready now.  Besides, I could ask you the same, Roadkill.  Why are you here?”
Clark is not happy with his nickname, but he endures it as pridefully as possible.  “Same thing.  I get tired of the same old diet of squash.  Squashed rats, squashed raccoons, here and there a seagull.  This stuff is like candy.”
“Wonder where it all comes from,” wonders Sherry.  Suddenly loud screeches sound all around, high up in the trees.  She lifts her tail and glances up in near panic.
“Neighborhood watch!” explains Clark, getting ready to take off.  “Either Cat or Hawk has been sighted. We take turns covering each other.”
“Great idea!” snaps Sherry, grabbing one more seed.  “I lost my friend Ralph last week over at Coindre because he was on the open lawn and not paying attention.  Must rush!”
“Yeah, Heather got gutted by Cat a while ago.  She was too fat to take off quickly, of course, her own fault really…”
“Gotta go now! Go!” shouts Sherry jumping onto a tree and scampering up into thick branches.
“Later!” Clark flaps up to the highest point in the blue spruce to see if he can figure out what is going on.

No matter how easy life seems, friends have to stay alert.  

Sunday

Gold, russet, sienna, scarlet
Just words meaningless
Unless

Your memory evoked

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