RDS: "With familiarity the profound becomes mundane. With passion the mundane becomes profound."...... Saul Bellow :" A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep." ......MORE PHOTOS @ saunterings.com

Monday, November 21, 2011


The week after the fall back to Eastern Standard Time is always such an eye-opener. So early comes the late, mid-day the evening time. One sunny day that week I spent an hour picturing the ravine and creek until the sunshine was beyond the ridge and the creek was all in shade.

Although well into November, the air was warm and still and in the open the sun had hours yet to shine, a perfect day for a chat with my neighbor, Walt, and to visit his pond. He doesn’t get to his pond as easily anymore, so after a brief chat on the driveway off I went.

From the spillway with the sun at my back, the water was calm and perfectly still. While walking around the pond, a stand of poplars, against the deep blue north sky, looked as if in reflection. Looking up seemed as looking down, sky seemed as water.

The ornamental grasses are at their finest in the fall, reflected in the water or catching sun rays reflected white or transmitted almost orange aglow.

High, thin clouds were moving in as the afternoon wore on. The reflections were ideal, but time was a concern, an hour or so at the pond, then I was back on the patio with Walt to talk the day away.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Lovely is the deep blue sky with dappling sun leaking through newly opened canopy onto fresh, leaf-covered woodland ground. Who can resist this invite, every day a new masterpiece of sun and blue sky, and leafy color above one’s head and at one’s feet.

Often fall can be cold and wet and windy, especially late October and early November, this fall we have been blessed with abundant sunshine. With adequate moisture and plenty of sun fall color has already lasted a very long time this year, although the color was not as brilliant as it could have been with a few more frosty nights.
The trail into the Genung Nature Preserve in nearby Freeville, N.Y. along Fall Creek invited one fine day, a short but pleasant walk, especially on an early fall afternoon, warm and full of sun.
An open copse of American hornbeam, commonly called ironwood or blue-beech, dominated a section of the trail. The open, airy look gives an almost mature feel to the wooded area
and the reddish fall foliage, both on the ground and the few left on the trees gives a warm glow. Often recently abandoned farm fields growing into woods are a tangled mess of vines and shrubs, small trees and bramble.

A nice clump of coral mushroom was caught posing for a portrait, a brief moment basking in a spot of sun shining through a canopy break

Along the bank of Fall Creek a mature oak and younger maple held out their leaves to catch some last moments of sun for this growing season.

As the season is fall, the sun settles too quickly and with barely enough day left, Dryden Lake beckons just down the road . As the sun drops lower in the sky a fisherman, perhaps with un-baited hook to avoid being disturbed by a luckless fish, quietly sits soaking up his fair share of autumn sun.

Each moment needs to be savored, one never knows how many more, if any, warm and sunny fall days will be.

Written late-October, posted today. RDS

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


In mid-fall are summer days when temperatures deceive, except for turn-coat leaves, shadows long and days too short, the season is remiss, each mild day a respite from reality. For soon leaves will tumble, twist and float from on high to mosaic the ground below. The week-end of mid-October was like that, two wonderful misplaced summer days.
But then a front passed through and fall breezed in right behind. The southern-sent humidity dropped, as did the temperatures too. The reign of fall returned as it must with rain drops and leaf drops and spirits dropping too! Reality of the season returned.

We all handle the season’s change in our own way. Some are more sad than others that the prospect of the long winter looms!!

As an aside, I’ve seen toads out as late as mid-December in mild wet weather. Whether they had never began hibernation or were fooled by the pleasant weather spell I don’t know. But it is quite rare!

Also in the greenhouse I had a desert planting on the ground and while weeding once in late February the sand under my hand began to move, as I jumped up, startled, a toad wiggled from the sandy soil!!

One spring when lifting pots of perennials again the soil began to move!! Again a toad was coming out. The surprising thing was how shallow he had spent the winter. Between three pots, not more than 2-3 inches below the surface I could see the hollow he had scooped out. It was obvious this was his retreat from the winter. Being so shallow it was also obvious the soil around him must have been frozen during the winter months. I was really amazed!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Standing at the brink of Lucifer Falls its height and drop is impressive.

Although Enfield Creek is usually a fairly small stream, when swollen with heavy, quick downpours, spring run-0ff or long periods of rains, it can become a raging torrent! With swollen flow, large volumes of debris and rocks can alter the creek bed. This year I was lucky enough to visit before the flooding of late August, so the colorful algae growing on the rocks all summer were still there. Now the rocks have been scoured clean, becoming merely grey again.

Early this season when it was wet and flow was high, a large log got hung up at the very brink of the falls. Grasses, delicate and graceful, fresh and green, growing in rock cracks, belie the harsh reality of their existence.

Walking along the pathway edging along the cliffs, the falls opens up, revealing new looks with each step.

The level stratification of the layered rocks seems impossible. So much time to form, so uniform to be!!

Layer by layer the mountains drifted into the ancient sea and now
exposed for us to see, to see and wonder how it and we came to be.

Lucifer Falls is but one of many water falls at Treman State Park, perhaps the loveliest of the parks in central New York!!

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Early last fall into the woods I walked where I had not walked in many years. Wind and snow and ice and new tangled growth and even poison ivy, had hindered any desire to wander there. The goal was to visit an old friend or two, with whom I had shared this land. They of course had been here much longer than I.

When I came upon them they seemed in good health, had weathered recent life intact. One or two, I never was quite sure, so close they were together, large boundary ash they are. For many, many years they stood on the line, observing life’s comings and goings. How long I do not know, but it is a long time. The woods have grown around them reducing what they could see, but quietly they knew “t
he world was a changing”.

When younger the woods was not, all around was open, a
nd spread their limbs they could, for young and vibrant they were. Just above them, also on the line, a white pine grew and spread its limbs to embrace wide-open space. Not far from each other and on the line they grew, grew bigger than all the rest, and towered high they did. When I first came here, they could clearly be seen from far across the valley, being high above the rest, marking clearly where the lot line was. Now the white pine has fallen, split in two during a long winter a few years back and the ash is surpassed in height by more vigorous off-spring.

As I left my old friend, I looked back and thought I saw a sadness in appearance, even an old limb seem to say good-bye. Much was heard with little said.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


To the far right.
The snow melt and winter exposure left some interesting patterns on an old sheet of plywood propped against the greenhouse wall.
The image is a close-up view!

Early spring a small freshet guides the spring run-off around the house. In melting months the freeze- thaw slows or stops the flow.
At close-up, the frozen freshet seems an imagined glacier knocking vast forests in its wake!!!

Near the house on my property is a lovely brook and small gorge that is quite isolated from reality.
A nice escape not far away.

Last fall the brook was so very tranquil and idyllic, so peaceful and calm. But a very heavy down-pour this spring log-jammed and left a mess.

Each year it is amazing how dramatically it changes. The amount of stone and tree trunks and branches
that move through is mind-boggling.

Every few years a log-jam forms and the volume of material dammed up stuns.

This year unfortunately the nicest part of the stream bed was silted in.
Looking up-stream is a mess, but down-stream is still bucolic.
The images are from the same rock seat only in opposite directions. The difference is dramatic.
A few years ago the log-jam formed where the stream
is the nicest now!!
The only constant I guess is change.

This is the Upper Falls area of
Letchworth State Park walking to towards the the falls. A train of containers is going over the RR bridge.

In mid June the evenings are long and shadows creep slowly across the scene.

The gorge walls cast their shadow on the falls but one side of the river banks still glows with evening sun.

I’m writing this on a beautiful July morning when all is as should be with a good ball-point pen that effortlessly glides the paper: not as lovely as a fountain pen, but who has any handy anymore.
I’ve noticed the last few decades that younger writers, when they take pen in hand struggle with said instrument as if each word written must be choked out of it. It is quite painful to watch. Pity the poor pen, pity the poor fingers choking the life out of words. Are thoughts and words such a struggle that pain itself must be endured to release, free, their meaning, their beauty.
I have tried to coax thoughts from a keyboard but not much of value flows. As my handwriting deteriorates, and since thoughts must be transferred to bits and bytes, soon my choice will be no more. Now I scribble with pen on paper then slowly, hunting and pecking, letter by letter, enter written thoughts into a computer. The job done twice.

Words and thoughts wander here to seems,
Hand written cursive twists and oxbows,
Floating along meandering streams,
Giving testament, life, to dreaming flows.

Warm the morning sun, golden hues, back-lit leaves and dew glistened evergreen needles. Yet in the shadow of the woods, down the gentle hillside slope, the cool of night still drifts. Out of the still dark woods shadow, a doe and new fawn wanders, wanders to my lawn swing as quietly in daydream I sit. They pause, about twelve feet away, she senses a presence, she stares, head bobs as she assesses. I bob my head in return, still she senses no fear just uncertainty. Her fawn is still unaware. I lift my coffee cup to sip, she has none and decides it’s time to retreat. A leap turn and a few quick bounds and they are gone.
An idyllic moment in my Eden! Not quite. Cruelty of the real world is too evident, for on her backside dozens of flies in several patches annoy her so. Constantly, but to no avail, her backside twitches trying to rid the flies. As she bounds away a swarm of the flies, about twice as many as I had seen from only one side, follows ready to alight as soon as she stops. There were no sores or any injury and she seemed quite healthy, barely annoyed.
Life sucks at times and on all levels. One can only wonder WHY! Be annoyed and die!!
Damn another mosquito buzzes me.

Two days later:
Warm rain refreshed the earth last eve. This morning’s dawn, gray from mid-night’s fog, awoke surrounding all with good earth smells, alive smells, as only an early summer shower can. Life’s exuberance perfumes the air. Life is at this year’s zenith, new born with fresh leaves and insects and birds and beasts. All is good!

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Too often the destination becomes the journey and the between becomes a blur. A good discipline would be to start each trip a little early and set aside time for the “next time I’ll stop”s. When ever I vow to stop and do rewards exceed the effort. The journey is not longer only better.
For many years I’ve driven over the bridge via Rte 96 near the village of Trumansburg, NY that crosses Taughannock Creek. From the bridge is glimpsed a lovely, small waterfalls, just glimpsed because there are always places to go!! But I always look to see what I may see, I never miss the glimpse.

Occasionally if the journey is short I’ll stop to take a photograph knowing “a picture-perfect” image may be found. But each time I’m never satisfied, until one morning late spring on a June day this year. In the early morning light all came together, me with camera and spring and morning light and time to stop and look!
Walking across the bridge, to the left, the creek flows away, a shallow stream wandering with no haste, to the great gorge and falls of Taughannock. On the other side of the bridge, looking upstream, a small, quiet cascade forms and this morning is seen in picture-perfect light. The sun is slightly dimmed by morning haze formed overnight above Cayuga Lake, yet overhead, deep blue sky. Perfect!! The shadows cast aren’t as dark, the sun lit brights are not as “hot”. The blue sky glows the water bright.

Traffic roars over the bridge, pounding expansion joints to deafening extremes. But every once in a while a quiet as breaks occur in traffic flow, then, for a brief moment all is good. Soon the light changes as higher goes the sun. the magic glow is gone. The scene becomes daytime pedestrian.
I again cross the road and gaze at the stream below, watch the water flow, this time from my right as I walk. I take another picture and head on my way. After I look at my pictures at home I notice the “handedness” of view. The point-of-view is quite different. One has a left-to-right diagonal view, the other just the opposite. Yet, as I took the photos I was standing straight, looking directly down stream. The initial point-of-view was retained.

After getting back to the car, I continued down stream. From a pastoral, quiet calm, the creek soon plunges down a narrow chute and within a few feet opens into a deep gorge, gouged out of relatively soft shale rock. And soon another plunge, Taughannock Falls, gouging out an even deeper gorge as the creek races to Cayuga Lake.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Letchworth State Park in upstate New York

Letchworth State Park in upstate New York is a special place for me. In the magical time of life when imagination and reality blend, as identity and values form, it’s beauty and agelessness impressed. Historical perspective, both human and geological, was absorbed. An outlook on reality, the who, what, when and where we each need to know took root.

In passing through a human life is short,
Enough time to wonder why,
But not enough to know.

Magnificent the Genesee Valley farms and hills and meadows and woods and vales, on and on seemingly from forever into the present, at one’s feet the present falls away on and on into the past. Layer by layer of age exposed, exposed by time. Forever ago vast ocean deposits where uplifted to form giant mountains of time, knocked down grain by grain to form vast level layers before me now, exposed by time and relentless water flowing, ever flowing ever removing grain by grain the ocean floor that once was a mountain top that was an ocean floor. Repeated not forever but cycled only few, for time is short yet time is long. Now I stand and see almost eternity where thick rivers of ice at times ran free. Not once, not twice but many times, making the valley of Genesee.

Passing through a human life is short.

More than once ice rivers, heavy and deep, flowed south, as the Genesee River now flows north, scouring clean the living earth, gouging deep and rending sterile the rock beneath. So small seems the living, so large loomed the ice. Again and again, it scoured, again and again, life retreated, again and again, the ice fell back and life advanced, reclaiming the barren land. However, each advance changed the landscape and before us now the result of life and ice in conflict so very long ago.

Further and further from ago highway hum makes numb.

Taking vast vistas at a glance frees the spirit, frees thought from earthly constraints.

Eternity almost becomes tenable. Into far distant eras, the mind easily slips, but projections into a future time remain remiss. Ahead is seen as only the recent past projected, seen as the result of what happened, not of what will be. Brief our sojourn, brief our history. Thinking back but only three or four generations is a monumental leap of imagination, for reality begins at our birth, all else is hearsay.
Someone living today could have spoken to someone who talked to a Founder, almost certainly someone who lived the Civil War. How brief the modern era, how changed the world in so few lifetimes.

Brief life’s light does shine,
Each a moment’s flash divine.

Many a year ago, a man named At and a woman named Sophie began a family. On the first of June this year, for the first time in more than a hundred years, no child of theirs breathes upon this earth.

The earth is now less. Blessed have I been to have known and loved and lived among their offspring and now blessed am I to carry onward in their stead.

Another Passing:
The sign’s askance, hanging, hanging sideways by only a single nail, looking sad as does the garden and drive. Invasive plants and time overtake. Few splashes of colorful blossoms defy the trend. It is sad to see, sad to feel, sad so much effort wasted.

Life is a struggle and relentless nature wins. Take advantage of your strengths for soon they will become your weakness.

Inspiration Point

Old age is difficult to fathom. Decline depresses. Youth’s strength, enthusiasm succumbs to eventuality. Change is
constant, life is brief, life is change, and then life is over, a one-way ride to eternity. If each genetic being, the union of two other genetically unique beings yields a forever entity, why the pain and anguish of an earthly existence? Life is good, life is short, life is incomprehensible!! Endless seems the river flowing from source to sea, it is but delusion. Ebbs and flows beyond one’s years one’s only sense of eternity.

Ominous the cold, gray clouds, dripping heavy silence, stillness reigns, death in spring’s prime. The first of June, twilight, a life passed, one last breath and all is still.

Now At and Sophie’s kids are no more, and the world is less!!

Brief life’s light does shine
Each moment’s flash divine.

Rainbow at Middle Falls

About the Sauntering Recluse

My photo
Ithaca, New York
Greenhouse operater well-rooted, now branching out. Photo and writing interests now springing from a long term dormancy.



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