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

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

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Winter’s retreat-At Home and Sapsucker Woods

Evocative is winter’s retreat, before spring begins and life awakens, invisible forces secretly work life’s magic. The air is still, so very still, and cool, a bit too cool; the sun is radiant, bright, too bright on the few remaining patches of snow. They sparkle so on this cloudless day as blue sky is as blue as blue sky can be. It seems that only in the late winter, early spring or mid October does such sky delight. Evergreens are splendid against the blue of sky and tans and browns of leafless trees and shrubs.
A lone crow breaks the silence, cawing his story for all his world to hear. Perhaps I am the only one to note his solitaire refrain so quiet seems the woods. I know I am not important in his world, but his caw renews faith that spring approaches, that is important in mine.
Although the sun is warm, the spring seeps are stilled from night’s chill. Despite the cold nights, a spring freshet near the house was busy with the season’s business; bringing life’s liquid from freshly melted snow to eagerly awaiting roots. So busy doing spring.
Now with only scattered remnants left the white snow blanket, now quite threadbare, retreats deeper into darker recesses of the woods. The cold hangs tightly in these chill pockets. Daylight’s bright sun and blue sky come at a price, paid with clear, dark, frosty nights of jet black sky and a penetrating cold that needs all day to thaw and soften remaining snow.

April 2011
For miles along the thruway, Interstate 90 between Rochester and Buffalo and on the parallel NYS Rte. 20, large sections of the wet, swampy areas and ditches, once the realm of cattails and redwing blackbirds are now are taken over by perennial pampas grass. In April, tall, these dried stalks are invading wetlands and overgrowing the valuable native cattails.
Last April was warm and tinder dry, by contrast this April was cold and moist. Last May there were even more unseasonable cold and late frosts. This May is yet to be.
May: Each spring has its unique personality. Some begin early, some late, some wet some dry, but all are sweet. This spring has been late and wet, last spring was warm early and dry but ended cold with freezes while many plant blossoms were peaking. This May I cannot remember even one frosty night, although in the valleys nearby I’m sure there was. Around here, I always fear an early spring because even if warm early May always gets cold late. Sometimes a frost, sometimes not, it depends on your address!!!!
Each day the forest closes in more and more as leaves bud out and unfold. Sad though the sight has become for now the earliest under story shrubs to leaf out are the non-native honeysuckles. Bird poop shrubs that now dominate mainly because the deer do not eat them and birds poop a lot. Sad the monolithic under story is almost devoid of so many natives. Even woodland spring ephemerals are becoming more scarce as the deer run roughshod through the woods. “Bambi” is quite destructive. Sad so few realize the damage. Superficially, the woods are still the woods but so many details are absent. In the mid 1990’s Cornell’s Lab of Ornithology’s Living Bird had an article about how deer induced habitant destruction may be harming woodland bird populations. But “Bambi” is so cute!!
To add insult to injury a few years back a destructive beetle all but eliminated many native and non-native viburnum species in our area. Native viburnum species bloomed over a very long period in spring and their berries ripened throughout the late summer and early winter months thus providing early nectar for insect species and also nourishment late for many birds. The brush also provided much needed cover of various heights to protect nests from predators.

Bambi lovers seem to love diversity as a worthy goal, but seem not to understand that woodland diversity is rapidly disappearing, that Bambi is a menace too. How many woodland birds cannot a living make? Superficially, the woods are there, the shrubs are there and all is good, all is happy in wonderland.
The swamps are not immune from sad but subtle change. For many years, purple loosestrife ran amuck in the muck, driving out cattails. Loosestrife appears in decline, weakened by an introduced insect that enjoys eating it.
But now a new invader, non-native grasses are overrunning the swampy areas, choking out the cattails. Because they have no colorful flowers, they are especially pernicious. Nobody really “sees” them.

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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