Tuesday, December 08, 2009


Birds of the air have nests...

but not in winter.


The mobile rang just as I reached the farm. 

'What have I forgotten?' I asked impatiently.

'That's what I was going to ask you.  Why did you stop, did you have a problem?'

I forget he watches to see the car pass the corner.

'No.  I stopped to look at the lapwings.  They were so close to the road.'

They taunt me all winter.  They rise up in whorls from the half-bare fields, dance and swirl over the hairy treetops as I stand by the kitchen window, then disappear before I can get outside.  They sit in pied and forest green splendour in the greening furrows, large as ducks, their crests art nouveau flourishes, as I drive past, and when I stop the car they rise in a crescendo of dazzling black and white rounded wings.  But only when I don't have the camera.

It occurred to me to wonder when I went out at dusk the other evening, where do they go at night?

I daresay I could find out.


Flickr e-mailed me.  Someone was including an old waterlily photo of mine for a gallery.  Galleries are a new Flickr thing, and a good one, I think.  You can collect up to 18, no more, of other people's images and curate them in a themed collection.  They are different from your own sets, and from the group pools which are endlessly added to and changing.  I am tempted back to Flickr, but I know I don't really have the time.  It needs input, and keeping up with, or it just becomes a back room with spare copies of photos in it, as it rather has for me now.  Mind you, I did get tired of the loud moving bits and pieces and gismos that people were always planting in the comments threads.  This place has to be my main on-line priority, and betimes you have to choose. 

But I did spend a very enjoyable bit of time browsing the galleries.  The best of them hang together with more satisfying consistency of style, texture, feeling than the work of any single photographer ever does.  It may not seem very creative simply to collect other people's work and put it together, but it is a reall skill to find compatible pieces, and the imposed limit of 18 images concentrates things.  One of my favourites was called 'Silences' . Some real breathtakers, I particularly loved the prow of the Viking ship in the museum, but altogether they are more than the sum; something about the dry,spare simplicity and the pale chalky colours, here and now in a wet Brittany November when everything seems dull, dark, smudged and saturated, was intensely refreshing.

You can browse more of them here, but be warned, if you find one you like, bookmark it, there doesn't seem to be a specific search function for them, it can be quite difficult to find one again.


Other wonders.  Steve's squirrels.  Growing up in England, red squirrels were a long-gone story from a mythical golden age, passed like Tolkien's elves into another place when the age of the American grey drew on.  I have seen them here in France, in Normandy and in the pinewoods of the Biscay coast, but rarely in these parts, with farming and deforestation.  But, in Bavaria Steve has them for neighbours and regular visitors to his house, and they are the main subject of his blog.  He must spend all his spare income on nuts. One of the squirrels is even black, with a dear little white bib and tucker!  Irresistible.


And finally, why, I wonder, isn't everyone reading Jarvenpa's poems?  I can't leave them alone.  I wish they were in a book, I want to carry them away with me, keep them in my bag, take them to work, keep them in the glove compartment, prop them up on the toaster, take them to bed with me... I've been trying to find a quotation from them to give as a taster, but they are all too good to select anything from.  Passionate is a very over-used word;  she seems to live in a perpetual flash of lightning.


The world is so full of a number of things....


Rouchswalwe said...

Meandering with you is so much fun, sweet Lucy!

marja-leena said...

Lovely, lovely links to distract me as I tire of writing Christmas letters. Onward!

jarvenpa said...

Lucy, thank you for your comment about my poetry. It's just about the nicest and most acute thing anyone has said.
(and I see you have fabled Japanese porn above; it is very poignant in translation via those nutty online translator sites)

Lucy said...

Thanks for coming.

ML - we've been doing the cards too. Tom's been really good this year and done almost all of it... just after this though I did get a lovely e-mail from someone whose snailmail address I'd lost track of, so that was nice. And I was also waiting for a teaching assignment to be marked too, so distraction was welcome!

Jarvenpa - You're welcome. I find I can't read alot of poetry on-line, my attention is not quite the same somehow, and I am quite often just not in the mood. I feel bad about this because I sometimes produce some and would like people to read it. But yours I do find compelling.

Obviously the comment verification doesn't get rid of the spam altogether, but I can't bring myself to disallow aninymous comments too because very occasionally I get one I want. Next time perhaps I'll try a translator site... Though the scattering of English words does give one the gist.

Roderick Robinson said...

An aspect of patronage I hadn't previously considered. Lending canvases to grand retrospectives which mark the issuing of the damehood and the general assumption into glory.

Steve said...

The three scamps want to think you for the link. I appreciate it also.

Unknown said...

And I for one am happy as a king after tripping through your post and staring up at your birds'nests Thank you for the link to Jarenpa's poems. There are so many good poets in the US at the moment and she seems to me to be in the lead among them.

StimmeDesHerzens said...

gee, i recognize bloggers here, it then seems to me like a small world!
anyway, wanted to say that the photo of the fat birdie on the twig on a cold grey day is fabulous.

Nimble said...

"The world is so full of a number of things...."

Is that a quotation? It is certainly full and is there anything better than looking at a handful of unrelated treasures like you've shared? It reminds me of hunting shells and pebbles on the beach.

Dick said...

I'm glad that you're keeping the pics here, Lucy. Pleasant anticipation each time I log on.

An early memory is of red squirrels on Balham Common and in Richmond Park. Here we have black squirrels in abundance. They were imported into Letchworth Garden City when it was created over one hundred years ago.

I very much enjoyed Jarvpena's poetry. Thanks for the intro.

With posts as delightfully various as this I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings...

Bee said...

I'm so behind on blog reading (and feeling rather guilty about it), but I trust your judgment so much that I couldn't resist a peek at some of these links. I have bookmarked the poetry for a later, quieter reading, but I did marvel at the Viking ship picture -- and the other wonders from that collection. Were they really all photographs? Many of them looked more like paintings, I thought. Your description of them was very apt.

We had a dense frozen fog this morning and I tried to take some pics of some birds on a wire. Not much luck, though. Your bird in the bare branches is lovely.