Morning Glory Flower at Crow's Cottage
September 8, 2010
The Season Changes.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Once ago I sought to overcome sleep, seeing it as an impediment to accomplishment and success. The fewer hours I slept, the more I could devote to task-making and network building in service to the quest for money and power.
I got too much of the thing I didn't want and not enough of the things I did, but eventually, time passed far enough down the line to allow my acceptance of limitation and the painful mitigation of regret. I got what I needed, not realizing at the time that desire, not need, is the essential prize. But the game is still afoot.
These nights I want sleep, as many hours of it as my constitution can muster, so I linger in the big bed in search of it. But woe! Sleep's fullest, most satisfying expression — the kind of slumber that is solid, deep, and restorative — comes like a diaphanous temptress in the dark night, tantalizing and beyond reach.
I awoke by necessity just before five this morning and heard the comforting sounds of falling rain. After the long run of dry scorchers from early July all the way to the end of August, it's refreshing to have the windows open and the refrigerated-air machine turned off.
Moisture-rich remnants of Tropical Storm Hermine arrived from the southwest on Tuesday afternoon, delivering the first welcome drops of rainfall. The slow moving and massive front of clouds has drifted overhead for forty-eight hours now and lingers in the early afternoon, having drenched the parched earth with three inches or more of soaking rain.
This particular September rain becomes through perception a mystical expression of nature's grace, falling hour after hour with the quiet, meditative cadence of a Chopin nocturne or a Mozart serenade, delivered without thunder or aggression to refresh and renew the vegetable world. It heralds the changing of the season from summer to fall.
Yesterday morning I walked into the back garden of Crow's Cottage with the idea of capturing a few images of flowers that have survived the withering heat of the dry summer. My hope was to inspire a new entry for the web, and by doing so, break another of the psychic droughts that too often inflict my creative landscape with arid, brittle phases of dullness and fragmentation.
It is not the refraction of the ray,
but the ray itself whereby truth reaches us.
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, 1807 (Phenomenology of Spirit)
Rose of Sharon Flower at Crow's Cottage
September 8, 2010
A Moment Ripe for Creation.
The rain, gentle and cool, glistened on the blossoms like gemstones and pearls. The thick dome of clouds filtered the sunlight into a shadowless, pale luminosity. Colors were deep and solid. The moment was one of exceptional visual unity, ripe for creation.
The morning glory vines live in the circular central bed of the garden, wrapping their wandering tendrils around a few tall rose bushes and a piece of wooden lattice to provide air space for the blossoms. Planted from seed in spring of 2009, they managed to reseed this annum, though not as profusely, with only the purplish-blue variety choosing to grow and blossom second time 'round.
Elegantly and aptly named, the morning glory opens in the day's early light and then closes at midday. The white center of the flower is a glory to behold, emerging from the deep blue petals like a starburst or a comet. Look closely at the image and you'll see the pistil emerging from the central core. The specimen pictured here is six centimeters in diameter.
By cool Siloam's shady rill
How sweet the lily grows!
How sweet the breath beneath the hill
Of Sharon's dewy rose!
from "Early Piety," a hymn by Reginald Heber [1783-1826]
Rising from deep roots beside an east-facing wall of the cottage, the rose of Sharon bush that caught my eye yestermorn stands about nine-feet tall. It yields hundreds of pinkish-red flowers over its blooming period, which begins in early July and lasts into the fall. When their time is done, the blooms curl-up into a cocoon, break free, and fall to the earth.
The other rose of Sharon bushes in the garden — three towering specimens in the long, rectangular north bed and a lonely little shrub near the eastern fence — produce white blossoms in far fewer numbers and don't bloom nearly as long.
The flower pictured above displays a prominent, distinctive pistil-and-stamen cluster of golden yellow and creamy white emerging from a crimson heart. The blossom is about nine centimeters in diameter with a three-centimeter-long stamen-pistil.
Caladium Leaf at Crow's Cottage
September 8, 2010
Awake! It Is Finished.
Time passes. An impasse tumbled through the broken clouds and landed at my feet. Somehow the thread of the narrative got away from me, just after the sun's rays streamed down in late afternoon. Distractions aplenty — and I fell to them. But I'm back. Let's finish it, move on.
First, an image of a morning glory. Then, a rose of Sharon. And just above these words, the mysterious surface of the caladium. Over a thousand cultivars have been propagated from the original seven species of genus Caladium. The original seven were imported from South America over the past hundred years and deliberately transformed by horticulturists into hybrids prized by gardeners for their distinctive colors and shapes.
I won't attempt to search the byted databases of the web to find a name for the one caladium cultivar growing in the garden here at Crow's Cottage. It spreads its elephant ears from roots in a clay pot nestled among an array of impatiens and begonias on a little concrete terrace. The surface pictured here is part of a leaf measuring 24 centimeters long and 14 centimeters wide. It presents a dramatic, mysterious face. Could it be an expression of the Heart of Jesus? Some say so.
Jesus and Muhammad, the prophets and the gods, heretics and true believers — if I walk away from the garden, and if I'm not careful, I'll wander into a maddening other world of conflict and destruction. By all appearances, they are going crazy OUT THERE. All I can do is imagine the madness, or call up memories of my foreign war. Here at the cottage, I have the garden and quiet solitude, which I much prefer.
Yesterday's September rain moved along the line of perception from moments of misty little droplets to a steady pitter-patter, shooing me under the roof of the veranda, where I decided to end the photo session. I shuffled into the hacienda, wondering: What might I be able to create today?
Notices announcing the publication of each Letter from Crow's Cottage are sent by e-mail express to my list of family, friends, students, and fellow travelers. If you've come here by some other means than an e-mail invitation, and would like to receive notices, please write me so I can add you to the list. I share the addresses with no one but Godzilla the Atomic Road Lizard, who can't type, doesn't do e-mail, and won't tell.
form the narrative "Travels with Godzilla."
The Journey Ends:
Bye, Buck Bowles.
Monday, August 31
By the Hand of Man.
Thursday, August 27
Shy and Wonderful:
Of the Wild Image.
Wednesday, August 26
It Wasn't the Flood.
Tuesday, August 25
So Many Mountains
Giving Some Up.
Monday, August 24
Pay Is Pay
Saturday, August 22
Counting the Lanes.
Friday, August 21
An Easy Puzzle:
Flat and Tidy.
Thursday, August 20
A Fine Old Motor Vessel
Makes a Smooth Crossing
from Jersey to Delaware.
Wednesday, August 19
Sandy Pine Barrens
On a Road to Heaven.
Tuesday, August 18
Sugar Hollow Road:
Not too Far
down the Way
Friday, August 14
Thursday, August 13
Off Balance, Agitated.
Tuesday, August 11
Success and Fear
On the Sly Peripheral.
Monday, August 10
You Want to Take Forever.
Sunday, August 9
Carry Me Home.
Saturday, August 8
Friday, August 7