Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

Wishing you a
May 2014 be the best yet for you and yours.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Star Wars Comes Alive: Time Lapse Video of the Night Sky Over Hawaii

Laser-tracking the Milky Way over 13,803 foot Mauna Kea on the Big Island. Lasers allow the adaptive optics of the radio telescopes to remove the blurring effect of the earth's atmosphere. And they look really cool. And they make me wonder. Light years from now will someone on a distant planet be tracking these lasers as they arrive from the long-vanished Earth?

Thursday, December 26, 2013

All Is Calm, All Is Bright

Christmas night, and all is calm, all is bright. I hope your day was filled with cheer, and that all the joy and peace of the season will stay with you for a long time to come.

Monday, December 23, 2013

"A Christmas Carol" by Christina Rossetti

Camels, Heifer Ranch, Arkansas. Photo by Rebecca Stover Roetzel

In the bleak mid-winter
   Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
   Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
   Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter 
   Long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him
   Nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away
   When He comes to reign:
In the bleak midwinter
   A stable-place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty
   Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim
   Worship night and day,
A breastful of milk
   And a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels
   Fall down before,
The ox and ass and camel
   Which adore.

Angels and archangels
   May have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim
   Thronged the air;
But only His mother
   In her maiden bliss
Worshipped the Beloved
   With a kiss.

What can I give Him,
   Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
   I would bring a lamb,
If I were a Wise Man
   I would do my part,—
Yet what I can I give Him,
   Give my heart.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Solstice Count Down: Nine Hours

It was cold on Friday, and we got our first snowfall down in the valley. It was timely, brightening things up on the eve of the Winter Solstice.

Now there are just 9 hours until the "sun stands still" at 9:11 AM Pacific Standard Time, and the earth begins its tilt back toward the sun's warmth and light. Today will be the shortest day of the year. At our location, just a few miles from the Canadian border, there will be 8 hours and 16 minutes between sunrise and sunset.

Sunlight on Earth, on the day of the winter solstice.
The north polar region of Earth is in 24-hour darkness,
while the south polar region is in 24-hour daylight.
Gif via Wikimedia Commons.

But then, on Sunday, there will be 8 hours and 17 minutes. Enjoy that extra minute knowing that the light is coming back.

Happy Solstice, everyone.

Friday, December 20, 2013

"What the Heart Cannot Forget" by Joyce Sutphen

Everything remembers something. The rock, its fiery bed,
cooling and fissuring into cracked pieces, the rub
of watery fingers along its edge.

The cloud remembers being elephant, camel, giraffe,
remembers being a veil over the face of the sun,
gathering itself together for the fall.

The turtle remembers the sea, sliding over and under
its belly, remembers legs like wings, escaping down
the sand under the beaks of savage birds.

The tree remembers the story of each ring, the years
of drought, the floods, the way things came
walking slowly towards it long ago.

And the skin remembers its scars, and the bone aches
where it was broken. The feet remember the dance,
and the arms remember lifting up the child.

The heart remembers everything it loved and gave away,
everything it lost and found again, and everyone
it loved, the heart cannot forget.

"What the Heart Cannot Forget" by Joyce Sutphen, from Coming Back to the Body© Holy Cow! Press, 2000.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Christmas Moon

It's the last--and the smallest--of the full moons of 2013. It's called the Cold Moon, or the Long Night Moon, appearing so close to the Winter Solstice. But I will call it the Christmas Moon.

That doesn't mean this picture is accurate for this year. No, Santa will fly his sleigh under a full moon on Christmas Eve only about every nineteen years. This year he'll be out in the light of a waning gibbous moon. But we can save this picture and use it in 2015--there will be a full moon on December 25 that year.

But this one fits. One could almost imagine it's the night of the full moon in December, 2013, and the world is calm and peaceful and bright, and excitedly anticipating the celebration of the birth of Light.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Solstice Count Down: 5

It's 3 PM. The day since sunrise is seven hours and fifteen minutes old. One hour and two minutes until sunset. I get a text. Regular rides won't work today; I need to pick up one of the boys at school. Before I climb in the truck I look down to the river. The weather has been slightly warmer, but the river is still iced over.

It's 3:10 PM. At the school I look back southwest over the town. The sun is going down almost due south. It still has a few degrees of southern shift to go.

It's 3:20. We get home.

It's 4 PM. I go outside for the sunset. It's the color of summer.

Only 5 days until the solstice.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

"Judgment Day" by Ellis Parker Butler

Saint Peter stood at Heaven's gate,
All souls' claims to adjudicate,
Saying to some souls, "Enter in!"
"Go to Hell," to others, "you are steeped in sin."
When up from earth, with a great hubbub,
Came all the members of the Tuscarora Club.
The angel Gabriel, peering out,
Said, "What the devil is this noise about?"
"Gabe," said Peter, "There's always lots of noise
At any get-together of the Tuscarora boys --
Those are anglers and they all tell lies
About the trout that got away, their fierceness and their size --
They want to enter Heaven, for our brooks are full of trout,
But I won't have any liars, and I'll keep the whole gang out;
No liars enter Heaven, and I'll most distinctly tell
The whole danged Tuscarora Club, it has to go to Hell."
Then, at a little distance from the precious pearly gate,
The Tuscarora fellows paused to talk and cogitate;
One Barr said this, one Barr said that, McAlpin had his say,
But foxy Charley Roberts said, "This is the only way."
"You'd best leave this to me," he said. "Just let me handle Pete
and in a trice we'll be inside upon the golden street;
I'll show him that he's one of us, because he used to be,
Himself, a brother fisher, in the Sea of Galilee--
And I move you, Mr. President, we make the poor old dub
An honorary member of the Tuscarora Club."
"Agreed! Agreed!" the members cried, but Manny Barr said, "Wait!
Amend it thus: 'PROVIDED -- that he didn't fish with bait.'"
Saint Peter saw them coming but his face was hard and stern,
He had formed his resolution from which he would not turn.
Not even Roberts' palaver would ever change him so
He'd send the Tuscarorans anywhere but down below.
But now upon his countenance there came a look of pain,
He stepped from foot to foot, and then from foot to foot again.
He hailed a new-come resident, who near the portal stood,
A goodly Christian gentleman, whose name was Hubert Wood.
He said to him, "Come here, my friend, and tend awhile this gate--
Just take my place for half an hour -- I've got to urinate."
With that Saint Peter hustled off. The gate-keeper pro tem
Observed the Tuscarorans and he waved his hand at them.
"Come in! come in!" he shouted, for he was an angler, too,
And he knew that anglers, as a whole, were earth's most harmless crew.
So all the Tuscarorans got to heaven, thanks to Wood,
And the Secretary's last report says, "Fishing there is good."

"Judgment Day" by Ellis Parker Butler, 1869-1937.

THIS IS FLY, december - january 2014

This is good. This is Fly

Friday, December 13, 2013

Correction: Getting the Nymphs Straight

A few posts ago I mislabeled this picture.

I said it was "The Nymph of the Stream" by Edward John Poynter. Wrong.

This is "The Nymph of the Stream."

Just wanted to clear that up.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Happy Birthday, Edvard

It's the birthday of Edvard Munch. You know him as the artist who captured the true essence of how it feels to be iced out and unable to fish in the darkest time of the year.

"The Scream" 1895

Solstice Countdown: 9

Wandered down to the river behind the house. Felt like dusk at 3 PM. Lowering snow clouds--snow on the way. Ice--ice stacked up bank to bank. No fishing at all for awhile. Only 9 short days until the Solstice.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

"Cold Wind" by Jim Harrison

I like those old movies where tires and wheels run backwards on
horse-drawn carriages pursued by indians, or Model A's driven by
thugs leaning out windows with tommy guns ablaze. Of late I feel a
cold blue wind through my life and need to go backwards myself to
the outback I once knew so well where there were too many mosqui-
toes, blackflies, curious bears, flowering berry trees of sugar plum
and chokeberry, and where sodden and hot with salty sweat I'd slide
into a cold river and drift along until I floated against a warm sandbar,
thinking of driving again the gravel backroads of America at
thirty-five miles per hour in order to see the ditches and gulleys, the
birds in the fields, the mountains and rivers, the skies that hold our
10,000 generations of mothers in the clouds waiting for us to fall
back into their arms again.
"Cold Wind" by Jim Harrison from In Search of Small Gods© Copper Canyon Press, 2009.

Happy Birthday, Jim and Tom 2013

Raise one to these gentlemen and wish them many happy returns.

This write up is from The Writer's Almanac:

It's the birthday of the writer who said: "To write a poem you must first create a pen that will write what you want to say. For better or worse, this is the work of a lifetime." That's Jim Harrison (books by this author), born in Grayling, Michigan (1937).
He had a couple of major accidents that ended up changing his writing career. When he was seven years old, he was playing with a friend and she accidentally cut him across the face and he went blind in one eye. He felt as though that set him apart from other kids, and he started turning to nature, to the woods and creeks and fields. And then, when he was in his 30s, he hurt his back badly while he was hunting and he was confined to bed. He was an active person, loved to be outdoors, and he didn't know what to do with so much time. His good friend, the novelist Thomas McGuane, suggested he try working on a novel. In 1971, he published Wolf: A False Memoir. His first major success was Legends of the Fall (1979), a collection of three novellas. He's written many more novels and novellas, in addition to several poetry collections. For a long time, he thought of himself as a poet more than anything else, and said about his novels: "They sometimes strike me as extra, burly flesh on the true bones of my life though a few of them approach some of the conditions of poetry."
Harrison's latest poetry book is called Songs of Unreason (2011), and a collection of his novellas, Brown Dog (2013), will be published this month.
Jim Harrison said: "Life is sentimental. Why should I be cold and hard about it? That's the main content. The biggest thing in people's lives is their loves and dreams and visions, you know."

And it's the birthday of the writer Thomas McGuane (books by this author), the one who convinced Jim Harrison to write his first novel, born in Wyandotte, Michigan (1939). As a kid, he wanted to be a scientist who studied fish, but when he was 10 years old, he decided to become a writer instead. He and a friend started to write a novel together, but they disagreed about how to describe a sunset and got in a fistfight and that was the end of that novel. He went to college and flunked out, but by the third college he went to, he shaped up and did a lot of writing and ended up graduating with honors. He had a couple of manuscripts rejected, but he won a scholarship to Stanford, and he finished another novel he was working on, and he gave it to Jim Harrison, who passed it on to a friend with connections to a publishing house. It was accepted, and The Sporting Club came out in 1969. And McGuane has gone on to write 10 novels, two books of short stories, and six books of nonfiction. His most recent novel is Driving on the Rim (2010). He lives on a 3,000-acre ranch in Montana, where he raises cutting horses and runs cattle and writes books.
He said: "Literature is still the source of my greatest excitement. My prayer is that it is irreplaceable. Literature can carry the consciousness of human times and social life better than anything else. Look at the movies of the 1920s, watch the Murrow broadcasts, you can't recognize any of the people. Now, read Fitzgerald — that's it. That is the truth of the times. Somebody has to be committed to the idea of truth."

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Maybe You Shouldn't Put Off That Trip To Yellowstone

Yellowstone Lake at West Thumb Geyser Basin 

The BBC has reported on a study done by the University of Utah:

"The supervolcano that lies beneath Yellowstone National Park in the US is far larger than was previously thought, scientists report.
A study shows that the magma chamber is about 2.5 times bigger than earlier estimates suggested.
A team found the cavern stretches for more than 90km (55 miles) and contains 200-600 cubic km of molten rock.
The findings are being presented at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in San Francisco."

I heard one of the researchers say on the radio that he's pretty sure we'll get plenty of warning as the magma levels rise just before the next eruption. Then again, how much warning do you need for the End of the World?

For the full report, click HERE.

"Affirmation" by Donald Hall

To grow old is to lose everything. 
Aging, everybody knows it. 
Even when we are young, 
we glimpse it sometimes, and nod our heads 
when a grandfather dies.
Then we row for years on the midsummer 
pond, ignorant and content. But a marriage,
that began without harm, scatters 
into debris on the shore, 
and a friend from school drops 
cold on a rocky strand.
If a new love carries us 
past middle age, our wife will die 
at her strongest and most beautiful. 
New women come and go. All go. 
The pretty lover who announces 
that she is temporary
is temporary. The bold woman,
middle-aged against our old age,
sinks under an anxiety she cannot withstand. 
Another friend of decades estranges himself 
in words that pollute thirty years. 
Let us stifle under mud at the pond's edge 
and affirm that it is fitting
and delicious to lose everything.

"Affirmation" by  Donald Hall, 2002. From Poets.org