burst of cool

Energized by a burst of cool weather. Anything is possible.

Confession: “I miss my imagination.”

I have been drawing from life, and working on staying in the present moment, and pursuing physical fitness, and dealing with one thing and another all summer. None of these efforts are particularly conducive to giving the imagination free rein. My imagination has been tied up in a small stall with a work project to keep it occupied. Like a pig with a toy, it’s acting a little unruly.

I can see where imagination might come into play in drawing. I get excited and the lines go all over the place. I lose control and the drawing becomes a mess. I need to slow down.

But I don’t want to slow down. I want the swoosh, the swash, the dash. The mad line. The accident. I make fast sketches one after the other, chasing it, chasing it hopefully. This will never work. It’s tiring and discouraging.

I listened to an “On Being” podcast about Nadia Bolz-Weber, a Lutheran pastor from Denver. New imaginings of church. I was enthusiastic.

Religion carries a lot of baggage. Spirituality seems a lot lighter. But it seems to me that there is “religious imagination” more than “spiritual imagination.” I don’t have the words to explain this more fully.

Instead I made up a chant today about the Speckled Chickens.

Speckled chickens ambulate

Speckled chickens aggravate

Speckled chickens emulate

Speckled chickens delegate

Speckled chickens escalate

Speckled chickens calculate

Speckled chickens elevate

Speckled chickens levitate

Speckled chickens ululate

…to be continued and

to be accompanied by illustrations.


Chicken. Not speckled, but could be.

back, sketching

I’ve been home from India for over a month. Just starting to feel like I know what to do next.

I signed up for a drawing class with Roz Stendhal. Her blog has been a great source of fascination to me for quite awhile: rozwoundup.typepad.com. I couldn’t have a better drawing teacher.

I didn’t really draw these, they came to my page as gifts while sketching birds at the Nature Center. I love this minimal look, just a few strokes of the brush pen.



“the nest”

My sense of home has been challenged these past few days, working on getting my parents’ house ready to sell. I lived there six years from 7th grade through high school, and then summers while in college. And visits for many years thereafter.

After cleaning, it’s a whole new place. I only took photos of these two small outbuildings. The ceiling in the well house is so beautiful. I don’t know what will happen to them.

tool shed

tool shed

well house

well house

bird's nest in pulley, well house

bird’s nest in pulley, well house

ready and waiting

Ready to say goodbye to February.

Waiting for a loved one to get back in touch…someday.

It’s still cold.

Walking in the neighborhood.

A longer route takes me down Woodway Road to Hoyt Street. There are no sidewalks. Snow is piled everywhere. A few patches of wet mud reveal the state of the ground.

Hawk hunting at the neighbor’s bird feeder.

"bird feeder"

“bird feeder”


Three days in the Everglades – amazing, challenging, heartbreaking. We were outdoors a lot more than usual. The two most intense physical experiences were hiking through clouds of mosquitoes and kayaking in pouring rain.

For a few days, the tides and weather patterns were of extreme interest as we planned our kayaking and hiking adventures. I learned a lot about tides. I like living with that awareness.

heading out into Florida Bay for early morning kayaking

heading out into Florida Bay for early morning kayaking

The ranger spent a lot of time explaining the tide charts and how the numbers on the maps are calculated. Here’s a photo of the Snake Bight, which we never really got to.

Snake Bight Pole and Troll zone

Snake Bight Pole and Troll zone

I loved having so much bird life around. As well as many other creatures, sharing space together in the subtropical zone.

heron taking flight

heron taking flight

peaceful pelican

peaceful pelican

bottlenose dolphin

bottlenose dolphin

osprey with catch

osprey with catch

crocodile hanging out on the freshwater side of the plug

crocodile hanging out on the freshwater side of the plug

I stayed at the edge of the marina for a long time, watching and waiting for this manatee to rise for a breath.

manatee barely visible

manatee barely visible

The rangers seemed so accepting of the drastic changes of culture and ecology over the relatively few short years. I found these narratives difficult. I want the pristine environments and the indigenous cultures back, and unchanging. That’s the way it should be.

There were two juvenile flamingos sighted in the bay outside the Flamingo Visitor’s Center while we were there. We didn’t see them. Much excitement!

We went to the visitor center before dawn on our last morning. Trying to decide whether to kayak one more time. We were dissuaded by the heat lightning in the east and the time pressure – we had a flight to catch. It was good that we didn’t because our trip to the airport took much longer than expected.

We saw this heron sitting morosely at the edge of the water. He stayed there a long time, not moving. I love his hunched posture and his patience, waiting for light.

last morning

last morning