That Helpful Unconscious

Listening to the radio one day, I heard an author say he had collected photographs of unidentified people and used his imagination to write short stories about them. I’ve thought of doing something similar with the old photos in my possession, because the author was correct: there is something compelling about pictures — of people who were once beloved and whose photos were probably cherished — that have somehow ended up in a place where no one knows who they are. Many of the pictures end up in the garbage. It strikes me as sad, but it makes sense too. So often, we don’t write names, dates and places on the back of pictures and sooner or later no one has a clue who-what-when-where-why.

I’ve been giving away many of my old pictures so that they will be with family of those who are in them, and not in a box where they will be meaningless and valueless to my own close relatives once I’m gone.

The author shared his writing routine for the collection of stories he has published. In the morning he’d choose the photo he would write about that day, then go do other things and let his unconscious come up with an angle for a story. He’d come back several hours later and voila, there it would be, ready to be written down and expanded upon. Now doesn’t that sound like a dream of a way to work?

I thought I’d try it. I chose this picture though, not one of people.

three goblets r

It hasn’t given me a story. Yet. And tomorrow it will be forgotten.

It’s so cold right now that it will be no surprise if there’s snow on the ground in the morning, which means I’ll have no wanderlust in me whatsoever and Emil, whom I’ve just picked up from town, will be disappointed that we’re not going to visit Uncle Neil.

I did, however, stop in at the library and sign out a few books that will be new to Emil. Maybe I’ll take butter out of the fridge to soften, and make some cookies. It feels like tomorrow will be “that kind of day.”

You’re Always Sniping

The snipes have returned!

The whistling made by the wind winnowing through their wings or feathers as they dive for insects is a constant, from morning till night. It gives me such pleasure whenever I stand out on the step, and especially now after not hearing it since the fall.Wilsons_Snipe_Chris_Wood_glamor

Here’s a link if you’d like to hear it. Click on the “Sound” button. There are a few chirps and peeps, but then the “woo-woo-woo-woo-woo-woo-woo-woo” of their wings begins.

Click on the tab for “Sounds” and then click the green dot under “Calls.”


The bird flies so high that it is usually not seen at all and when you do spot it, it doesn’t seem at all the size and shape that it actually is. It seems smaller and its long bill isn’t visible. From the distance it looks like a nighthawk.

To get a good look at a snipe standing still, you keep an eye on fenceposts or, in this yard, sometimes on the chimney of the tractor shed roof.

Their constant summertime presence is one of the magics of living in this spot… and there are many, when it comes to birds that like to stay near water. There are also owls around, and their gentle hooting enlivens the evening hours. It’s too cool to stand for long on the step, and too dark to wander far from the bright circle of the yardlight, so I don’t stay out long on these early spring nights. But I step out often, just to listen to the owl and the frogs and all the others, unseen in the shadows.

checking cattle r

We left early after another family feast last night, but turned east from the SouthForks’ driveway so Scott could make sure all was well with the cattle.

evening sky r

When we lived in that yard, I headed west on my walks and the sky was always magnificent. Last night I got out and stood beside the truck to admire it. 

Deeper Not Wider

It’s a spring day with ice in the air.

Froggies are a-courtin’.

In the trees and sky in evamethyst and clay rery direction, birds are calling.

You’d think we live in a jungle.

I’ve gotta get out there.

My pack awaits.


There’s a movie about Emily Dickinson out, called A Quiet Passion. Its director says that although Dickinson never went anywhere, she had a rich home life. Besides her poetry (her sister found 1800 unpublished poems in her room after her death), she was an avid gardener, played the piano, etc. He noted that you don’t have to be out travelling the world and active in your community to have an eventful, fulfilling life. Your inner journey may just as enriching as the outer, if not more.

It’s my belief, exactly.

“Go deeper, not wider.”