For years now I've been watching the barns disappear.
And at the end of the day, nobody cared.
"High horns, low horns, silence, and finally a pandemonium of trumpets, rattles, croaks and cries that almost shakes the bog with its nearness, but without yet disclosing whence it comes. At last a glint of sun reveals the approach of a great echelon of birds. On motionless wing they emerge from the lifting mists, sweep a final arc of sky, and settle in clangorous descending spirals to their feeding grounds. A new day has begun in the crane marsh. . .
. . .Our ability to perceive quality in nature begins, as in art, with the pretty. It expands through successive stages of the beautiful to values as yet uncaptured by language. the quality of cranes lies, I think, in this higher gamut, as yet beyond the reach of words. . .
. . .The sadness discernible in some marshes arises, perhaps, from their having once harbored cranes. Now they stand humbled, adrift in history."
Aldo Leopold, Wisconsin - A Sand County Almanac
"Something will have gone out of us as a people if we ever let the remaining wilderness be destroyed; if we permit the last virgin forests to be turned into comic books and plastic cigarette cases; if we drive the few remaining members of the wild species into zoos or to extinction; if we pollute the last clean air and dirty the last clean streams and push our paved roads through the last of the silence, so that never again will Americans be free in their own country from the noise, the exhausts, the stinks of human and automotive waste."
— Wallace Stegner, The Wilderness Letter, written to the Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission, 1962 and subsequently in The Sound of Mountain Water (1969)
I've been away from our cabin for less than a month, which means that I have more than two months to go before I see it again. In December, when I was packing up to leave, I couldn't wait to start out for new places. We were heading downstate to spend Christmas with the people we care most about, so saying goodbye to our little cabin didn't seem all that hard.
Then, after Christmas, we left our bunch and took off over the Ohio flatlands, beyond the Kentucky hills and into the Smoky Mountains and out the other side to the South Carolina Piedmont, out final destination being the Atlantic coast. It was exciting enough to forget, for a while, about our little cabin in the woods.
Tunnel through the North Carolina mountains
The views are beautiful here, too, though as different as day and night. Instead of pines, we see palms, and instead of Cisco fishermen, we see shrimpers and crabbers pulling their traps into their small boats. The seagulls follow behind, the same as they do on the lakes, but here we see pelicans and the occasional group of dolphins competing for any little morsels left behind or thrown overboard.
Today there were horses on the beach and I rushed out to take pictures of them. Pretty interesting stuff, so why do I keep thinking about home?
I'm having Cabin Longing at the moment, but I've had Cabin Fever often enough to know it's no fun being cooped up inside a small hut for days on end as Mother Nature unleashes her own nasty brand of Northern fury.
Oh, those furies. . . But that's not what I'm thinking about now. Now all I can think about is a cozy fire in the stove. . .the soup pot simmering on the back burner. . .snowflakes drifting softly, forming luscious pillows outside my window. . .forest creatures stopping by to spend a little quality time with us. . .
. . .Ah, the stuff of dreams. But, oddly, when I shared some of this with the folks near home, they had more than a few choice words, too. Most of which I wouldn't want to repeat here.
Johannes Kepler explained the phenomenon 400 years ago. The Moon's orbit around Earth is not a circle; it is an ellipse, with one side 50,000 km closer to Earth than the other. Astronomers call the point of closest approach "perigee," and that is where the Moon will be this weekend.
Perigee full Moons come along once or twice a year. 2008 ended with one and now 2009 is beginning with another. It's the best kind of déjà vu for people who love the magic of a moonlit landscape.
When I'm up north, much of the time any sky phenomenon is hidden by the ever-present cloud cover, but here at the ocean we've been watching it for over an hour now.
They say it should look largest nearer the horizon, and maybe it did. (See above) But I loved this view, when it was peeking through the clouds.