Sunday, January 31, 2010


Moonrise: 7:53 P.M. Sunrise: 8:02 A.M.
Moonset: 8:29 A.M. Sunset: 5:20 P.M.

R.G. Everson

When I was born my mother was given an amaryllis
which she tended carefully, cutting it back
after it had bloomed each year It was known
as Ronald's amaryllis That amazing flower
continued to bloom decade after decade until I
was forty-seven years old, when it withered and died
Since then I've jokingly (or not so jokingly)
said I was living on borrowed time beyond my means

It is cold outside, there are angels in the snow, but my amaryllis is blooming inside. She is definitely a "she", astonishing in her beauty. I have no idea how old she really is, how many times she has bloomed before, and who has watched her bloom. It really does not matter. She is blooming now for me - four magnificently large flowers at the end of January, in the middle of winter.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

22 Minutes of Light

The night is a big black Cat.
The moon is her topaz eye.
The stars are the mice she hunts at night
In the fields of her topaz sky.
- G. Orr Clark

Moonrise: 11:23 A.M. Sunrise: 8:11 A.M.
Moonset: 2:46 A.M. Sunset: 5:08 P.M.

i888899 My big tabby cat, George Eliot, just jumped on the keyboard, adding his own contribution to this posting. I have no idea what those numbers mean. Now he is purring on my lap as I type, eyeing either the cat on the screen or the stars behind it. It has been cloudy and grey for days - little chance to see either the sun or moon rise or set. Still, both are on my mind a lot. Since New Moon, 9 days ago, we have gained 22 minutes of daylight. If this is a contest, light is winning. The amaryllis on my window sill thinks so too!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

New Moon

Moonrise: 9:11 a.m. Moonset: 7:49 p.m.

The moon was new on Friday and at school we have begun a month of moon watching, sky watching, star watching. Yesterday was a perfect New Moon watching evening. I tried to take a picture of the crescent, but the best I could do was the sun setting on the prairie. All the same, that first glimpse of the New Moon is always slightly amazing to me. It is my favourite phase of the moon - a thin and slanted smile in the sky. Yesterday it was low in the sky, just above the horizon, far to the lower right of Jupiter. It was cloudy all day today, so no chance to see the moon or stars or even Jupiter. Maybe tomorrow . . .

My amaryllis continues to grow at an astonishing rate. Soon it will bloom!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Still Growing

“In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.” - Albert Camus

Knowing how difficult winter can be for me, a friend from away sends this quote and I keep searching for the "invincible summer" in me. I suppose that is why I planted this amaryllis in December. It is so necessary to have visible signs of growth all year long. Each day my amaryllis grows at least an inch!! It is quite amazing that something green like this is happening so close to me in January. I literally carry it from window to window, trying to find the most available light. I give the pot a quarter turn in the morning, and another at night, hoping it will continue to grow straight and tall. I have two more bulbs to plant once this one blooms. That should take me through to March when all my daylight hours will not be spent inside a building which does not have enough windows for someone like me. Years ago my students made tile pictures of an amaryllis - each one was different. This picture includes the sun and sky and green grass, even though it was created in the snowy white winter. There was definitely an "invincible summer" living inside this little artist.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Year Amaryllis

The second day of this brand new year. When the earth is as frozen as it is right now, it is hard to remember that things are growing anywhere. It is hard t0 have faith in what is happening underground. I planted this amaryllis bulb at the end of November, left it on my cold windowsill - southern exposure, but very little heat. Each day, for weeks, I looked for signs of green. But nothing. And still nothing. I watered it and talked to it, reminded the bulb that it should be reaching for the light, suggesting that it might try focusing a just a little bit harder. Still, all I saw was a dead-looking bulb. I almost gave up. Maybe I should have been singing to it or playing a little piano - a Bach prelude, a Beethoven sonata, a tune buried somewhere in my head. But my hands were cold. I think I was having trouble focusing. And then, last week, completely on its own, a hint of emergence - a thin green flame. And now, this week, there are two flames. I can almost see them growing. Two inches tall today. By tomorrow, probably three. Even in my cold, cold house, in January, it is happening . . . life!

Here is a very tiny poem written and given to me years ago by Spencer, one of my little students. He gave it to me printed on a little gift tag he had made out of purple paper. It was the end of the school year and we were both moving on to something new - he to a new classroom, me to a new school. His poem has been taped to my writing room wall ever since - a little dusty and crinkled around the edges. Sometimes I have forgotten that that it is there, kind of like all those other things that have underground lives of their own - bulbs, seeds, stories, poems, hopes, desires, good will, love, energy - the things that keeps us going and growing. Happy New Year everyone!


is the word
we use
at the

- Spencer Vatrt Watts

Summer View From My Kitchen Window

Summer View From My Kitchen Window
I am already more than a week into my summer holidays and just beginning to settle into this greenest of seasons - so glad to be at home with my windows and my light. I am just learning how to post these blogs, spending too much time in front of my computer, not enough time with the sky.  The morning began with thunder - an hour of pouring rain and thunder!!  Long after sunrise, the sky was still dark and ominous, but then suddenly the sun broke through. I put on my garden shoes, grabbed my camera, and went out to the flowers . . .   

After the Rain

After the Rain
After all that wild weather, the day lily leaves were covered with such quiet raindrops . . . 

After the Rain

After the Rain
One side of my yard is lined with leafy peonies - the grandmother of all flowers - pink, white, deep, deep red.  I have been deadheading the flowers all week long, but this one, just opening, survived the storm. I have lived in my house for nearly twenty years; these peonies were here long before I moved in and with any luck will be here long after I am gone.