Tuesday, July 31, 2007

land of enchantment

Well named.

"New Mexico" -- that is, the land wrested from the Mexicans in the waning years of the 19th century -- has its own magic.

On cursory view, it's high chaparral, scrub pine. Ignored. Unnoticed.

That is good. I don't wish this clean, heretofore ignored stretch of land to be noticed. If noticed, it will be immediately recognized as desirable ... for the wrong reasons.

This is land that has been clean right up until now, in our let's-overpower-everything lives.


When I was a young, partying 20-something in New Mexico, it didn't take long before I learned about the springs of Jemez.

You only wanted to .... well ....

just experience it. I know, words fail. But, well, all you wanted to do was just .... be.

There was something about lazing about in mineral-soaked pools, with big sky all around, and nothing to distract.

A snippet in time, perhaps. But also a knowing.

Friday, July 20, 2007

little friend

We have three bathrooms in our house. Every morning, in one of them (sometimes two), a bat rests during the day in a window.

The picture -- borrowed from the Internet -- shows one example of the little guy I watch every day. He's a little brown bat, common here in Pennsylvania.

He rests between the storm window and the screen, so there's no danger of him flying wildly about the house (as have other bats in the past).

I'll go in to sit down at the toilet. The window is on your right, as you're sitting. You're inches away from Little Bat .... who's slumbering peacefully, his little hind paws, with their tiny fingers, clinging effortlessly to the screen. He never minds your gaze. He's deep in sleep.

Round about dusk, you rush up to the bathroom to watch him.

If you're lucky (and if you learn to time when he wakes -- sometimes, just your being there and coughing significantly wakes him up), he begins to move.

He'll yawn. He'll begin to scratch himself, with tiny movements so fast they're quite outside the measures of the oscilloscope. He'll clean himself, licking off the dust he's accumulated throughout the hot and dusty day.

Then, he'll exquisitely stretch his wings. First one, then the other. Sometimes, he must stretch both two or three times.

(After all, he'll need them to be in top form, all night long, chasing bugs.)

After this endless wake-up routine, he'll climb quickly down the screen and take to flight.


I know bats are feared. I've had encounters with them myself and, shamefully, freaked out.

But, you know ... I love them.

They count on us.

They count on the fact that there will always be insects to eat, and they can always co-exist with us, more or less, in harmony. They ask nothing of us. They would probably be perplexed by our fear of them, did they know.

All I know is, every time I watch the little guy take off, I'm renewed.

symphony in red and khaki II

For no reason whatsoever, I Googled "poetry," and then "images" -- nothing spoke. So I Googled symphony, and found this image, by artist Laurie Maitland. It sings.