You can scroll the shelf using ← and → keys
You can scroll the shelf using ← and → keys
Magnolia Electric Co. Jason had no health insurance, so please help his family and donate here. Read more about the impact Jason has had in this loving memorial from NPR music editor, Stephen Thompson.
noun |ˈdōlCHā fär nēˈentā| pleasant inactivity; ORIGIN Italian, literally, sweet to do nothing
Taking leave of their usual antediluvian roustabouting. the mastodons gave themselves over to the dulce far niente of a faunal afternoon.
Dolce far niente is also one of the most popular desserts at Café Frangipane, and comes with complimentary silk pajamas, a tumulus of cushions, a troupe of untroubled succubi and incubi to see you to your door.
“I Am Half-Sick of Shadows,” said the Lady of Shalott (Oil on canvas. 1913. Sidney Harold Meteyard.)
Some birds migrate at night because the air is calmer and they can use the stars to help them navigate to their destinations. Now here’s the thrilling bit–weather forecasting radar can pick up these aviary flight paths (which can also include bats and insects), so monitoring migration patterns is possible for anyone with access to the internet. The peak of evening migration is between 11:00pm and 1:00am.
The animated map above was created by Cornell University in 2008 to illustrate how weather forecast radar can reveal nocturnal migration.
by Jack Gilbert
Our heart wanders lost in the dark woods.
Our dream wrestles in the castle of doubt.
But there’s music in us. Hope is pushed down
but the angel flies up again taking us with her.
The summer mornings begin inch by inch
while we sleep, and walk with us later
as long-legged beauty through
the dirty streets. It is no surprise
that danger and suffering surround us.
What astonishes is the singing.
We know the horses are there in the dark
meadow because we can smell them,
can hear them breathing.
Our spirit persists like a man struggling
through the frozen valley
who suddenly smells flowers
and realizes the snow is melting
out of sight on top of the mountain,
knows that spring has begun.
“Horses At Midnight Without A Moon” by Jack Gilbert, from Refusing Heaven. © Alfred A. Knopf, 2005.
It Is a Spring Afternoon
Everything here is yellow and green. Listen to its throat, its earthskin, the bone dry voices of the peepers as they throb like advertisements. The small animals of the woods are carrying their deathmasks into a narrow winter cave. The scarecrow has plucked out his two eyes like diamonds and walked into the village. The general and the postman have taken off their packs. This has all happened before but nothing here is obsolete. Everything here is possible. Because of this perhaps a young girl has laid down her winter clothes and has casually placed herself upon a tree limb that hangs over a pool in the river. She has been poured out onto the limb, low above the houses of the fishes as they swim in and out of her reflection and up and down the stairs of her legs. Her body carries clouds all the way home. She is overlooking her watery face in the river where blind men come to bathe at midday. Because of this the ground, that winter nightmare, has cured its sores and burst with green birds and vitamins. Because of this the trees turn in their trenches and hold up little rain cups by their slender fingers. Because of this a woman stands by her stove singing and cooking flowers. Everything here is yellow and green. Surely spring will allow a girl without a stitch on to turn softly in her sunlight and not be afraid of her bed. She has already counted seven blossoms in her green green mirror. Two rivers combine beneath her. The face of the child wrinkles. in the water and is gone forever. The woman is all that can be seen in her animal loveliness. Her cherished and obstinate skin lies deeply under the watery tree. Everything is altogether possible and the blind men can also see.
This morning I saw the first cloud of blackbirds descending upon Catsilk Mountain. Consequently, this video was shot a year ago by Cherryl Merkin when they advanced through her yard during a late February snowfall.
The redwings are among our earliest spring migrants; the eastern redwing leaves its winter haunts in the southern States before the end of February, reaches New England in March (rarely earlier), and arrives in eastern Canada in April or earlier. (Bent life History)
“The Red-winged Blackbird is a highly polygynous species, meaning males have many female mates – up to 15 in some cases. In some populations 90 percent of territorial males have more than one female nesting on their territories. But all is not as it seems: one-quarter to one-half of nestlings turn out to have been sired by someone other than the territorial male.” (The Cornell Lab of Ornithology)
“I have a close but at the same time uncomfortable relationship with the natural world. I’ve always been most at home in the country probably because I was raised in the country as a boy, and I know something about farming and woodcutting and all the other things that country people know about. That kind of work has been important to me in my personal life and in my writing too. I believe in the values of manual labor and labor that is connected with the earth in some way. But I’m not simply a nature poet. In fact, I consider myself and I consider the whole human race fundamentally alien. By evolving into a state of self-consciousness, we have separated ourselves from the other animals and the plants and from the very earth itself, from the whole universe. So there’s a kind of fear and terror involved in living close to nature. My poems, I think, exist in a state of tension between the love of natural beauty and the fear of natural meaninglessness or absurdity.”
For breakfast I have eaten the last of your birthday cake that you
had left uneaten for five days
and would have left five more before throwing it away.
It is early March now. The winter of illness
is ending. Across the valley
patches of remaining snow make patterns among the hill farms,
among fields and knolls and woodlots,
like forms in a painting, as sure and significant as forms
in a painting. The cake was stale.
But I like stale cake, I even prefer it, which you don’t
understand, as I don’t understand how you can open
a new box of cereal when the old one is still unfinished.
So many differences. You a woman, I a man,
you still young at forty-two and I growing old at seventy.
Yet how much we love one another.
It seems a miracle. Not mystical, nothing occult,
just the ordinary improbability that occurs
over and over, the stupendousness
of life. Out on the highway on the pavement wet
with snow-melt, cars go whistling past.
And our poetry, yours short-lined and sounding
beautifully vulgar and bluesy
in your woman’s bitterness, and mine almost
anything, unpredictable, though people say
too ready a harkening back
to the useless expressiveness and ardor of another
era. But how lovely it was, that time
in my restless memory.
This is the season of mud and thrash, broken limbs and crushed briers
from the winter storms, wetness and rust,
the season of differences, articulable differences that signify
deeper and inarticulable and almost paleolithic
perplexities in our lives, and still
we love one another. We love this house
and this hillside by the highway in upstate New York.
I am too old to write love songs now. I no longer
assert that I love you, but that you love me,
confident in my amazement. The spring
will come soon. We will have more birthdays
with cakes and wine. This valley
will be full of flowers and birds.
“Birthday Cake” by Hayden Carruth, from Toward the Distant Islands: New & Selected Poems. © Copper Canyon Press, 2006.